Gun Control 2013: Instead of Universal Background Checks, Require Non-Existent Background Checks [satire]

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) remains wholly optimistic that given another try, he and Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) can get their failed background-check amendment through the U.S. Senate. In an interview with CBS This Morning he said, “I truly believe the background check bill is possible to get passed.”

Manchin told Margaret Carlson at the New York Ideas Festival, “I have never seen something that resonated with so many people in so many parts of society because it made so much sense.”

Manchin is wrong. What resonates with people is the protection of the Second Amendment, which states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

If Manchin was a true patriot he would not be looking to implement more restrictions on law-abiding citizens, further stripping them of their constitutional rights. Rather, he would be proposing changes that remove ALL restrictions on the right to bear arms in accordance with the intentions of the gentlemen who wrote the Constitution. Background checks, especially universal background checks, are unconstitutional, restrict free trade, and strip individuals of their right to bear arms.

There is no logical reason why a federally licensed firearms dealer should be required to conduct a background check while an unlicensed dealer does not. Licensed firearms dealers and their customers in effect have to pay a surcharge or tax in order to sell a gun while an unlicensed private transaction can be done over lunch and with a handshake. If I am a licensed dealer and my family friend comes to my store and wishes to buy an AR-15 from me I have to run a background check, but my sister who is not a licensed dealer can just sell it to our friend willy-nilly. Something is wrong with that system. Why is there a higher burden on the licensed dealer than the unlicensed dealer? It is the same customer and the same gun.

Background checks are supposed to screen for restricted people, i.e. criminals and the mentally impaired. However, only licensed dealers have to actually execute a background check. Personal transactions are done on the honor system and based on the personal judgment of the seller. Licensed dealers have just has much right to trust their customers' integrity and rely on their personal judgment as do unlicensed sellers in a personal transaction.

Background checks strip some criminals and mentally ill people of their constitutional rights. Universal background checks would exacerbate that injustice. Why shouldn’t criminals and mentally impaired people be able to protect themselves from the potential tyranny of the state? Why should they have to rely on law-abiding citizens to protect them from a corrupt government? Don’t they have the right to self-defense? Besides, what happened to forgive and forget?

A trusting and free society would take people at their word that they are sane and rational. In a free society individuals would make the decisions on whom to sell their guns to without the need for oppressive government oversight. If the government removed all restrictions, starting with background checks, the black market for guns would collapse, freeing up many law-enforcement agents to go after the people committing crimes.

After Manchin completes his work on eliminating background checks he should turn his attention to the unfair treatment of poor and low-income people. I propose that the government should provide poor and low income people a gun. They are the ones most victimized by violence and at risk of government oppression. Income should not be used as a restriction to the right to bear arms. Poor people want to fight tyranny as well.