One American Citizen

The View Of An American Citizen
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Monday, February 10, 2020

Background Checks for Private Firearm Sales

    When firearm owners hear the term “universal background checks” it usually sets off alarm bells as a bad idea. I tend to agree with that when the left is talking about it. But would it be a smart thing to require background checks for every firearm sale or transfer? I think it actually is a good idea if done right. My biggest fear when selling a firearm is that I end up selling it to a person who shouldn’t have one because of their criminal history. That is why right now I will only sell a firearm to a person I am familiar with.
    When people hear “universal background check” they immediately think that it will lead to a gun registry. No one wants the government to know what firearms they have. In Washington, we unfortunately have a database of every pistol, and now semi automatic rifle, transferred by a licensed firearms dealer. This is a cause for concern because if they decide to ban a class of firearm, they already know who purchased it. Under proposed legislation by the democrats, it would ultimately lead to a gun registry controlled by the federal government. My idea would prevent that and make it a simple process.
    In Washington, we have a mandatory background check to transfer a firearm to anyone other than a family member. This has caused a lot of problems and added cost because this must be completed by a dealer and also requires a holding period for the firearm. My proposal would eliminate the middle man. It would use the national instant background check system or a similar system designed by the state. It would be a system that could be accessed from a personal device at the time of sale and provide an instant answer to whether the proposed buyer is eligible to possess a firearm. After the buyer has input their info, verified to the seller by a drivers license, the system would simply give a a green check mark or a red X indicating whether the transfer could proceed. This would give a seller like me peace of mind that the person taking my firearm is not a known dangerous person.
    I think part of being a law abiding citizen is also being responsible for making sure the buyer of your firearm is also eligible to own a firearm. With this system, it would give the seller a read out of the transaction they would need to keep in their records as proof that the background check was completed and that the buyer was eligible to possess a firearm at the time of sale. If a seller opted not to do a background check and it is proven that the buyer was not an eligible person at the time of sale, they could be held partially liable for any crimes committed using the weapon they sold. Some may call this infringement, I call it responsibility. Just as a parent can be held responsible for their kids actions from being irresponsible, gun owners should be held accountable if they irresponsibly give a firearm to a known criminal.
    This system would not include a database that could turn into a registry because the only information input in the system would be details about the person, not about the firearm. This would prevent the government of knowing who owns what because the only possible information they could store was that a a background check was run on a person to determine eligibility for owning a firearm. I would also make it a requirement to have a process in place to dispute a denial. There are some instances where people are wrongly flagged as ineligible. This could be from a case of misidentify, or a previous charge that was resolved but not updated in the system. It would need to be a process that can easily be done.
    I think this system would satisfy the lefts call for background checks on every gun transfer while protecting the rights and causing very little inconvenience to gun owners. I know there are people who will disagree with this but it is flat out irresponsible to hand a firearm to a person you know nothing about. This would be a very small concession by gun owners and give the anti-gunners a big win in their eyes. At that point we could say “we gave you what you want, now get off our backs”. I think I speak for most gun owners that we don’t want criminals to have easy access to firearm, but at the same time, we don’t want to have to go to a dealer and pay extra fees just to buy or sell a gun.

-American Citizen
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