Thursday, 28 February 2013 16:34

Background Check Bill for Private Gun Sales Is Stalled

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The one-two punch of separate pushbacks against any gun control legislation that involves a national database of gun owners has stalled in the Senate, perhaps permanently. First, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn told Fox News on Sunday that any inclusion of a national registry in legislation will kill it. He said that there “absolutely will not be record-keeping of legitimate, law-abiding gun owners.” This was followed by comments from House member Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.), head of the House Judiciary Committee, that he would oppose any such legislation as well. His committee would oversee any such gun bills in the House.

Expanded background checks that include all gun transactions, including those between private citizens, have been a priority of the Obama administration. The Los Angeles Times called it Obama's “centerpiece” legislation. That such legislation is now effectively stalled was signaled by Vice President Joe Biden in remarks on Wednesday to the National Association of Attorneys General: “They want the law to say no record would be kept. How in the h—l would you know if that transaction would be real if no record can be kept?”

And that is precisely the point. Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association told Fox News that such record-keeping wouldn't work in reducing crime simply because criminals wouldn't sign up. So such legislation must be aimed at law-abiding gun owners instead, meant to get their information into a national database for use in the future. Goodlatte agreed, saying that such legislation is “not a very practical thing to do … [and that] you’re not going to keep many weapons out of the hands of people who are misusing them.”

This is disappointing news to Biden’s “working group,” formed just after the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting, which included Dan Gross, head of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum; and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As noted by the Washington Post, the group was “seriously considering measures … that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers [and] track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database.”

Such efforts appeared to be gaining traction earlier in the week, with the Washington Post posting a headline on Saturday, February 23, that “Senators near a deal on background checks for most private gun sales,” claiming that a bipartisan group of senators were “on the verge of a deal that would expand background checks to all private firearms sales.” On Monday (owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg) happily announced that “Senators Close in on Background Check Agreement on Guns,” noting that anti-gun Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and pro-gun Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) “have worked out 90 percent of their differences over a measure that would expand criminal background checks to most private sales of guns.” The agreement was, according to, “within reach” and would include increased funding for the NICS (National Instant Check System) to handle the additional workload along with penalties on states that refused to go along with the measure.

All of this is necessary, according to Democrats, to reduce crime. The Post explained:

Democrats say that keeping records of private sales is necessary to enforce any new law ….

Records of private sales also would help law enforcement track back the history of a gun used in a crime.

But Republicans were resisting such a move, complained the Post, because it “could be perceived by gun rights advocates as a precursor to a national gun registry.” Yet such legislation meets with the approval of Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Post, while Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) was “still reviewing the proposal.”

The proposed legislation would be designed to make it easy for private buyers and sellers to register themselves online through a new “online portal,” or through retailers like Walmart or Dick’s Sporting Goods, which would be allowed to charge a small fee for the service.

But none of this going anywhere in light of those remarks by Coburn and Goodlatte. And that’s just as well, if the Canadian experience has anything to show for such efforts. The Canadian long gun registry was instituted in 1993, and for the past 20 years law-abiding citizens have found themselves to be targets of the law, with many of them losing their weapons to bureaucrats without due process of law. Brian Lilley, host of Byline on Canada’s Sun News Network, noted that the Canadian law passed into history in April last year, leaving behind a dreadful legacy of governmental overreach and confiscation of weapons from innocent Canadians. As Lilley noted,

Last year Canada ended its national long gun registry, a national database of every rifle and shotgun in the country that was supposed to help police track the movement of and sale of weapons. When it was introduced twenty years ago critics said the registration of firearms would eventually lead to confiscation, a criticism dismissed as ridiculous, yet that’s what happened and more right up until its dismantling.

For instance, an unelected bureaucrat decided that a popular .22 rifle that had been legally owned for years all of a sudden became a threat and was therefore subject to confiscation under the law. Wrote Lilley,

Hundreds if not thousands of people who had legally purchased [the .22 rifle] were informed that their rifles had been deemed illegal and must be surrendered.

Those owners received a chilling demand in the mail from the Canadian Firearms Centre that read:

You are required by law to return your firearm registration certificates, without delay, either by mail to the address shown in the top left corner of this page or in person to a peace officer or firearms officer.

You have 30 days to deliver your firearms to a peace officer, firearms officer or Chief Firearms Officer or to otherwise lawfully dispose of them.

The Canadian government regained some common sense when it finally moved to repeal the onerous firearms act, proving that “it’s easier to stay out than to get out.”

It is to be hoped that senators and representatives in Washington exercise the same kind of common sense and drop this move toward gun confiscation in the United States down the memory hole so that free citizens may continue to exercise their Second Amendment rights without interference by totalitarians who have other purposes than reducing crime in proposing such legislation.

Photo: AP Images

A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American and blogs frequently at, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


  • Comment Link Patty Reynolds Saturday, 02 March 2013 03:22 posted by Patty Reynolds



    MR. "I AM NOT A DICTATOR/LIAR" WOULD SIGN IT IN A RED HOT MINUTE. IF HE EVEN THINKS ABOUT IT, WE MUST GET SHED OF THIS FRONT MAN FOR WORLD GOVERNMENT, BY SUING HIM FOR TREASON NOW. He cannot destroy the constitution illegally, even by TREATY, but he apparently thinks he can do any (BLANK) thing he wants.

    IF our congress refuses to do it , WE do it !

  • Comment Link REMant Friday, 01 March 2013 14:17 posted by REMant

    Actually, this goes a very far way back: to the Church's admonitions against violence, which became a watchword for the bourgeoisie as they developed their urban enclaves. Trade was supposed to be peaceful, and to make sure it was they policed it. That it very frequently involves wholesale fraud every bit as damning as any use of force seems to escape them, however.

  • Comment Link Tionico Thursday, 28 February 2013 21:18 posted by Tionico

    What amazes me is that hardly anyone ever raises the FACTS that "assault weapons" are rarely used in any crimes, haev only once been used when lawfully acquired in ANY mass shooting since 1950, and only twice more when unlawfully acquired.. three mass shootings since 1050 with "assault weapons"? this constitutes a "national emergency" where we MUST DO SOMETHING, NOW?!?! Get real.

    Further, in not one of those mass shootings would universal background checks have prevented the crime. In every case since the checks were mandated from FFL dealers, the perp either bought his guns by passing the BGC, or the guns were stolen or otherwise passed through the criminal black market to the hands of the shooter. So for the sake of fewer than fifty deaths in mass shootings (the mantra continually chanted to promote these stupid and unconstitutional laws) forty million "assault weapons" are to be rendered illegal? Again, get real. Background checks for ALL transfers, as proposed, will be an open door for a registry (there are those who, rightly, claim universal checks cannot work without a national registry), and we ALL know that registry leads inexorably to confiscation. Until this article I had been unaware of the confiscation of long guns, duly registered and lawfully purchased/held, in Canada...) Sp stop the insane circus, already. Good to see both bills are likely dead. It seems the pens and voices of some sane Constitutinal thinking people have "assaulted" them. Well done.. BUT we must not lay down and go back to sleep. We need to keep busy until ALL existing restrictions on arms are done away with. Nationwide permitless carry, a la Second Ammendment; no waiting periods; open interstate transactions; age limit for handguns lowered to at least 18, perhaps even 16, or with parent's written permission; Gun Free School Zones act repealed; Castle and Stand Your Ground laws universal. Firearms used to be as American and friendly as apple pie and the Pledge of ALlegiance, and it was THIS that enabled the citizen militias to stand against the largest, best trained and equipped, fighting force on the planet... each man volunteering to band together with his fellows to defend their lands, homes, businesses, famlies, neighbours, from the British tyranny, and did so with their own arms, already owned, and other equipment. We drove those Lobsterbacks from these shores... but now they want us to disarm, and join them in some sort of union. No thanks. We will remain a sovereign and free nation only a little bit longer than we remain armed, each man with his own weapons. Tyranny is a weak and snivelling wimp in the face of such a people. Reverse things, and the people are then the weak and snivelling wimps. WHich shall it be?

  • Comment Link Al Krause Thursday, 28 February 2013 20:40 posted by Al Krause

    "Expanded background checks that include all gun transactions, including those between private citizens, have been a priority of the Obama administration."
    Small wonder. This has been the liberals' dream ever since the 1968 Gun Control Act specifically exempted private sales. It was then recognized that the background check could easily become a national gun registration list and therefore, the private sales would act as a relief valve.

    The elephant in the living room is that if all law-abiding citizens must get the government's OK before they can buy a firearm, all some future fuhrer would have to do is declare a National Emergency and shut down the checks "for the public safety", with no date in mind as to when the emergency would end. Ergo, an instant ban on any new transactions - except for the criminal element who would, as usual, ignore the law.

    If the emergency is real, those people who didn't get a gun under the naive idea that the police would protect them would be defenseless when the feral humans, who always emerge in these situations, come looking for their "fair share" of their property - or their families.

    The government's computers routinely go down, usually on gun show weekends, for "maintenance". They went down again during "Black Friday" last November. IMO, these are trial runs.

    Los Angeles suspended all gun sales during their riots and if it hadn't been for Korean shop owners with assault rifles, a lot more of the city would have burned down. A kissing cousin to this mentality are the New Orleans police, who went around confiscating guns right after Katrina, or this week, the Mayor of Guntersville, AL wanting to give the police the same authority "in event of a major disaster".

  • Comment Link Tom Thursday, 28 February 2013 16:50 posted by Tom

    Gun control isn't about guns, it's about control!!

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