Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Comprehensive Background Checks: Ballot Question 1

During tonight's debate, Hillary threw out the term "comprehensive background checks." It's the flavor of the month version of "universal background checks" or banning private gun sales. The whole idea is to get guns into dealers so they can, in the future, pass a law requiring all gun sales to be reported to the government and create an instant gun registration database.

Most guns sold are through retail sources; gun stores or licensed dealers where background checks are required. Guns legally sold face-to-face have never been a major crime problem. Instead, the problem has been criminals who have passed existing background checks, dealers who break the law, illegal street deals no law could stop, the stolen gun trade, and people with 'clean' records buying guns for felons. The initiative wouldn't stop any of these. They call it "comprehensive background checks" or "universal background checks", but in the end, it's an infringement on your Second Amendment and private property rights.
"Federal law already requires background checks for most guns sales."
Ballot Question 1 would require that private, face-to-face, firearm sales be conducted through a federally licensed firearms dealer and the buyer undergo a background check. Currently, Nevada law allows for any two private persons to buy, sell, or transfer a firearm with each other in this state without a mandatory background check. Voluntary private background checks are free. Buyers purchasing from dealers are already required to undergo a background check, which account for the majority of legal gun sales. In the few states where private gun sales have been banned, the illegal gun trade has not been thwarted.
"75.9% of illegally bought/sold guns would not be stopped by comprehensive background checks."
‘Nevadans’ for Background Checks allege that their initiative would “close a loophole in Nevada law by requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, with reasonable exceptions for family, hunting, and self-defense.” By criminalizing currently innocent behavior, the supporters hope to eliminate legal private sales as a source of firearms. There is an unstated implication that this initiative would stop illegal trade in stolen guns, illegal street dealers, or illegal gun transfers to known prohibited persons; something the initiative simply cannot do. Unfortunately, laws never convinced criminals to stop breaking the law. 

Worst of all, convicted felons (and other prohibited persons) could not be convicted of failing to undergo a background check; rather it would be the seller or the innocent buyers who would be convicted. The initiative doesn't even require dealers to notify police when a criminal attempts to buy a gun.

It is already illegal under state and federal law to sell firearms to prohibited persons, including those convicted of domestic violence. The availability of guns does not cause crime. As Everytown for Gun Safety says itself: "falsehoods spread by a vocal few should not be allowed to cloud public debate[...]"
"This will effectively ban private, face-to-face, gun sales and ruin gun shows, without stopping crimes or preventing mass murders."
Comprehensive background checks are not about background checks; they are about limiting private property rights and subjecting sales to government scrutiny in order to eventually register guns. They erode our constitutional rights, impose unreasonable burdens and harsh penalties upon the law-abiding, and provide no mechanism for enforcement or to ensure compliance. Nevada already has a free, voluntary private sale background check process and dealers will currently process a background check if asked to do so.  
"It should really be called 'universal gun registration'."
​Background checks and mandatory transfers through dealers will lead to a gun registry via reporting sales and transactions. As happened in California, all it will take is a single bill passed by the legislature to make it mandatory to report all gun sales/transactions. The initiative is the first step. The next step is to require all firearm transactions to be reported to the state by the dealer (as in the case of California). Lastly, existing firearms that are not already registered would have to be registered to remain legal (several countries have done this). Confiscation will be next.

"About 80% of informal polls show most Nevadans are opposed to more background checks and most Nevada sheriffs are against Ballot Question 1." 

Vote no on Question 1. Your rights depend on it.

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