In the debate over gun rights, one issue that even some gun owners will concede on is the concept of background checks. It is seen as a diplomatic gesture towards compromising for the sake of unity.
First and foremost, the claimed “benefits” of background checks are irrelevant, because the feds don’t have the authority. The Second Amendment is pretty clear on their lack of authority, as we’ve written on this site previously.
But a lot of gun owners and so-called gun rights groups don’t see it that way. Not only are they supportive of background checks at a state level, but the federal level as well.
No other right in the Bill of Rights requires a background check before you may exercise it. Some may say this is because owning a firearm can lead to violence, but this is silly. People can cause riots after speaking at a political rally, start religious cults that end in mass suicide, or say terrible things about other people on the Internet that can cause harm to one’s reputation.
A background check essentially preempts your right to own firearms. You are not allowed to exercise this right until you have proven you meet standards set by the government.
While no one is in favor of criminals being able to hurt other people, the reality is that if a criminal wants a firearm, they can get it the same way they get their drugs, untaxed cigarettes, and prostitutes. Also, one of the greatest weaknesses of background checks is they assume only convicted criminals commit crimes. It completely ignores first-time offenders.
As a Humphrey Bogart film character remarked about Prohibition, it’s one thing to pass a law and another to make it stick. Trying to get background checks to work is like trying to make jello stick to the wall.
But the real problem with background checks is that the government gets to set the criteria a person must meet in order to pass. As the final authority in this situation, they decide who can and who cannot keep and bear arms.
This creates a perfect, indirect means through which gun control proponents can restrict gun ownership of ordinary Americans. Because the process preempts our rights, all they need to do is tack on more and more requirements. Or, they can allow for the mere accusation of a crime as a reason to fail a background check. In a day and age when due process and presumption of innocence is fading, the use of preemptive tactics will become easier to carry out.
Backgrounds checks ultimately pervert the relationship between the people and their government. It is the people, not the government, who are sovereign. The government, therefore, does not get to decide what we are allowed to do. We are supposed to decide what government is allowed to do.
The fundamental reason why gun ownership is critical to maintaining liberty is that it provides a check against tyrannical government. Background checks allow government to subvert this.
It is the federal government that needs a background check, and that is done by the armed population it claims to serve. The day it fails that check, those guns make it possible for the people to remedy the situation.
Many groups claim to defend your right to keep and bear arms, but few stay true to the spirit and meaning of the Second Amendment. An example of this is when they support background checks so they can placate our political opponents.
ShallNot.org, on the other hand, makes no compromises. Through anti-commandeering legislation, we are working to prevent any potential federal background check system from being implemented in the states.
Please take action today.