10 months, 1 week ago
Kurt Hofmann points out some unfortunate vacillation and equivocation by the NRA on the issue of universal background checks.
The GOP seems to have decided that on the question of universal background checks for gun purchases (an outright ban, in other words, on private sales), not only is discretion the better part of valor, but abject cowardice is the better part of discretion. As noted in the Huffington Post Tuesday, several GOP senators when asked about the issue appeared absolutely terrified of the question:
“Uh, I don’t know what you mean,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who then ended the conversation by turning around and walking into a room where senators were having lunch, closing the door behind him.
“I need to have more details. I, you know, I just need — you need to ask me after I’ve talked to our judiciary staff in our office,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), also heading to the Senate lunch. “I hate to respond just in the hallway, so I won’t.”
“I’ve got — my wife’s here. I’m sorry. I’ve gotta — thanks,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
Completely understood, Senator–no one should be expected to answer whether or not he favors banning private gun sales within his wife’s hearing. Even Tea Party “firebrand” Rand Paul claims not to have decided yet on the issue.
Missouri’s own Senator Roy Blunt (“A” rated by the NRA) appears open to the idea, saying, “I think we ought to talk about that [universal background checks],” although he did seem reluctant to impose checks on “two guys living next door [who] want to trade shotguns.”
As noted here Tuesday, NRA president David Keene has recently openly advocated background checks at gun shows. Granted, when NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre addressed a hunting group in Nevada this week, he spoke forcefully against universal background checks (relevant portion is about a minute and a half long).
In other words, if we are to believe both Keene and LaPierre, they are inventing a distinction between private sales at gun shows (seemingly on the bargaining table), and those elsewhere (seemingly not on the table).
Imagine a grandfather who wants to give a family shotgun to his 12-year-old grandson having to do a background check on his grandson before giving him the shotgun.
Or a friend having to do a background check on his lifetime best buddy before lending him a hunting rifle.
Or, if your mother had a prowler at her home, having to do a background check on your own mom before you could give her one of your guns for protection.
That’s what “universal background checks,” as proposed by President Barack Obama, do. They turn traditional innocent conduct into a criminal offense. They target law-abiding gun owners.
Universal background checks are background checks on every transfer, sale, purchase, trade, gift, rental and loan of a firearm between any and all individuals. All background checks must be conducted through a federally licensed dealer. Universal background checks have nothing to do with gun shows.
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Universal background check system legislation, which we have previously seen, allows the government to keep a computerized registry of gun owners.
In addition to the absurdity of having to do background checks on people you know are not criminals, would you like to pay up to $100 or more just to give your grandson a shotgun or lend a hunting rifle to your best friend or give your mom a gun for protection?
At the worst, there is infighting within the ranks of the NRA. At the very best there is confusion and indecision within the ranks of the NRA leadership. This is the best possible scenario, and yet even this isn’t good. It’s sad to see the NRA divided on such an important issue. The GOP is in disarray over just about everything these days, and needs the direction of the NRA. Unfortunately, if they did look to the NRA for this direction, they would look in vain. Hopefully, Hammer’s view prevails, but they need to hear from you on this important issue.