"I don't believe that people should be able to own guns."
Barack Obama, as quoted by John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, who worked with Obama at the University of Chicago Law School in 1996.
It seems a common sense decision to avoid selling firearms to convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers, or someone the courts have defined as dangerously mentally ill. Background checks under existing laws can identify these individuals.
Mandating that all sellers at gun shows perform such checks is also a reasonable requirement. Since the vast majority of guns sold at gun shows are sold by dealers, these checks are already being performed for the most part. Despite recent reports, even the National Rifle Association (NRA) accepts the need for background checks in some situations.
But don’t tell me I can’t pass on my old 22 rifle to my own kid without doing a background check on him. I doubt that mandatory background checks for private transactions would even be enforceable, but it should be a felony to sell or give a firearm to someone you know has been convicted of a felony, convicted of domestic violence, or designated dangerously mentally ill by the courts, even if that person is related to you.
The real question is how to identify the mentally ill who have not been declared incompetent by the courts and prevent them from obtaining firearms. Will doctors, family members, and average citizens be held accountable if they do not report an unbalanced individual to authorities? When someone is committed for evaluation to a mental health facility, will that facility be legally responsible if the person they release explodes into a murderous rage?
The armed American populace fears that opening the door to “universal” background checks will lead to the mandatory registration of firearms. This will be totally unacceptable. History has shown that registration will be followed at some point by confiscation. A national registry of firearms owners is an infringement on privacy that must never be permitted.
It doesn’t matter what system you put in place, the criminals will never comply with gun control laws. But the intent of Barack Obama and the Progressive Socialists (some of you refer to them as Democrats) is to disarm law-abiding citizens. These simple-minded politicians must understand that the American people will never tolerate any government attempt to disarm them.
Remember that it wasn’t for target practice, skeet shooting, or hunting that the Founding Fathers added the Second Amendment. It was to protect the citizens from the possibility of a tyrannical government. The common sense explanation has often been, “An armed person is a citizen; a disarmed person is a subject.”
When the government fears the people, there is freedom. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When we declared our independence from England, we refused to be subjects to a dictatorial government any longer.
Maintaining the right to bear arms will ensure that we never find ourselves defenseless in the face of another dictatorship.
What do you think?
Charles M. Grist
Author of the award-winning book My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq