Gun Control Group Falsely Claims Ronald Reagan Supported Universal Background Checks

The United Network of Rational Americans (UNRA) is running an ad that shows footage from the attempted 1981 assassination of Ronald Reagan, then references Reagan's 1991 pro-Brady Bill op-ed to make it sound as thought the Gipper supported universal background checks for firearms purchases.

However, the truth is that Reagan supported the kind of background checks that emerged from the Brady Bill--i.e. the kind of background checks we have right now. 

In addition, when Reagan wrote his op-ed in 1991, his focus was on establishing a background check system for people who buy handguns. His op-ed did not say anything about shotguns or rifles. 

So the background check system Reagan wrote passionately about was not even as broad as the one we have in place right now.

Moreover, in his op-ed, Reagan gave preference to state-level legislation over federal. He did that specifically regarding states that already had their own background check system in place. To them, he said, the Brady Bill "would not apply."  Of course, those who passed the Brady Bill in 1993 did not take this advice into account. 

So Reagan wrote an op-ed supporting background checks on handguns, but said nothing about shotguns or rifles. And he believed states' rights needed to be protected, so he said the Brady Bill would not apply to any states that implemented their own background check system. 

How does UNRA plan to demonstrate that such an op-ed supports universal background checks?


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