As Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) goes on various television programs promising to bring the Manchin-Toomey gun control ‘compromise’ up for another vote, he continues to state three clear myths about the legislation: the bill “does not infringe on individual rights,” it only puts background checks on gun shows and online sales, and it actually “expands the 2nd Amendment.”
Regarding the first myth, the bill actually does infringe on individual rights by limiting the people to whom a person can sell a firearm without first asking the government’s permission. For over 200 years, Americans have been able to sell one of their own guns privately to whomever they please, trusting their own judgement regarding the buyer in so doing.
With the Manchin-Toomey “compromise,” that exercise of freedom is not only infringed upon but almost completely done away. The bill clouds sales and transfers, limiting the latter to select family members listed in Section 122 of the bill, and limiting private sales to certain specific conditions set forth elsewhere in the bill.
Regarding the second myth, the bill expands background checks far beyond gun shows and online sales. For example, it expands background checks to include not only the gun show but any sales taking place in other parts of the building or on the porch of the gun show–the bill refers to these areas as “the curtilage” of the gun show.
At the same time, background checks for online purchases, which are already in place for true online gun sales, are expanded to include guns sold via “publications.” In other words, if the Manchin-Toomey “compromise” were the law of the land, a “Glock 9mm for sale” ad in a newspaper would require a background check before the gun could be sold–unless the buyer and seller were among the family members Manchin exempts from background checks, or if they met the other specific conditions set forth in the bill.
Background checks are already the law of the land if you buy a gun from a gun store online. That store ships the gun to an FFL near you, who then does a background check on you before you’re allowed to take the gun home.
With these restrictions in mind, Manchin’s third claim that the bill actually “expands the 2nd Amendment” is patently ridiculous. However, if more evidence is needed, just consider the fact that Section 128 of the bill sets forth rules on how to transport guns and ammo. This includes making sure the firearm is unloaded, secured, and not directly accessible in the passenger compartment.
Such rules may sound good on paper, until it’s your car that’s being carjacked while your Smith & Wesson .38 Special is locked in the trunk, defeating the entire purpose of carrying the weapon in the first place.