From the days after the heinous crime at Sandy Hook Elementary until now, Democrats have relentlessly pushed “expanded background checks” as a necessary part of preventing further gun violence. In so doing, only a few of them have been honest enough to admit that “expanded background checks” would not have stopped Sandy Hook from happening and even less–that is, zero–have admitted the actual dangers “expanded background checks” pose to law-abiding citizens.
But there are real dangers posed by a continued expansion of background checks.
According to John Lott, Jr., denials and delays associated with our current background check system will not go away if the system is expanded. Rather, they will increase in frequency and perhaps in duration.
This is terrible news for a woman fleeing a stalker who needs a gun immediately to protect herself and it is even worse news for a single mother who needs a gun immediately to defend her life and the lives of her children from a violent estranged husband.
These delays come from points in the system where a law-abiding buyer’s name is close enough to the name of a criminal to raise flags within the system. These flags can lead to a delay or an outright rejection of the law-abiding citizen’s ability to buy the gun he or she needs at that time.
Lott compared this to the way checks for the terrorist “no-fly” list are conducted. He pointed out how Senator Ted Kennedy was “initially denied” flights because his name was so similar to the name of a real terrorist on the list. Kennedy was able to clear up the misunderstanding and fly, thus shortening his delay and any undue ramifications from it. But the frightened single woman standing in a gun store being told her purchase of a .38 revolver is on hold because of record discrepancies can only walk out and drive back to a home where her only means of defense are the locks on her doors and the knife she might fetch from the kitchen.
On top of this, background checks drive up prices associated with guns. States that have passed “expanded” or “universal” background checks in the last few years attach a “fee” to each gun purchase to help pay for the background check.
Right now the fees are relatively low, but a future state legislature or governor who wants to dramatically cut into gun sales need only raise that fee, thereby making guns unaffordable for many lower- and middle-class Americans who desperately need them.
There is a reason we went 200-plus years without background checks for gun purchasers in this country. Part of that reason is the freedom-encumbering nature of being forced to ask government’s permission to buy a gun. Through these encumbrances, background checks actually endanger the lives of Americans who are under threat.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins