Pennsylvania Republican Doubles Down: Defends Bill to Outlaw Private Gun Sales

Sally Abrahamsen, of Pompano Beach, Fla., right, holds a Glock 42 pistol while shopping for a gun at the National Armory gun store and gun range, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pompano Beach, Fla. President Barack Obama unveiled his plan Tuesday to tighten control and enforcement of firearms in the …
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Pennsylvania Rep. Jamie Santora (R-163) defended his legislation outlawing private gun sales via the implementation of universal background checks during the May 30 airing of Whatever It Takes with Curt Schilling.

On May 28, Breitbart News reported that Santora wants to ban the private sales that Americans have enjoyed since the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. His vehicle for doing this is an expansion of background checks wherein private gun sales are equated with retail gun sales, thereby forcing a law-abiding co-worker to seek out an agent of the state, fill out paperwork, and get permission–i.e., submit to a background check–before buying a gun from a co-worker. The bill would also mandate that a law-abiding friend seek out an agent of the state, fill out paperwork, and get permission before buying a gun from a law-abiding, lifelong friend. Fellow hunters would have to do the same: seek out an agent of the state, fill out paperwork, and get permission before a gun could be sold hunter to hunter.

This would apply to gun show sales as well. In fact, during his appearance on Whatever It Takes, Santora voiced his support for making sure every gun show sale is covered by a background check. This is a war on private gun sales and, by extension, on the Second Amendment, for when the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment, they did not write, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms [after passing a background check] shall not be infringed.”

Armed American Radio’s Mark Walters, who was also on Whatever It Takes, pointed out that law-abiding gun owners are alarmed by Santora’s gun control push because of words/phrases like “common sense” and “expand a background check for everyone who buys a handgun.” He highlighted that law-abiding gun owners are concerned, specifically, because “that terminology is used every day by people who do want to take our guns.”

Walters also made a prescient point, stating, “I have 30 guns in my safe, and I’ve had a background check for every single one of them. [But] if I wanted to snap today, a background check’s not going to stop it.”

Walters’ intimation is crucial; background checks look backward, not forward. They discover a criminal past but will not–and cannot–predict a criminal future. So a latent criminal, someone with criminal or terroristic intent but no criminal or terroristic past, can pass a background check with no problem, then carry out mass carnage with a gun acquired via state permission.

Consider the following attackers and alleged attackers, each of whom passed a background checks for his or her gun(s):

  • the NY bombing suspect (September 19, 2016)
  • the Orlando attacker (June 12)
  • the UCLA gunman (June 1)
  • the San Bernardino attackers (December 2, 2015)
  • the Colorado Springs attacker (October 31, 2015)
  • the Umpqua Community College attacker (October 1, 2015)
  • Alison Parker’s attacker (August 26, 2015)
  • the Lafayette movie theater attacker (July 23, 2015)
  • the Chattanooga attacker (July 16, 2015)
  • the alleged Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal attacker (Jun 17, 2015)
  • the Muhammad Carton Contest attackers (May 3, 2014)
  • the Las Vegas cop killers (June 9, 2015)
  • the Santa Barbara attacker (May 23, 2014)
  • the Fort Hood attacker (April 2, 2014)
  • the Arapahoe High School attacker (December 13, 2013)
  • the D.C. Navy Yard attacker (September 16, 2013)
  • the Aurora movie theater attacker (July 20, 2012)
  • Gabby Giffords’ attacker (January 8, 2011)
  • the Fort Hood attacker (November 5, 2009)
  • the Virginia Tech attacker (April 16, 2007)

The list contains just some of the individuals who could still have acquired guns and gone on an attack, even if Santora’s bill were law. When one considers the numbers of people killed by these individuals, ninety killed and more than 173 wounded in 14 of the attacks alone, it is not unreasonable to conclude that background checks actually cost Americans their lives.

And while background checks do not stop determined attackers, they do create a more cumbersome and costly process for law-abiding citizens to acquire the guns they need for self-defense, hunting, and target shooting. Moreover, they are insidious in that they lead to more gun control. For example, in February, New Mexico sheriffs fought and stopped passage of a gun control bill in their state which was nearly identical to Santora’s. They defeated it by explaining that universal background checks lead to a gun registry because such checks are unenforceable without a registry. How will constituents in Pennsylvania’s 163 district feel about a gun registry?

At one point during his interview on Whatever It Takes, Santora indicated he is standing his ground on this gun control bill because “a handful of [his] constituents” voiced support for it.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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