During a November 16 appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, GOP operative Rick Tyler said the U.S. only has background checks for handgun sales.
He quickly added that Americans support expanding background checks so as to cover a “long rifle” sale too.
This is Fake New 101. It is fake because background checks have been required on rifle sales since 1998, which is nearly 20 years. Those background check requirements became “permanent” on November 30, 1998, and in 1999 Bureau of Justice Statistics reported, “The permanent provisions of the Brady Act require background checks of applicants for transfer of both handguns and long guns from a Federal firearms licensee.”
Nevertheless, speaking to round table that included Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Peggy Noonan, Tyler said, “We do have handgun background checks, we don’t have long rifle background checks. You can see the poll supports that as well.”
The poll mentioned by Tyler was a Quinnipiac Poll showing support for universal background checks in the wake of the Texas church shooting.
Tyler is wrong not simply because universal background checks are not about expanding checks from handgun sales to rifle sales, but about expanding background checks from retail to sales to private sales. And the problem with such an expansion is that mass public attackers are already getting their guns via background checks. Breitbart News reported that the Texas church shooter bought his rifle via a background checks at a sporting goods store in San Antonio. Therefore, expanding background checks to point-of-sale on private sales would not do anything to stop attackers.
However, expanded background checks would enable the government to more easily compile a database of gun owners and to use that base for registration requirements and confiscation opportunities. This is exactly how they did it in California.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.