Friday, April 19, 2013

Background Checks

I'm fairly pro-Second Amendment. But I really don't get the argument against expanded background checks.

The advantages of such checks are obvious.

What are the alleged disadvantages? The most common argument goes like this: if the government goes bad, then, if they have records of who owns guns, and then they can come and get them, and this will make armed resistance to a rogue government impossible.

First, this argument has always seemed weak to me. Suppose the government starts seizing legally-owned firearms. Now...if you're considering armed resistance against the government...what exactly are you waiting for? If they're coming around to seize your firearms, then they've crossed the Rubicon. If armed resistance is warranted, then it's warranted by the very act of trying to seize legally-owned firearms, and if armed resistance is going to happen, then it's going to happen at that point. Consequently, I just don't see how the government could stop armed resistance by seizing firearms.

But, second: background checks don't entail a firearm registry. You can check to make sure criminals don't buy guns without keeping records of purchases by non-criminals. And the recent Manchin-Toomy bill actually prohibited the creation of any firearm registry.

The failure of this bill seems to me to be bad news indeed. This is a measure that could have really mattered.

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