By keeping our attention on things like bans of “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines, the anti-gun forces are using a tried and true technique of magicians throughout the ages – misdirection. If the anti-gun "illusionists" can keep the public (including us) watching one hand, they can use the other hand to achieve their true objective.
Pro-gun-rights supporters expend significant energy on opposing more obvious threats like gun bans and magazine restrictions. Meanwhile, the gun control crowd quietly maneuvers to sneak through less controversial, but potentially far more insidious proposals like “universal background checks.”
In Colorado, as in Minnesota and other states, anti-gun activists are using the Aurora movie theater shooting as a stepping stone to new attacks on legitimate gun owners:
Included in many of these proposals are calls for so-called “universal background checks” – a concept that has great appeal to those who want to make gun ownership ever more complex and expensive:
“The [Colorado] state's Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, supports the expanded background checks and thinks gun buyers should pay for them.” [emphasis ours]
Ironically, states that want to pass such laws will likely get at least some support from, of all people, gun dealers. Why? Well, under such laws, if Bob wants to sell a gun to his friend Sue, they have to go somewhere to have the check done – most likely a gun store. And since the owner of the gun store is making no money on a private sale, why would they do the check for free?
And even if some program is instituted that would require local police or sheriffs to do the check, there would likely be some sort of “transfer tax” attached - $40? $75? More? Who knows?
Also, since most “universal background check” proposals include vastly expanding the scope of “mental health screening,” those with genuine need for such services will likely be even more reluctant to ask for them. Returning combat veterans, especially those with PTSD, have already expressed fear that they will lose their rights to own guns, should they dare to seek help. And that could have extremely grave consequences for society.
But beyond the obvious cost of implementing these checks, or even the negative effect such laws would have on those needing mental health services, is that they will do NOTHING to stop black market transactions (where most criminals obtain their guns). Nor will they stop the much-lamented “straw purchase” (where a “clean” buyer purchases a gun on behalf of a prohibited person), which is already a felony anyway.
The political strategy behind the anti-gun advocates flooding the legislatures with stacks of proposals is that they get to back legislators into a corner. After all, if they reject EVERY proposal offered, pro-gun-rights lawmakers will be labeled as “stonewalling” or “unwilling to compromise.”
Unfortunately, too many elected officials (especially squishy Republicans) cave in to this pressure, desperately hoping that if they just go along with this one little piece of gun control, then somehow they will curry favor with those mythical “moderates” come election time.
They are wrong, of course – there is seldom a positive outcome at the ballot box for those who capitulate on major issues, especially gun rights. Most voters, regardless of party, have a visceral distaste for those who have no principles that they are willing to adamantly defend. Election after election has proved that.
Naturally, the overwhelming majority of anti-gun legislation comes from Democrats. As a result, the only thing that “going along to get along” does is give Democrats cover. Even if they lose, Republicans must stand unanimously against these bills, because even a single Republican vote allows Democrats to claim that the legislation had “bi-partisan” support.
All the “save-the-children” rhetoric aside, “universal background checks” are nothing but a Trojan Horse, designed to open the door to “universal gun registration” which is the ultimate long-term goal of those whose utopian view of America is one where private gun ownership is all but a memory.
Only you and I, and our fellow gun rights supporters, can stop linguini-spined legislators from knuckling under to the “reasonable” proposal to require “universal background checks.”