Those in support of the White House's proposal will likely argue that there are few instances, other than gun shows, in which true casual sales take the place of commercial sales. But that argument skirts the real issue and the president's assertion that 40 percent of sales now require no background check. A blanket requirement related to personal transactions could be far-reaching. And since every transaction, even a gift, is regulated now by the IRS, would it take very long for the transfer of guns between family members or as an inheritance to qualify for the same background checks?
What we are really talking about here is the addition of more Americans into an ever-growing system of data, which whether by design or not seems destined to not only restrict our freedoms but shatter what little privacy we have remaining. The proposal has little chance of passage in the Congress, but it gives those who never considered the alleged "slippery slope" being created by the Obama administration strong reason to consider just how slippery it might be and where any slide might end up.
As for the second aspect of Obama's proposals, that of encouraging physicians to communicate with authorities about individuals who might exhibit mental illness in combination with gun ownership or making clear through Obamacare that doctors are given authority to question about gun ownership and advise on safety matters related to such ownership, well, that certainly sounds reasonable. But when one considers the massive electronic database being assembled under modern health care as we know it, the inability to preserve privacy with regard to health information and government's continuing effort to intrude into the private lives of citizens, the concept once again places a chill in the air -- or down the spine.
The medical establishment appears thrilled with the proposals related to physicians. And the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary moves a lot of people toward wanting "assault weapons" banned or controlled. But in the Sandy Hook case, the only way Obama's proposals with regard to background or physicians would have played a role would have been to institutionalize Adam Lanza for general mental illness before he committed his depraved crime or deny his mother, a victim of her son's attack, the right to bear arms because of her son's pre-existing mental problems. He apparently did not buy his weapons, instead taking them from her.
That would take a great deal of investigating, some very far-reaching action by medical professionals and the use of a crystal ball. If we get that far down the slope, we are in real trouble.