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Background Checks Are...Wrong

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Matt York

Why are we seeking background checks? We want to stop murder.

The nation’s Democrats are fundamentally mistaken about background checks in H.R. 8, their grand new scheme. The plan sounds good at first blush, people buy into it, but it’s flawed at its core.


Background checks control everyone who can legally have guns and where they all are (at least in theory). The Democrats keep trying to improve the system. Track every sale, every time, every transfer, no exceptions. Three hundred million guns, 100 million people, or more.

That’s not the problem.

Democrats are trying to solve the wrong thing.

We need to control crime, not track the locations of everyone’s firearms.

If you’re terrified of guns, or if you want all power to collect and reside in the hands of “the authorities,” then background checks are not the wrong thing. Background checks are a tool for control over the population. But they don’t control crime. They don’t even address crime. Democrats know this, or should.

These checks are something the organizers of this free country could not even imagine, much less sanction. Your acquisition of power (firearms) is supposed to stand totally apart from government reach. But that’s philosophical, too deep for many modern citizens. It’s hopelessly arcane for typical public school or even recent college grads.

What our nation wants and needs is to find the countless armed criminals out there, disarm them, and put them in prison. That’s not what background checks do. Background checks have zero to do with that—in fact checks detract from that goal.

Finding and arresting the armed criminals, that’s what makes you safer. That’s what we all seek, or should. Keep the dangerous, the repeat offenders, the people who have guns by the millions who should not have them -- isn’t that what you want?


Spending all this money and police effort and computer power to find and write down the name of every innocent citizen who goes out and buys or transfers a gun -- what does that do but make people who don’t understand feel good?

Americans buy and transfer tens of millions of guns all the time, all of it legal, none of it connected with crime. Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Bernie, Hillary, the solid block of knowing (and unwitting) Democrats in both houses of Congress, they want to control THAT. That’s what their H.R. 8 background checks are aimed at. Checks have nothing to do with making us safe and controlling crime and danger. Their leadership is 100% aware of this. Criminals already can’t even touch the guns H.R. 8 seeks to check.

If you want to reduce crime and danger, and make us all more safe, you should be going after the gangs and criminals who shoot people, and the guns they already have. The supply chain to the bad actors -- ask any cop -- doesn’t go through sporting-goods stores. The criminals are armed in a dozen ways, all well known to authorities. Because the murderous gangs are disproportionately people of color, you can expect a lack of diversity in the results of sorely needed law-enforcement efforts. You can expect identity-politics complaints as you pursue crime control (completely different from so-called “gun control”).


By convincing you that more paperwork will make you safer, the Democrats and their hocus-pocus phony background-check spending schemes will only rob your liberty. Right now you have glorious freedom over your firearms, as you have always had, with zero harm done. Think about your own situation, not the “news” blather -- any harm done by your possession?

It is part of why America is a shining beacon of freedom to the entire planet. It is why people flock here (as opposed to say, communist China, where possession of a gun is a death sentence). Can you imagine if possession of the wrong gun here meant summary arrest and conviction, as Democrats seek?

No, H.R. 8 and background checks are wrong for America no matter how you look at it. If the often disgraced BATFE and FBI were doing their jobs right, they would electronically circulate the NICS Index -- those people legitimately prohibited from gun ownership -- like modern-day Wanted Posters, to the licensed dealers. We trust dealers to sell firearms for Pete’s sake, we can’t send them and trust them with wanted posters? 

Dems don’t want that, even though it’s easy, far cheaper and wouldn’t need a thousand employees -- because it doesn’t collect all the names. It would reduce BATFE to the clerical function it used to and is supposed to have, not the armed leviathan it has morphed itself into.


Background checks are bad even as federally envisioned, for a dozen reasons, aside from aiming the wrong way. Did you know that when a criminal is found trying to buy a gun under the current system, the felon, fugitive, rapist (or whatever) is just sent way with cash in hand? The dealer hangs up on the FBI, that’s the end of it. Hard to imagine -- and that’s not the worst of it. 

Abandon the calls for more expensive and intrusive background checks, they’re misguided and wrong. Increase funding for gang and crime control and expect results. America needs to apprehend murderers and control crime, not track the locations of everyone’s firearms.

Alan Korwin is an award-winning author of 14 books and his firm Bloomfield Press distributes the new 2019 Traveler’s Guide to the Gun Laws of the 50 States at

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