House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her anti-gun allies are moving forward with votes on a pair of gun control bills dealing with background checks for firearm purchases, armed with a new poll showing broad support from the electorate when it comes to requiring background checks on all sales of firearms. A new Morning Consult poll finds that 84-percent of respondents backed the idea when they were asked, though I suspect that if the question had been worded a little differently we might have seen a very different result.
Do 84-percent of Americans think a person should go to federal prison if they transfer a firearm to their neighbor who’s afraid of her abusive ex showing up at her door? Do 84-percent of Americans think that it should be crime to sell a gun to your cousin without a background check, but legal for you to sell a gun to your aunt without one? I highly doubt it, but that’s exactly what H.R. 8 would require if it were to become law.
We’re gonna hear a lot of talk from Democrats in the next few days about the popularity of universal background checks, but the fact is that most Americans simply don’t know about the details of the Democrats’ proposals and how they could impact legal gun owners.
Beyond the polling, however, I have a serious question for the supporters of H.R. 8, and I hope that Republicans in the House press their anti-gun colleagues for an answer.
How will this bill prevent any illicit private transfer of a firearm?
Democrats claim that H.R. 8 will stop criminals from getting a gun, but have you noticed that they never actually explain how the bill will do that?
“If you are a criminal, you are a felon, you are deranged, well by God you shouldn’t have access to a weapon, that’s what this bill does. It has the support of about 90% of Americans,” Illinois Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos said.
Bustos says one bill would close the so-called “gun show loophole” by making it illegal for unlicensed persons to transfer firearms to someone else without a background check.
Most criminals don’t get their guns through legal means in the first place, and the bill doesn’t change the fact that convicted felons and those adjudicated as “mentally defective” cannot legally buy or possess a firearm. So how exactly does this bill prevent access to a gun from those not allowed to own one?
Simply put, it doesn’t. At best it allows for a criminal charge after the fact, but even then prosecutors would face significant challenges. They’d first have to find the gun in question, trace it back to the illicit purchaser, who would then have to provide evidence that the gun was purchased without a background check from a private seller after the universal background check bill became law.
In the year after Washington State approved a universal background check measure of its own, there were a total of ten arrests and two convictions of individuals who attempted to purchase a gun when they were prohibited from doing so, but it looks like both of those convictions came as the result of background checks performed on retail sales of guns, not private transfers.
New Mexico also approved universal background checks back in 2019, and in the first year that the law was on the books there were zero arrests for conducing a private gun sale without going through a background check. Are we really supposed to believe that criminals in the Land of Enchantment simply stopped all black market sales, or does it make more sense that criminals simply continued to ignore this law just as they ignore the laws against, say, home invasion or armed robbery?
Democrats maintain that H.R. 8 will prevent criminals from getting their hands on a gun, but I’ve never heard them explain how the legislation will do that. Something tells me that we won’t get any such explanation during the debate of H.R. 8 either, but every pro-2A House member should call them out for their obfuscation and demand that they tell the American people the truth about this bill; it won’t and can’t prevent a single illicit private transfer of a firearm, and is utterly useless as a public safety strategy.