No Conflict In Wanting Federal Background Checks But Not Federal Gun Laws

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

For many, gun control laws are the answer to any violent crime problem. We see it time and time again and a lot of people are getting sick of it. There’s a reason a number of states are going to embracing sanctuary state ordinances that draw the hard line of what they’ll enforce and what they won’t.

However, it seems some in the media think there’s a conflict in what the state of New Hampshire is saying and doing with regard to their sanctuary state law. At least, what else can you take from a headline that reads, “House Wants Federal Background Checks But Not Federal Gun Restrictions,” anyway?

The House decided Thursday that state and local police should not enforce federal laws, regulations or presidential executive orders on firearms if there is not a corresponding state law.

The House also decided to eliminate the state gun line background check for handgun purchases and replace it with the Federal Bureau of Investigation database system that is used for rifle and shotgun purchases.

The House voted 199-177 to approve Senate Bill 154, which would prohibit police from enforcing federal actions restricting or regulating guns. The House met at the NH Sportsplex in Bedford.

Bill opponents said it would ensnare the state in costly constitutional litigation, harm cooperation between federal and local law enforcement, encourage criminal trafficking in illicit firearms and jeopardize public safety.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee had recommended killing Senate Bill 141, but the House voted 197-180 to approve the bill which would replace the current State Police gun line with the federal background check system.

Bill proponents said the state gun line has been a problem for many years with lengthy delays in approval that amount to waiting periods to purchase a handgun, something continually rejected by lawmakers.

Some noted delays of months for approval, although state law allows a gun shop to complete the sale after five days if the gun line has not acted on the request.

Rep. John Burt, R-Goffstown, said the bill has the support of almost all the second amendment groups, gun and gun shop owners, and national firearms organizations.

The implication, based on the headline, is that there’s some kind of conflict at work here.

Except, there isn’t. Not really.

See, whether the state enforces gun control laws are not is irrelevant when it comes to background checks. Gun dealers have to be licensed or the ATF will lock them up. In order to keep that license, though, they have to conduct a background check. It has to be either a NICS check or an equivalent state check.

A check has to be done one way or the other, regardless of whether a state wants to enforce federal gun control laws or not.

However, the people of New Hampshire have been paying for two background check systems for years. There’s no discount with your federal taxes because the state offers a service also offered by the federal government. You pay for both, so New Hampshire residents have been supporting both the NICS and the state gun line.

By eliminating the state’s gun line, lawmakers are being better stewards of the taxpayers’ money.

But a background check was going to happen regardless, and nothing is going to change in that regard. So making a smarter financial decision is anything but an inconsistency.

Of course, some people won’t see it that way. They’ll laugh and try to argue that accepting federal background checks is somehow compromising one’s principles or something. It’s not. It’s just a smarter financial decision by a state that recognizes the overall reality. NICS is going to have better funding and isn’t going away, and since New Hampshire residents are already paying for that, why should they pay double?