A July 8 article from the Center for American Progress (CAP) regarding gun control laws and firearm sales ignited by the coronavirus pandemic might lead the reader to suspect this organization regards gun ownership as a privilege that should be strictly regulated by the government, rather than a fundamental right that is protected from government infringement by the Bill of Rights.
Headlined “Dangerous Gaps in Gun Laws Exposed by the Coronavirus Gun Sale Surge,” the article calls for mandatory waiting periods, but also suggests “policymakers should use this moment to consider enacting a system of gun licensing that would address many gun law gaps at once, rather than through piecemeal legislation.”
“Laws that require individuals to obtain a government-issued firearm license prior to purchasing a gun could minimize the risks associated with delays in the background check system,” say authors Chelsea Parsons and Rukmani Bhatia, “as well as require that all sales proceed only after a background check has been completed and the purchaser has completed a gun safety training class, which includes instruction on methods of safe storage. A comprehensive system of gun licensing, whether enacted at the federal level or by individual states, would alleviate many of the weaknesses in current gun laws that are being exacerbated by the pandemic.”
Parsons is the vice president of CAP’s Gun Violence Prevention, while Bhatia is a senior policy analyst for that office.
The article says nine states plus the District of Columbia “have enacted laws requiring a waiting period before at least some gun sales can be completed,” and that these restrictions are shown to be effective in lowering the rates of gun-related homicide and suicide by a 2017 study.
The story also asserted, “The lack of universal background checks undermines the effectiveness of nearly every other gun safety law, particularly those that prohibit certain individuals from gun ownership and those intended to deter illegal gun trafficking…In February 2019, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 8, a bill that would close the private sale loophole in federal law and require background checks for all gun sales, including those facilitated by private sellers.”
But a few days ago, AmmoLand News reported on research that questions whether so-called “universal background checks” are effective in preventing gun-related crime. The report focused on a story from American University Radio in which author Lisa Dunn observed, “While polls show widespread support for universal background checks, there is mixed evidence that requiring UBCs for all gun sales would prevent or reduce gun violence.”
The CAP article also suggested licensing of gun owners, with licenses to be “of limited duration.”
And, in a section subtitled “Insufficient oversight of gun ownership,” the story says this:
“There are few barriers to gun ownership under current federal law. As long as a person is at least 21 years old and is not prohibited from possessing a gun because of one of the nine enumerated reasons listed in the federal code, they can purchase a handgun from a licensed gun dealer. The age threshold drops to 18 to purchase a rifle or shotgun, including semi-automatic assault rifles. But there are no requirements that a prospective gun owner must demonstrate any level of proficiency with a firearm and no mandates on how guns should be stored or carried to prevent against theft and unauthorized access. Again, these concerns predate the coronavirus pandemic. However, the current influx of first-time gun buyers raises new concerns about the thousands of new gun owners bringing deadly weapons into their homes without the proper supports to ensure that they are able to do so safely.”
Liberty Park Press and TheGunMag.com reached out to the CAP regarding its official position on the Second Amendment, but did not receive an immediate response.