A recent Townhall essay challenged anti-gun Democrats to “admit defeat” because there is mounting evidence that the so-called “universal background check” schemes trumpeted by the gun prohibition movement as the means to reduce violence with firearms have been failures where they’ve been tried.
Check the states where such background check requirements have been instituted. California has had the requirement for years, but it didn’t stop the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks late last year.
Likewise, Washington voters approved a “universal background check” requirement in 2014, but it didn’t prevent the Mukilteo and Cascade Mall incidents in 2016.
The Townhall piece quoted large sections from an article at Vox.com, which noted, “several studies released in the past year now suggest that enacting comprehensive background checks alone would have a very limited effect on US gun deaths, whether homicides or suicides.” The Vox.com story added this:
“Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, said that comprehensive background checks are a ‘logical first step,’ especially given the high levels of public support for the policy change. But the effects of such a policy, at least at the state level, have been discouraging; when states enact comprehensive background checks alone, Webster explained, ‘we’ve not seen reductions in homicides and suicides follow.’
“The argument that Webster and other researchers are now putting forward is not that background checks don’t work at all. But the way these policies have traditionally been implemented aren’t working as well as supporters would hope. And even if background checks can act as a foundation for other changes, the evidence increasingly suggests that other policies — such as a system that requires a license to buy a gun — may be necessary to really tackle America’s gun violence problem.”
There just might be a problem with these “other policies” that anti-gunners wish to implement. They might fall under the definition of “infringement” or “impairment.” While it is possible to ratchet down on a government-granted privilege, when it comes to rights, it’s supposed to be another story.
Wikipedia has an interesting page that Capitol Hill lawmakers, the press and gun prohibitionists should study. It carries definitions of rights and privileges and says this:
“A privilege is a certain entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. Land-titles and taxi medallions are pronounced examples of transferable privilege. These can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth.
“By contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens or all human beings from the moment of birth. Various examples of old common law privilege still exist, to title deeds, for example. Etymologically, a privilege (privilegium) means a “private law”, or rule relating to a specific individual or institution.”
And what does that pesky Second Amendment say, again?
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The ability of an individual citizen to have a gun is a right that, for too long in too many places and in too many minds, has been regarded as a privilege to be heavily regulated.
Then there was the rather common-sense remark from the National Rifle Association’s Jennifer Baker recently about universal background checks that anti-gunners seem loathe to admit: “So-called universal background checks will never be universal because criminals do not comply with the law. Instead of looking for effective solutions that will deal with the root cause of violent crime and save lives, anti-gun politicians would rather score political points and push ineffective legislation that doesn’t stop criminals from committing crimes.”
Baker is director of public affairs for the NRA and its Institute for Legislative Action. Her office recently assembled a list of prominent people who passed background checks. The list includes such notables as Ian Long, the Thousand Oaks killer; Nikolas Cruz, the accused shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida; Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas mass killer; James Holmes, who opened fire at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater; Devin Patrick Kelley, the Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooter; Aaron Alexis, who killed several people at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard, and so forth. There are several other names on the list.
Capitol Hill Democrats recently trotted out a “universal background check” bill and invited former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords to help introduce it. She was nearly killed in a 2011 shooting incident in Tucson where six others did die. The new bill—the first of what will likely be several in the U.S. House with its new, activist Democrat majority—was unveiled with lots of fanfare and publicity, but it is essentially the same old song.
Incidentally, Jared Loughner, the man who shot Giffords and killed the other people, passed a background check. His name was also on the NRA’s list.