The Hill: Incoming Dems to Push for ‘Universal Background Checks’

Representative Mike Thompson on the House floor

Still thinking your Second Amendment rights are safe just because President Trump is in the White House? House Democrats will take control next month, and have their sights focused on your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The Hill is reporting that Democrats “plan to push a bill to require a background check for every gun sale in America.”

Representative Mike Thompson on the House floor
California Rep. Mike Thompson reportedly plans to push a “universal background check” measure.

The news agency, citing a story in Mother Jones, said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) plans to introduce the legislation.

However, the Hill reminded its readers that “several recent mass shooters, including the gunman who killed 17 people in Parkland Florida last February, passed background checks to obtain their firearms.”

Mother Jones confirmed that anti-gun Democrats have been a busy bunch:

“The move has been in the works since before the election, when Thompson met with outside gun reform allies like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Center for American Progress, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Giffords to talk about what they might push for if Democrats won the House.” —Mother Jones

Here, again, is another example of what rights activists increasingly refer to as “camo-speak” because the term “gun reform” simply means “gun control” in disguise. Indeed, one of the key tenets of a “Conversation Guide” published by the Giffords group, and reported earlier by Liberty Park Press, was “Don’t use the phrase ‘gun control.’” Another bit of advice in that list of things not to do was to “talk about stricter or new gun laws.”

Giffords is the group founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly after Giffords was seriously wounded and several other people were killed in Tucson in what may have been an assassination attempt that turned into a mass shooting. The man responsible had passed a background check.

Mother Jones lamented that, “According to a 2017 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which was funded in part by supporters of gun control, 22 percent of U.S. gun owners obtained a firearm without a background check over the past two years.” Many Second Amendment activists see nothing wrong with that, and over the years, many gun owners have contended that so-called “universal background checks” amount to the creation of a de facto gun registry.

This is all the more reason, as some rights activists have been suggesting, that Senate Republicans must act immediately to pass the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, already passed by the House, before the end of this Congressional session. The GOP under Mitch McConnell, as the argument goes, needs to send a strong signal to the nation’s gun owners, whose votes will be critical in 2020—not only re-take the House but also retain the White House.

Have you seen or heard an increase in anti Second Amendment rhetoric or legislation in your area? Share your state and what has happened in the comment section.

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Comments (42)

  1. Responding to Juanito I on “dos and don’t: The one other item I wish they would include is to use well supported (with evidence) facts about gun violence, instead of quoting “sound byte” misrepresentations that sound dramatic, but do nothing to progress efforts to understand what can truly impact prevention. For example, saying that the US (population 330M) has the most gun deaths compared to “countries” with populations 2% to to 10 % of the size, isn’t even statistically appropriate, unless they are saying that the square miles (or KM) of land mass do the killing. Canada population is 10% of the US. Sweden is 3% of the US. Norway less than 2% of the US. Comparing numbers of deaths or mass events US to any one of these, without accounting for population difference is voodoo designed to rile the unwitting toward more gun regulation, but it won’t materially aid understanding of the true causes of violence, or materially impact the outcomes. Here in Illinois, we have among the most restrictive gun laws of any state… and the worst gun violence nationally. Restrictive laws, more laws haven’t proven to solve violence here.

    If we want meaningful dialog, as anyone who wants a “comprehensive background system” 1) what that means to them 2) how do they understand that it will reduce gun violence?

    60% of US deaths are suicide – an illegal act that is almost always committed with a legally acquired/owned firearm.

    30%+ of US deaths are gang/drug related. Here in IL, 95% of the crime guns recovered were acquired and were possessed illegally at the time of criminal use.

    As any gun control advocate to explain on the level – how will comprehensive background checks materially improve these results, given that some part of the 20,000+ gun laws currently in effect were violated – that these “criminals” aren’t obeying laws in the first place?

    1. Sorry not likely. The House alone cannot change anything and the Senate and/or President can override their votes. Takes 2/3 to override a Presidential veto. 2nd Amendment will be around longer than the Dem House Majority and if by chance they made a serious effort to take our firearms we would have a civil war in this Country that they cannot win. Who do they think is stupid enough to try to confiscate over 300 million firearms in the hands of 50 percent of the population. No sane police officer or military person who wants to go home to their family would participate in a general confiscation of firearms. They would be shot dead on the spot once word got out.

  2. “The only way the government can police every gun sale has a background check . Is to have every sn# on file for who owns them .”

    Not quite wholly true. The serial number would have to come to the attention of the government before they would ask, “Who owns this gun?” If someone sold a gun without a background check the government would not know until the question was asked.

  3. Currently, background checks describe the gun (including serial number), thus, if the system continues as is, every gun could be tracked through every owner day by day, transfer by transfer. Defacto registration.

    1. Larry, you’re a good man, and while I totally agree it’s a great question, I’d have to call you a glutton for punishment, for putting the ideas around voter vs gun IDs out on social media. Respect from Illinois, man! 🙂

  4. dprato, I’ve lived in California and Illinois for a combined 35 years, and agree with your perspective. I had a triple background check to get CCW, on top of the double background check to get my FOID in Illinois, yet with this highly regulated environment, we have some of the worst violence nationally in/around Chicago.

    Something we’re not generally talking about here is the explosion of parts availability and “80%” lowers for both MSRs and handguns. A 12 year old (or a felon) with credit card access can buy parts and build what they can’t legally buy at a gun shop. I don’t have stats, but since these are injection molded, there are 10s of thousands going into circulation each year. They run reliably with a little skill and practice, and don’t need any sort of registration to be legal in all 50 states… ammo for the “ghost” weapon may be harder to come by, absent reloading equipment.

  5. James Hemingway, you are wrong dude. Factually inaccurate, and your conclusions are racist. To each their own (it’s a free country- for a little while longer, at least), but you should probably expect to stay in a small minority of folks who hold or tolerate those views.

  6. Re Dan C’s comment – it’s accurate IMHO. And the conclusion of it is higher costs and regulation for legal gun owners who will undoubtedly participate, and no change for the illegal buyers and sellers we already know to exist, who don’t participate. You may stop a few questionable transfers, but we might just see a significant rise in “lost or stolen” reports.

  7. Responding to Repo – you are absolutely correct about nearly all US mass shooting guns acquired/possessed legally – sometimes with a rogue juvenile shooters leveraging their parental inventory.

    However, it’s not the case for general drug and gang violence, which constitutes the much larger share of non-suicide gun deaths. (Suicide accounts for ~60% of all gun deaths, and gang/drug related another 30-35% of the total annual deaths.) Mass event deaths fall into that last 5-10% not covered by the 2 big categories.

    1. I was mostly talking about the mass shooting argument they make when trying to push for background checks. i agree that the majority of the homicides are drug,gang related and done with stolen firearms and we know criminals dont get background checks. it just goes to show that more laws,background checks, firearm and mag bans wont stop anything. if they wouldnt have stopped any previous shootings its a safe bet it wont stop future ones. 40 or 50 years of an all out war on drugs with them being 100% illegal and banned and you can go to any city,town,school and find drugs in 10 minutes or less but we are suppose to believe if the govt just passes that next gun law and they will be able to stop gun crimes.. yea right and i have a free energy device ill sell you too..

  8. In response to James Hamer questioning that 22% of gun transactions occur without a background check. I agree that you are right about legal purchase transfers, however consider all the inheritance transfers – everyone of us who owns a gun (or two) will die someday, and that gun will probably transfer to a relative with no paperwork or background check. That alone could easily be the majority of the 22%.

    For the small share of purchase transactions not involving an FFL, there are federal felony laws about a prohibited buyer buying, and about any seller selling to someone they know or suspect is a prohibited buyer or may will use the weapon improperly. These non-FFL involved purchase transactions are the only events where a loophole exists – if the seller didn’t know the buyer is prohibited or out to do damage. For legal transfers in this group, adding a background check might reveal to the seller that he/she should not sell to the intended buyer. This is certainly a small minority of transactions on the face of it…. BUT….

    The Chicago Gun Trace Report has shown across several years that 95% of the crime guns recovered were illegally possessed by the perp.
    This might tell us that they don’t obey laws, and would continue to transact around a more robust background check system, which in the end is a voluntary system that only law followers feel compelled to abide by.

    Absent more “biting” peripheral elements others here have indicated as needing to accompany background checks (such as universal registration), a more comprehensive check system seems to mainly “infringe” on legal gun owners, and will do little to decrease illegal use and it’s associated violence.

  9. I live in Colorado and have gone through over 40 background checks in 12 years including being vetted to be a volunteer for my local police department.
    The main issue with the current background check situation is that the Government does not enforce its own laws. Seldom do they prosecute people who lie on their applications and get caught. All they do is refuse them the gun purchase. The application clearly states that lying is punishable by a very large fine and, I believe, 5 years in prison.
    So the person is denied the firearm and then is free to buy one illegally or get someone to buy it for them in a straw purchase. So tell me, other than collecting money from the law abiding gun purchaser what good is the law if they don’t enforce it. Look at how many people our corrupt FBI and DOJ have identified as suspect, then let them go, and then those same people commit a terrorist or violent act? Our Government has become exceedingly corrupt under the Obama administration and there can be no justice in America with corrupt FBI and DOJ so while I personally have been through background checks with no issues whatsoever, I would not support any further forms of gun control that are not based on the facts or that are unenforceable which means the 2nd Amendment should be my license to carry a gun until such time as I break a law by misusing the firearm and my privilege to use it. I have been around firearms for over 40 years and never once have had an incident using one. Just more BS from the uninformed and politically motivated. If they want them come and try and take them at their own risk.


  11. If i remember right every gun that has been used in a mass shooting has either been bought legally with a background check or was stolen from someone who passed one. i cant think of one example of a gun that was bought without a background check like they are worried about being used in a mass shooting. maybe its safer to have no background checks since they seem to be rarely used in shootings.

  12. If they create a background check bill that includes eliminating the Class II listing of suppressors and CCW reciprocity, I’d support it.

  13. The next couple years on the Hill will probably be determined by the bills introduced in the first month. If this is how they start out, it is going to be ugly. Especially if this legislation is a “clean” bill. ( no pork) when it gets to T; it may pass and our friend in the oval may sign it. If its clean, you can bet signing this will be in exchange for something, but my belief is that T is about the deal. The deal is important. Principles, maybe not as as much. We’ll see.
    That burial tube on sale at TSG is looking better every day!

  14. The only way the government can police every gun sale has a background check . Is to have every sn# on file for who owns them . This way they will know if one has been sold without illegally. So universal background check = gun registry. for everyone that thinks a universal background check is a good idea. It’s not. It’s the first step in disarming the population. WE ARE AMERICANS WE EARNED OUR FREEDOM let’s keep it.

  15. Jefe; every state requires a background check when purchasing from a Federal Firearms Permit seller. Colorado is no different. The Dems are obsessed with UNIVERSAL back ground checks, followed by UNIVERSAL gun owner registration, followed by UNIVERSAL gun confiscation. Get the picture? You don’t vote do you?

  16. This is an open question to any on this blog

    Since “gun controllers” (many apparently heading to The House) misunderstand a variety of other elements of the gun ecosystem, one should probably be asking the incoming Democrat Majority, “How will universal background checks reduce gun violence?”

    I have it that they won’t – scenario as follows:

    60% of gun deaths are suicide, which is illegal.
    Another 35% estimate to association with gang and drug violence, which are also illegal.

    (note that BATFE doesn’t flag deaths as gang/drug related – the research on this part is done by 3rd parties such as John Lott)

    It’s already illegal for a legal owner to transfer firearms to a prohibited buyers, and illegal for prohibited “acquirers” to take possession of firearms they aren’t legally allowed to possess. These are Federal felonies, and most states have parallel reinforcing laws also.

    (From NRA BLOG “First things first, if you have reasonable cause to believe the person you’re gifting a firearm to is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition, or that the person will use the firearm in a crime, you are committing a felony. Don’t do this.”)

    If we look at the Chicago Trace Report (on the origin of guns recovered in relation to a gun violence incident), 95% of all the weapons (over 500 per year) are found to have been acquired and held illegally by the person charged with the violent act.

    Everyone on this blog likely knows that all non-private sellers – at a gun show or anywhere else, are required to perform a background check on every buyer. Also that their mail order gun transactions require FFL involvement and a background check for the buyer.

    So again, given those factual legal touch points that

    1) Law already applies to every manner of improper gun transfer for both buyer and seller.

    2) The vast majority (~95%) of gun violence is committed by folks disobeying existing transfer law in the first place.

    3) And let’s throw in that the US already has over 20,000 gun laws in place

    That question to the Democrat “grand standers” seems valid:

    …How is a universal background check system going to help reduce gun violence, or even reduce improper gun transfers in a meaningful way?

  17. For a long time I have wondered (and asked in public once, for which I was soundly pilloried without getting a satisfying answer) why we do not have universal gun rights in this country to be lost only upon certain, strictly defined acts (violent felony conviction, etc).

    The sticking point for those objecting to my question was that everyone is identified as an authorized firearms owner. Perhaps with an ID card (possessed at the option of the individual). Presentation of the card is all that would be needed to buy a gun. Loss of the card would only be upon certain strictly defined events.

    Since virtually everyone in the country would be an “Authorized Firearm Owner”, the gun registration (or like Illinois’ infamous FOID card) question should be moot.

    Aside from the bad taste of having a card, I think it a viable solution. But that bad taste got me a lot of flaming on the forum.

    1. Larry Schuller wrote: “Aside from the bad taste of having a card, I think it a viable solution.”

      Don’t you realize that you are announcing that you have no problem with having to beg “the government” to pay for an ID card ($10 charge in IL, btw) that ALLOWS you to exercise a constitutional right … a card that “the government” can deny for numerous arbitrary “reasons”?

      These same LibSoc SJW gun control quislings/propagandists/advocates are the same ones who are fighting against FREE government-issued Voter ID Cards … ID cards that guarantee that the voter is who they claim to be and, therefore, are constitutionally-entitled to vote.

      Do you see their hypocrisy there?

      “But that bad taste got me a lot of flaming on the forum.”

      The above noted, do you see the reason for the “flames”???

  18. As to the article, it conflates legally obtaining a gun with mass murder. The point isn’t that some ‘good’ guns end up in evil hands (which we’ll never be able to stop); the point is that some evil, sick or otherwise prohibited people shouldn’t obtain guns by any means.

    If we insist that the evil and crazy can’t have guns, aren’t we then obligated to go along with the constitutional means to reach our own goals?

  19. Recently watched a bit on the Ohio Channel on broadcast tv. The same old arguments about comprehensive background checks, and sad stories of people who got shot.
    They want to invasively check the background of every AMERICAN CITIZEN who wishes to exercise their second amendment right to own a weapon. But, and let me get this right, they just want to let in thousands, perhaps millions of illegal aliens with only their “word” to prove who they are. Seems to me the socialist democrats are on anybody’s side that defies our laws and constitution.
    They can legislate their collective asses off, and I could give a rats ass about it. I will follow the constitution, until the dems rewrite it so its not so racist and outdated. NOT MY WORDS…THEIRS.

    As always
    Carry on
    Forever 18 Bravo

  20. Only an idiot promotes assassination as a political option. Whenever these sentiments are expressed they must be shouted down by the thinking members of society.

  21. There is no way to track and enforce any system of universal background checks without some form of universal registration database.

    1. Bob, Why is a universal registration DB required to enforce a comprehensive background check system?

  22. Will be looking to buy all the rest of my future purchases, privately,
    No background check at all.
    And I want National Reciprocity that Trump promised.
    Anyone stopping that legislation in the Senate MUST BE TARGETED to be ousted.
    Let’s Roll! Force California to honor all carry permits, which will legalize air flight transportation into a California airport, for out of state PERMIT HOLDERS.

    1. Someone please explain the threat to our rights posed by background checks? Here in Colorado, we’ve had ‘universal’ background checks for years. No big deal if you’re the law-abiding type we all claim to be.

    2. Jefe, we have a tough check system here in Illinois too. To address your question, what about the question of whether universal check system reduces gun violence (which I contend it does not – see my post on the topic).

      So if we’re not about reducing violence, then what’s the check system for? Maybe a step along a slippery slope? – particularly if an electronic registration database is implemented with it?

      An why would we add cost and administrative overhead that impacts taxpayers and/or legal gun owners to support, but provides marginal benefit toward reducing gun violence?

    3. It all comes down to the definition of “universal.” I don’t believe the stat that 22% of all guns are purchased without a background check, which is only possible for a sale between two private citizens. Buying from a licensed dealer, at a gun show or shop, and internet purchases, which must be handled through a licensed dealer, all require background checks, as they are currently defined by by ATF Form 4473.

      Universal checks have been proposed that would prohibit loaning a firearm to your buddy to go hunting, giving one to your child as a present, trying out a gun at the range, and similar activities without a background check.

      The current system is onerous enough (shall not be infringed) and generally ineffective, when it counts to prohibit a mentally disturbed shooter from buying a gun. More laws won’t help.

    4. Do you know how many transactions (guns sold) take place without background checks? I know of a couple in Colorado.

    5. You seem to ver look that the reality is the left want to take all the gun away. They have come out and said it. If they get in power you better believe that they will do it. Wake up!

    6. From MAKING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER o—o A Guide to Understanding and Engaging Americans on the Need for Stronger Gun Laws by Americans for Responsible Solutions | the Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly Gun Control Group


      Use the phrase “gun control”
      Attack the NRA or the Second Amendment
      Overstate the impact (e.g. “this will end gun violence”)
      Rely entirely on victim and survivor stories, or use stories that are not connected to the policy you are promoting
      Overload the argument with numbers
      Talk about stricter or new gun laws
      Talk about creating a national gun registry, or banning or confiscating guns – none of which are policy priorities or have widespread support among gun violence prevention organizations

    7. Arenanybod the rights in the bill of rights more important or critical than others?

      The answer is no in case you were not able to answer. Therefore background checks for firearm purchases should be the same as background checks for voting.
      Its been said the sword is mightier than the sword. Therefore background checks should be conducted before posting or speaking in public.

      Background checks create records that are supposed to be destroyed. But the records are not and are a defacto registration system. Registration is illegal and dangerous to freedom.

      Obviously you are a common core indoctrinated person not understanding of the threat of an over reaching government. A revolution was fought against a tyrannical government.

      Also there is a tax on background checks. A tax should therefore be levied on voter ID cards and before being allowed to post in public. It’s only right to assure the person voting or speaking is thoroughly vetted and will not cause harm.

    8. In affect all private sales or transfers would require a ‘check’ and a clearing that it can proceed. This would mean a father leaving his hunting shotgun to his sone, the son would have to pass a background check as be allowed to have it. If I wanted to sell a gun I’ve had for years to a friend, I’d have to go to a gun shop, have them run a background check, with my friend present as well, and get it passed. Kinda like a total title transfer of a car in some states.

    9. Jefe wrote: “Here in Colorado, we’ve had ‘universal’ background checks for years. No big deal if you’re the law-abiding type we all claim to be.”

      Where is your empirical evidence that ALL private gun sales in “Kalifornia Junior” (Colorado) underwent a “Universal Background Check,” Jefe?

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