President Obama has just announced plans to use Executive Power to
expand background checks for gun purchasers and require “anybody in the business of selling firearms” to get a federal license to do so. That all sounds good and reasonable to me so why are Republicans almost unanimously opposed? I’m sure we’ll hear from many of them soon enough but for now I’ll tell you why I’m against this and why you should be too.
I’ve recently blogged about gun control and demonstrated that everyone is for it; except for a few extremists who are “off the grid”. Ask anyone “on the grid” if they support background checks and licensing gun dealers and the response will be almost unanimously in favor. So why the rift with the President on this?
First, the language is too vague. Anyone selling a firearm without a license is at risk of federal prosecution. Truly, if the government has a beef with you and catches you legally selling a firearm, they could prosecute you for selling without a license. The punishment is up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. That’s reasonable only if you’re actually guilty of the crime. And I have no issues at all with the feds making sure that a gun buyer is legit but what is an “expanded” background check? Will I have to wait a week? A month? If I got busted for possession of some doobage while in college will I be rejected?
Second, Congress could have passed these measures as law and the law would include the necessary details. I know I know, congress is extraordinarily dysfunctional but they do love pandering to their constituents who are almost unanimously in favor of these principals. They should have been afforded the opportunity to exercise their constitutional duty.
Third, when enacted there will be mass confusion and uncertainty among buyers and unlicensed legal sellers, and our court system which cannot bear their current burden, will be barraged with legal challenges as well as cases to prosecute.
I saved the best for last. This proposal would not have made any difference at all in the cases the President cited in his reasoning for this.
As much as anyone, I want to stop the violence that tragically claims innocent victims but this action by the President is just another charade intended to fool a few that his administration is productive.