The Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA), in conjunction with 36 other national, state, and local organization members of the National Coalition to Stop the Gun Ban, released an Open Letter to Congress and the American people announcing their opposition to any effort to institute government controls on private transfers of personal firearms between law-abiding individuals. “In recent weeks, the focus of gun control has shifted from bans on certain firearms and magazines to a push for ‘Universal Background Checks’ on private transfers between law-abiding citizens,” NFOA President Wesley Dickinson stated. “On the surface it may seem like a good idea; however, these ‘Universal Background Checks’ on private transfers are much more complicated, more expensive, and fraught with more hazards than most people realize. Furthermore, extending existing background checks to include private transfers would not have prevented the recent tragedies our nation has experienced, which is what anti-gun politicians and lobbyists claim to hold as their goal. As Nebraskan firearm owners learn the dangerous implications and utter ineffectiveness of these proposals, they will increasingly join the opposition to them.”
The problems with the proposed ‘Universal Background Checks’ on private transfers include:
- The existing background checks don’t impede criminals: Most criminals obtain guns through theft, straw purchasers, or through the same black market that moves other illicit goods such as drugs and stolen property.
- Private transfer background checks would not have prevented the recent tragedies our nation has experienced: The murderers at Virginia Tech, the Batman Movie, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ event in Tucson all passed background checks. The killers at Columbine had a friend buy their guns, and the Newtown murderer stole the guns he used after killing the rightful owner.
- The already unreliable national background check system has experienced delays or halted sales nationwide due to errors, system overloads, and technical problems, and adding private transfers to the current system will further overload it and cost taxpayers millions of additional dollars that could instead be spent on programs that would actually reduce crime.
- Firearms purchased legitimately through private transfers are rarely used in violent crime. There are, however, numerous instances of persons in immediate need of a firearm for self-defense being unreasonably delayed days to weeks by the current “instant” background check system.
- If all firearms transfers require government permission to proceed, then the government need only withhold that permission in order to halt all legal transfers. A right delayed is a right denied.
- Private transfer background checks also represent a step toward federal registration of guns and gun owners, which is something that has been historically demonstrated to be of little use for stopping or tracking criminals.
Don’t just Do Something; Do Something that Works:
- Keep violent criminals behind bars: While keeping guns away from criminals and lunatics is very difficult in a free society, keeping criminals and lunatics where they cannot get their hands on guns has proven to be extremely effective. Violent crime has been reduced by more than 50% in the past 20 years even though the number of guns and gun owners has gone up dramatically during that time.
- Put an end to imaginary Gun-Free Zones: Millions of armed, responsible citizens walk the streets of this nation every day without incident. It is ludicrous to suggest that these same people cannot be trusted around schools, churches, or government buildings. Firearms misuse among lawful carriers is extremely rare, and though they have often stopped criminals in their tracks, a person legally carrying a firearm shooting the wrong person or innocent bystanders is almost unheard of. A cardboard sign declaring a space to be “gun-free” is naive, irresponsible, and an invitation to predators.
Restricting lawful access and use of guns will never deny illicit access and use of guns. The National Coalition to Stop the Ban are representatives of groups and organizations all over the nation. With the attached letter, we put on notice any politician, firearms industry member, or organization that we are determined to protect, defend, and extend Second Amendment rights by every means at our disposal. We invite like-minded individuals and organizations to join us.
Image courtesy Nebraska Firearms Owners Association