Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Senator Graham On Background Checks And AR-15s

By Dave Dargo
In a recent hearing on Capital Hill, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had an interesting exchange with witnesses called to testify before Congress.

Senator Graham's discussion centered mostly on background checks and, near the end of his time, spent a few minutes on the AR-15 - a rifle in common use in the United States and often referred to by its detractors as an "assault weapon."

One who doesn't delve into the details of this subject may walk away wondering just why gun rights people are opposed to universal background checks.  After all, we're told that it's just reasonable, common-sense legislation that only troglodytes would oppose.

The problem isn't the concept of background checks as discussed by the shallow talking heads on television.  The problem is the details, the problem is always with the details.

First, let's get one definition out of the way.  The "gun show loophole" phrase that gets tossed about isn't really a loophole.  Federal law requires that anyone who is a licensed dealer of firearms must perform a background check for anyone purchasing a firearm no matter where that purchase takes place.  All Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders are required to perform that check.  Non-dealers, sometimes referred to as private parties, are not required to perform background checks when selling to another private party, though some states do impose such a requirement such as California.

Senator Graham is opposed to an expansion of background checks because of 88,000 attempts to purchase a gun by an ineligible purchaser, only 40 or so were prosecuted.  Senator Graham wants to know why we would increase the scope of the background check system if we're not prosecuting criminals today.

The bigger problem with background checks, though, is exemplified in a proposed bill in Minnesota.  State Representative Alice Hausman was the prime sponsor of a bill requiring a background check for all transfers of assault weapons.  The problem is that Ms. Hausman expanded the definition of a transfer to reach far beyond the sale of a firearm.  Ms. Hausman's bill defined transfer as:
...a sale, gift, loan, assignment, or other delivery to another, whether or not for consideration, of an assault weapon.
This would mean that I couldn't lend a firearm to my daughter, my best friend or anyone without going through a background check.

As Senator Graham points out in the video, if someone who has been adjudicated mentally insane by a federal court doesn't make it onto the prohibited persons list what is the purpose of expanding background checks to such a point that I can't even let my buddy shoot my gun when we go to the range.

The point, I'm afraid, has nothing to do with decreasing gun violence but, rather, to create more hurdles for the law-abiding citizen to acquire one of those evil devices.  That, my friends, is not a solution to a problem, that is an infringement of a fundamental right.

Enjoy the video.

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