It didn’t take long for the new Democratic House majority to introduce a new gun control measure, but as some experts have noted, the legislation is not enforceable without a national firearms registry.
As we reported earlier this month, Democrats have introduced legislation to require background checks on all firearms sales, including those that take place between private citizens.
The bill requires background checks for all gun sales, including private transactions. There will be a few exemptions like transfers between family members or the “temporary use of a gun for hunting,” according to Politico.
To sell the bill, Democrats are engaging in their usual talking points about how it will “prevent” or reduce “gun violence,” notes Awr Hawkins at Breitbart News.
What they’re not talking about is that in order to track sales, the government will have to know who currently owns guns and what kind of guns they own — hence, a registry.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., claims the bill has bipartisan support (it does) and that it will “finally” pass.
“But the reality is that universal background checks open the door to a gun registry inasmuch as the government has to know every gun owners’ name and the guns he or she owns in order for the checks to work,” Hawkins notes, adding:
Think about it — universal background checks require that Americans get permission from the government before buying a gun in any setting, retail or private. This means the government knows every time a gun changes hands, and this includes knowing the name of the buyer and the seller, of the make and caliber of the gun, etc. But the only way the government can know these things is to know exactly who owns guns — and what guns he or she owns — at every moment of every day.
Hawkins says that currently Democrats are not pushing for a national registry but that is the logical next step.
As for the constitutionality of gun registration, legal opinions are split. In 2015 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled parts of D.C.s’ gun registration law unconstitutional, but not the registration itself or the fingerprinting and photographing of registrants.
In 2017, a state appeals court in Ohio struck down a Cleveland law requiring gun offenders to register with police.
To us, the Second Amendment’s “shall not be infringed” clause seems to settle the issue. But federal courts are preoccupied with “precedence” and other legal constructs rather than the language of our founding document — and the only precedence that matters.
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