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Background check compromise a waste of time

By   /   April 11, 2013  /   Comments

Two Senators, one a Democrat and one a Republican, think they have a compromise on background checks that will move forward.  It’s just to bad this is more about passing legislation than about accomplishing a blasted thing.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn) and Joe Manchin (D- WV) trotted out their proposal and hope it will pass in short order.

The proposal calls for background checks at gun shows and online, but will have no impact on sales between friends or family, the duo claim.

So…how are they going to determine which is which?

Fact:  Weapons purchased online are usually purchased out of state.  That requires a transfer through a Federal Firearms License holder.  Many of those that take place in state are being sold by gun stores.  That means they hold a FFL as well…that means a background check.

Fact:  The vast majority of guns sold at gun shows also require a background check.  You see, the booths at those shows?  If they sell guns, they’re FFL holders.  By law, they have to perform background checks. The so-called “gun show loophole” is the result of private sales between two people that happens to take place at a gun show.

If this law is passed, these two people will merely move the sale off-site.  Why?  A transfer costs an additional $20, and most gun owners find that rather annoying.  A suggestion to not conduct the sale away from the show won’t raise a lot of alarms because of that.

Wouldn’t this be illegal under the new law?  Maybe.  However, we have no idea how they would legally classify “friend”.  As it’s commonly used, it’s impossible to define, which means if two people say they’re friends, they’re friends.  This easily skirts the whole issue.

Obviously, these are just surface arguments.  We haven’t seen the actual bill yet, but this bill looks like another waste of time.  It’s already easy to see the ways to skirt the law, which means it’s useless.  Instead, it’s just a way to create annoyances for law abiding citizens while doing nothing to actually curb criminals.

Unfortunately, this is typical of politicians these days. It’s far more important to look like they’re trying to accomplish something than to…you know…actually accomplish anything.  It’s all about appearance.  The phrase “Image is everything” is fine when Andre Aggasi is trying to sell cameras.  It’s not fine when people care creating laws that will impact how we live.

To those who say, “If it won’t do anything, what’s the harm?” I have to respond by pointing out that if a law won’t accomplish anything, then it shouldn’t be a law.  We have countless regulations now.  Some estimates claim that we eat commit an average of three felonies per day without ever realizing it.  I don’t doubt it.  After all, doyou know everything that is illegal?

As a result of a law like this one passing, we’re just that much closer to being unable to do anything without consulting an attorney.  Maybe it’s just me, but that’s not a future I look forward to.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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