As for how to actually improve things, because it can and should be improved, it’s my belief that background checks are a great starting point. But you can’t just mandate universal background checks without putting together a comprehensive action plan as to how it would work, how it would be enforced, and so on.
Honestly, i don’t think most gun owners inherently oppose universal background checks, they just don’t want to see something slapped together willy nilly, and they want it to be enforced. One of the biggest problems with the current system that leads gun owners to be un-receptive to calls for expanded checks, is the fact that such an infinitesimal number of people who fail the checks are ever pursued for prosecution. If you’re a prohibited person, it’s illegal to attempt to purchase a gun, and the process of doing so requires you to fill out and sign a form under penalty of perjury stating that you are not prohibited. Add to that the fact that most of these transactions are on camera in gun shops and you have someone committing a crime on camera, and signing their name to it. How hard can that possibly be to prosecute? Yet they simply don’t do it.
It shouldn’t cost people anything either, meaning undue hassles or money. That comprehensive nature is what has been lacking in previous proposals, and that is why they have been opposed.
Cost is also an issue. In California, every firearm purchase must go through an FFL dealer, and must involve a background check and a Dealer Record of Sale. California decided to use their own background check system, and the cost of administering this system is passed on to customers in the form of $25 on top of every firearm purchase or transfer. This was specifically not a tax, it was an administrative fee. Years later, in a rare case of a government agency becoming more efficient over time, computerization dramatically increased the efficiency of running this system leading to millions of dollars in excess DROS fees being collected. Since this is not a tax, it would make sense to refund the excess monies collected and lower the fee right? Does anyone really think that happened? Of course not, instead they raided the fund and stole the money for other purposes and continue to collect the inflated fees which are in reality, a hidden tax.
When people call gun owners paranoid, they don’t realize that the gun owners are simply experienced in dealing with the government types, and they understand just how hollow a phrase “common sense regulation” really is.
But you have to address the fact that NICS is outdated and unreliable. It uses paper forms, telephone operators, and it’s just ridiculous. Why not invest in modernizing NICS into a secure web portal (open to the public) and possibly even release mobile apps capable of scanning the barcodes on the back of many ID cards as a means of making universal background checks viable for regular people? No new legislation is needed to revamp the system. Get on it.
Agreed. This is something many in the gun community have been calling for for a long time.