Do You Support Background Checks?

How Do You Answer Without Creating Enemies?

The media keeps asking everyone. Left, right and sideways, Democrat and Republican, knowledgeable and ignorant, student and teacher, armed and hoplophobic-gunless people alike. Journalists want one answer, and their question often presupposes the “rational” answer: “Of course I do.”

That’s an unsettling answer if you’re a hardcore gun-rights activist. You know enough about what the catch-all term background check really entails. “Absolutely not.” That’s a radical answer except to hardcore libertarians, and some misinformed gun owners might even disagree with you. How can you be against background checks, or the new voodoo, universal background checks?

The packaged answers on the so-called “news” — on those evenings when media decides it’s time to explore gun issues in sound bites — don’t explore the issue at all. They’re phony — not the same as fake — and I’ll stand by this.

The Brady bill was a critical enabling act, empowering the FBI to build a computer system on a sprawling campus in West Virginia, from which it could check out any American from one central location. The bill supplied the quarter-billion dollars needed for the task, without which the system couldn’t be built. This was the true motivation for passing the act and getting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in place. Background checks for gun buyers was the cover story, the carrot for public support, and an ancillary use.

When Janet Reno, the attorney general who oversaw its construction under President Bill Clinton at the time, announced the system was incapable of erasing any records, it created an uproar. It stretched credulity. How dumb did they think we were? A computer that can’t erase? Sheesh. The law required erasure to prevent registration. But I digress.

Yes, or No? Neither

The good answer to the deceptively loaded question the media and ignoramii are bandying about isn’t yes or no. That’s the trap. No one should support what’s generally called “background checks” as they’re currently configured. Do you support it? “Not as currently configured.”

This slows down the inquisitors; throws them off their game. Take this one step at a time.

The current background check hasn’t stopped mass murderers. That’s why this topic is front and center. We’re virtually unanimous — everyone wants to stop massacres. Background checks obviously aren’t doing it. After two decades of glowing praise and promise, we still have spree murder, gang murder, inner-city murder, jihad murders, crazed child murderers, etc.

I don’t want hardened, dangerous criminals and seriously crazy people walking into stores to simply buy guns at retail. No one does. Right? We all agree again, except the criminals and crazies. After this, there’s less agreement.

Four main problems afflict the current background check, and it has nothing to do with getting the database more complete. The database is a tangent, part of a philosophy to separate as many Americans from guns as possible, a tool in the disarm-America school of thought.

NICS supporters are well aware of this unspoken asset; now you are: “A huge NICS database represents that many fewer armed Americans. True or false?” Follow-up question. “Passing laws including a prohibited person status for offenders is a good thing. True or false?”


Here are four important problems to consider when discussing this topic:

1) Mass murderers are not stopped by background checks.

This is already evident, not conjecture or a proposal. The horrific crimes motivating this debate could not be affected by checks. Guns were already owned, stolen, obtained through murder in the first place, or legally bought by people who can legally own them. The new “incentivized-check” proposals, if they were in place, would have stopped a single military psycho, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. You know what law enforcement could do with this kind of cash?

2) Criminals are fully armed. Checks don’t affect this.

After two decades criminals and the inner cities are unaffected. Unaffected. Only leftists are crying out for bigger, better, newer, more of what isn’t working, sort of like they run those cities in the first place. Criminals steal guns, smuggle guns, straw purchase guns, trade what’s already out there, etc. They’re laughing at you.

3) Proposed bills aren’t checks, they’re registration.

Read the bills. They include, imply or will require gun registration to work. Writing down everyone’s name has zero crime-fighting capacity. Everyone with skin in this game knows this. It is a one-to-one direct prelude to tyranny and confiscation; it has nothing to do with background checks or crime control. The very fact some authorities are promoting gun registration at all, especially by telling you it’s a background check, is grounds for an indictment.
4) Background checks don’t address the problem.

If you don’t ask the right question, you don’t get the right answer. The question isn’t what can we do about guns — these constitutionally protected, critically important pieces of property. These are the things from which political power is and always will be exerted, whether you understand it or not. These private possessions that 100 million Americans have in 60 million homes, with numbers that grow daily.

Real Questions

The important questions to ask are these:

1) How do we stop our children from becoming sociopathic monsters, and why is this happening all of a sudden?

2) What if anything can be done to stop jihad in all its forms?

3) Can the sociopathology of Democrat-controlled inner cities be addressed so the murder rate drops?

Background checks leave these real questions not only unanswered, but unaddressed. Now we’re having a real discussion instead of battling over sound bites.
There’s an alternate plan which would work, at a tiny fraction of the cost, and not provide every innocent gun buyer’s name (tens of millions) to the FBI, which is maybe a fifth problem. The other plan is called BIDS, and functions like sending digital wanted posters to gun dealers, instead of sending everyone’s name to the FBI centralized data center. Here is a link if you would like to learn more:

Alan Korwin’s website features plain-English books on state and federal gun laws for the public. He invites you to write to him or see his work at

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