Background registration checks on gun buyers don't stop criminals, they make
it harder for honest people to defend their families.
But the group Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic, the name of which
likens gun ownership to a disease, wants to expand background registration
checks in Colorado to include private sales at gun shows.
Background registration checks violate the Colorado Constitution, which
states: "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his
home, person and property... shall be called in question..." Since August
of last year, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has wrongfully denied
hundreds if not thousands of law-abiding Coloradans their right to purchase a
firearm for self-defense.
Further, background registration checks turn the traditional concept of
justice on its head. In America, we're innocent until proven guilty, right? Ha!
If CBI wrongfully denies you your right to keep and bear arms, it is then up to
you to prove yourself innocent to the CBI before you can purchase the firearm.
This also violates the due process clauses of the Colorado Constitution.
The CBI contacts the FBI to conduct a separate background check.
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the FBI has begun keeping records of honest
gun owners who go through a background check. This is true even though the Brady
bill as originally proposed was supposed to prevent the FBI from registering gun
As history has proven time and again, registration of gun owners leads to
confiscation of firearms. Just ask the Australians, where a 1996 gun ban led to
a massive increase in violent crime. Britain, Canada, and Germany's Weimar
Republic followed a similar path. Right now, California officials are trying
(with little success) to confiscate select semi-automatic rifles which were
previously registered with the government. The State always seeks to increase
its power over the citizens. When gun owners are registered, it's only a matter
of time before their civil liberties to bear arms are stripped of them.
But that's an argument for the long-term. What about the here and now? Do
background registration checks decrease crime right now? No. Yale Professor John
Lott, Jr., in his book *More Guns, Less Crime* found "no crime-reduction
benefits from state-mandated... background checks before people are allowed to
buy a gun" (20).
Disarmament advocates frequently claim that background checks stop X number
of criminals from buying a gun, but that's false. Criminals merely resort to
theft or the black market to get guns. But many honest people are left
defenseless. Lott continues, "No statistically significant evidence has
appeared that the Brady [background check] law has reduced crime, and there is
some statistically significant evidence that rates for rape and aggravated
assault have actually risen by about 4 percent relative to what they would have
been without the law" (162).
Background registration checks especially hurt the poor, who lack both the
funds to pay for the added costs of the checks and the legal expertise to prove
themselves innocent to CBI if they are wrongfully denied. But poor people in
high-crime areas most urgently need firearms to defend their families. Lott
summarizes, "Law-abiding minorities in the most crime-prone areas produce
the greatest crime reductions from being able to defend themselves" (70).
But anti-gun politicians seem to care about neither civil liberties nor the
Contrary to phrases made popular by gun-grabbing politicians, background
registration checks are UNreasonable laws that empower criminals and endanger
the lives of children. Background registration checks should not be expanded to
cover private sales at gun shows -- they should be repealed.
Arnie Grossman, a founder of the so-called SAFE lobby group, called his
background registration initiative a "first step" toward the further
restriction of civil gun rights. If private sales at gun shows are somehow
"loopholes," then the next "loophole" to close will be all
private sales. The final "loophole" will then be the Second Article of
the Bill of Rights and the related clause in the Colorado Constitution.
The First Amendment is not subject to federal licensing and mandatory
background registration checks. But the civil right of self-defense is even more
fundamental. Freedom is not a loophole. We don't need less freedom and fewer
civil liberties, we need more.
Ari Armstrong is our Liberty Ally and editor of the Colorado Freedom Report,
seen at http://www.co-freedom.com.
This article originally appeared in the May 27 edition of the Longmont Daily
Times-Call and is reprinted here with permission.