April 28, 2021
Universal Background Checks are Unenforceable without a National Firearm Registry
Universal background checks on private party firearm transactions not only impose heavy regulatory burdens on federally licensed retailers, but they would also require a national gun registry, which is unlawful, have no effect on criminals, pose a confiscation risk for law-abiding gun owners and open retailers up to unprecedented liability exposure.
Gun Registries are Unlawful
Currently, background checks are conducted for all retail sales by federally licensed firearm retailers (FFLs). That includes retail sales that occur at gun shows where a firearm is sold at a booth ran by the FFL or online firearm sales that are required to ship directly to an FFL for a background check. The only transfers remaining are private firearm sales which are legal in most of the United States. The glaring problem with universal background checks is they are unenforceable without a mandatory national firearm registry. Without knowing exactly who has the hundreds of millions of privately-owned firearms, it is impossible to control the flow of private sales.
Federally, a national firearm registry is prohibited due to language in the 1986 Gun Control Act and the Brady Act of 1993, which led to the creation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and made clear that NICS cannot be used to create a firearm registry. Gun control advocates know that failing universal background checks would be a precursor to justify modifying current legislation to achieve the goal of knowing where all the guns are. The problem is that even with a firearm registry, it would not stop criminals, nor reduce violent crime. Law-abiding citizens would register their firearms because they follow the law, and criminals would make sure to keep their guns off the list. According to the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Survey of Prison Inmates, an estimated 287,400 prisoners possessed a firearm during their offense of which they are serving time. Of that population, “Seven percent had purchased it under their own name from a licensed firearm retailer.”1 Almost 80 percent of inmates acquired their firearms from nefarious sources.