Gun Appreciation Day was celebrated by taking my youngest son to a gun show. He’s 13 years old; and his possessions include four firearms, a variety of knives, and some useless electronic devices. It is one of the larger shows that occur in my neck of the woods, and it is for a good cause: a fundraiser for the high school hockey team. The high school where it was held was packed shoulder to shoulder by the time we arrived. I didn’t really anticipate making a large purchase but stopped by the bank for some cash just in case I saw something that I couldn’t live without. We spent several hours perusing the tables, talking to vendors, seeing some old friends, and participating in a culture that progressives don’t believe in and liberals vilify.
I consider myself a novice collector of material possessions with varied interests. I am the constant deal seeker. I thought just maybe, I might find a 1911 to add to my collection. A knife with a double-edged blade and leather-bound handle caught my interest. I pulled it from its sheath and noticed a maker’s mark from England. It was about 16” in overall length and reminded me of something a British soldier used in a movie I saw once. It was WWII era, but not military, probably a personal weapon sold to a British soldier to augment their issued equipment. The knife had but one purpose: slide the flat blade between two ribs to the vital organs. It definitely met the cool, unique, and historical factor; but it was more than I wanted to spend, so I moved on. I was also looking for ammunition, as my supplies are dwindling; and I was planning on stocking up a bit. I didn’t make a purchase, unless you count the butterfly knife my son added to his personal collection. In all, it was a good show for a good cause.
I heard lots of people asking vendors about background checks and what information they reported back to the government on firearms sales. It got me thinking about a new term that is being used to describe a solution to the gun show loophole.
What does the phrase “universal background check” mean, and will it really close the gun show loophole? First, you have to believe that a loophole actually exists. I will speak to that in a minute. When a government official uses the term “universal background check”, they mean that prior to the transfer of personal property from one private individual to another, a background check would be required; or the act of such a transfer would be illegal. The only legal method to complete the transfer of ownership would be to visit a federal firearms dealer or to complete ATF Form 4473. The use of this form would associate a person with a firearm and store the transaction in a database, which is a whole different subject.
When I contemplated the possible abuses, my memory reverted to Randy Weaver, the abuses of the government, the resulting death of a federal agent and Randy’s son Sam, the standoff known as Ruby Ridge where the Weavers lived, the subsequent government-authorized murder of Randy’s wife Vickie, and then the ensuing trials. Would enforcement of Universal Background Checks include federal agents visiting yard sales, posing as upstanding private citizens with the intent of capturing private party gun sellers? Would history repeat itself with illegal warrants, standoffs, and death?
The term “gun show loophole” actually makes me angry. The media makes it seem like all these people are using a gun show to circumvent having to do a back groundcheck through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Gun show or not, licensed dealers are required to do the same background check at a gun show that they have to do if they were at their store. Private citizens can rent tables at gun shows to buy, sell, and trade private property (no background check required).
So now the argument comes down to the ability of a private citizen to transfer property to another private citizen. It’s been going on for years at flea markets, swap meets, farmers markets, and gun shows. It is a right of ownership. It is legally owned private property, and the government has no place regulating it. Some states like California have a different view and require ATF Form 4473 for private party gun sales within their state. That is a states’ right issue covered under the 10th Amendment, so it is up to the people who live there to take exception to that state law and change it if they so desire.
So how is the Federal Government involved in what seems to be a state issue? How do they plan on finding the authority to regulate the transfer of private property? Generally, most federal gun laws are tied to the interstate commerce provisions. So unless the Federal Government forces states to pass the California Law, it really has no authority over private property transactions that do not meet the interstate commerce criteria.
The term “private property” means something to everyone. Our possessions are ours to do with as we please. No matter how valuable it is or how trivial it may seem to others, we possess it. The accumulation of assets starts at an early age, usually special little toys. Sometimes we trade them with our siblings or friends, and they become someone else’s property. If you have ever seen a homeless person pushing a shopping cart full of possessions down the street, you can understand that this human element is so instinctive in our nature that no matter what the circumstance, we all need to have something that we can call our own. It is mine, and you can’t have it, from the early days in our lives to our grave. Some people thrive at obtaining property. Others are content with the basics. We earn money to buy it and sometimes die protecting it. We eventually pass on our most prized possessions to our heirs, those whom we love, or those who we think will value and respect the property that we have accumulated.
From sandbox to grave, our possessions are ours. It is a principle of freedom: the right to own, trade, and barter your property for someone else’s goods or services; the right to leave your possessions to another upon your death; the right to gift property to a friend or loved one. It is a primal principle, a God-given right enshrined in our Constitution; so no government can infringe upon it, and no institution can tell you what to buy or what you can do with it. We need to look at closing the “executive order loophole” that is infringing upon our Second Amendment and personal property rights.