The Editors on Background Checks
Over on the homepage, there’s a house editorial against universal background checks. The argument is that such checks would be incredibly difficult to implement in practice — and that several provisions needed to make them effective, such as record-keeping, are problematic and politically untenable.
I’m a documented squish on the background-check issue, but I agree: It’s time to throw in the towel on this. I could support a background-check law that met a variety of criteria — one that made checks truly universal (including family gifts and inheritances) and convenient (ideally online); one that did not charge a fee for the exercise of a constitutional right; one that involved record-keeping by gun manufacturers as opposed to dealers or the federal government; one that sunset after ten years or so to prompt a close reevaluation; one with a price tag that could reasonably be said to be worth it.
I am not sure it possible for any system to meet all of those criteria at once. And regardless, no one in Congress has made any attempt to propose legislation to this effect — and if someone did, it would have no prayer of passing, thanks to concerns about gun registration (to which I am somewhat sympathetic). What we’re left with is a highly problematic Democratic bill and Republican promises to support it if it’s weakened even further.
It’s go big or go home, and we ain’t going big.