Friday, June 7, 2013
I support Universal Background Checks!
Following the shooting at Sandy Hook, there was an understandably emotional, yet poorly reasoned, outcry for something to be done. President Obama put out a bold list of goals, matched with a hollow collection of executive orders telling components of the Executive Branch to do their jobs. In the legislature, the possibility of a renewed, stronger, Assault weapons Ban was dead on arrival, and every other ‘important’ measure the President called for fell flat on its face. Despite heavy doses of demagoguery from each side of the issue, the amendment moving to institute Universal Background Checks, heralded as a bipartisan compromise, failed. Represented simultaneously as a common sense measure and an effort to raise the cost of firearm ownership, it was burdened by the agitation of American Gun owners, derided by the anti-gun movement for not doing enough, and the target of massive dollars from both sides. Painted as an opportunistic attack on are freedoms, and defended as a long overdue correction to our countries loop holes.
Separately, the concept of requiring identification and proof of citizenship to vote, to the point of better defending the rights of citizens, is labeled as a sideways effort to disenfranchise the poor, elderly, and minorities. Multiple localities throughout the country have passed laws requiring identification, and are working to improve the requirements to get the identification, while the opposition cries it is a poll tax and will deny others the ability to exercise their rights, moving to challenge the laws in courts. The U.S. Department of Justice takes aggressive steps against locals that try to instill voter id laws, leaping to claims of racial discrimination.
So, the liberal side wants Universal Background checks for firearm ownership, which conservatives object to. Meanwhile, conservatives want a requirement to present proof of citizenship and identification to vote, which liberals object to. Having considered the costs and benefits of each ideal, weighed against constitutional limitations, I believe that there is a move that can gain approval from each side.
The legislature should revisit the Universal Background check legislation, and expand it. Let us make it truly Universal. Rather than just limiting it to the sale or transfer of firearms, make it a step in the application for government issued identification. Everyone would be required to undergo the background investigation as a matter of course, and could use the ID provided to then go forth and exercise the Constitutionally protected rights to vote or keep and bear arms. Rather than violating the 14th amendment to unfairly target one segment of the population, those that exercise the 2nd amendment, this law would apply to all parties. Also, there would be no exemptions for Law Enforcement Officers, Politicians, or any other connected party.
Much like the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act, by requiring that each and every individual of voting/gun purchasing age underwent a background check, the costs for the bureaucratic infrastructure could be spread over the entire population, i.e. those who chose not to exercise their rights to vote or own firearms would subsidize the process for those that do. Overall, this would mostly be an amplification of the process citizens go through in applying for a Driver’s License at the DMV. Currently, most jurisdictions require: proof of citizenship, address in the issuing local, and proof of who you are. Following passage of the Drunk Cynic Universal Background Check, your criminal and mental history would also be taken into consideration, much like sections 11 and 12 of DD form 4473, that anyone who purchases a firearm from a Federal Firearm Licensee must fill out.
Tailing disclaimer: For any actively interested parties, the reason beyond the long delay between posts is that I just completed a massive move, and I didn't want to bother with the stress of diving political topics.