Colorado lawmakers are working on a “universal background check” law that would require private individuals who want to sell their guns to do background checks on potential buyers.
Minnesota and several other states are proposing similar legislation.
But what exactly would they do? Would Ralphie’s father, he of leg lamp fame in “A Christmas Story,” have to do a background check on Ralphie before giving him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas?
And would Sylvester Stallone be filmed doing paperwork before he grabs a weapon from a fallen comrade in one of his shoot-’em-ups?
Someone worth hearing on the issue is Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association. He will discuss the issue Saturday night when he takes the stage at the 2013 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City.
Watch it live right here starting at approximately 10 p.m. Eastern Time.
The NRA said LaPierre’s message will focus on the real consequences of Obama’s universal background check “scheme.”
Sources said he likely will address what it means for the average American – the shooter, the hunter, the law-abiding citizen and those who want to be shooters and hunters and law-abiding citizens.
At this point, it would be anyone’s guess what lawmakers come up with when they discuss universal background checks. The sponsor of Minnesota’s plan, Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, a Democrat, said, “It is merely an opportunity for us to try to make sure that individuals who should not have guns will not have them.”
But as reporter John Croman of KARE-TV in the Twin Cities noted, licensed gun dealer Kevin Vick said the government’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System allowed guns to be sold to the shooter in the Gabrielle Giffords attack in Tucson and in the Virginia Tech massacre.
In Colorado, the bill would require a background check for any transfer of a firearm except in certain instances, such as if the gun is an antique or is a gift exchanged between immediate family members.
Critics have called it virtually unenforceable, as it apparently would require a background check on a man giving his nephew a .22 as a birthday present but would not require a check for a man giving one to his son.
Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, who is sponsoring the bill, said it would help keep guns away from criminals because now they legally can purchase a private firearm from an individual without a check.
The law, she said, would demand that criminals have a background check before buying a gun from a private seller.
“The private-sale loophole is just a way for criminals to skirt around our current background check,” Fields told the Denver Post.
Others have pointed out that the Newtown, Conn., shooter didn’t bother getting background checks on the legally acquired guns he took from his mother’s home after he killed her.
The way the national background check works for gun dealers now is that records are cross-checked, and people convicted of violent domestic crimes, or those determined by the courts to the dangerously mentally ill, are prohibited from buying guns.
Americans have purchased almost 65 million guns through authorized dealers alone, not counting private sales, since Barack Obama was elected.
You also can see LaPierre’s response to State of the Union address. (Recorded live Feb. 14)