The Universal Notebook: Let’s not talk about gun control anymore

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President Obama’s use of an executive order to expand background checks on gun sales is an attempt to do the will of the American people given that Congress has failed to do so.

The fact that the National Rifle Association wouldn’t even come to the table to discuss ways to reduce gun violence suggests that some people in this country would rather not talk about gun control anymore.

Frankly, I’d rather not talk about gun control anymore, either. Any time you write in favor of gun control you have to be prepared for the blow-back. The topic of gun control brings out the worst in some people.

Back in November, when I wrote in support of the Maine Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense petition to send universal background checks out to referendum, the column got 100 thumbs down and 167 comments, some of which were pretty nasty. Rather than respond in kind, I spent that week trying to think dispassionately about gun control.

Here’s what I think.

First, despite what every Republican presidential candidate would like you to believe, nobody’s Second Amendment rights are infringed upon by universal background checks. If you’re entitled to buy a gun, you can buy one. If not, not.

Advocates for gun control sincerely believe that the answer to gun violence in the United States is fewer guns and making them more difficult to acquire and carry. That’s what I believe. Opponents of gun control sincerely believe that the answer to gun violence in the United States is more guns and making them easier to acquire and carry. Right now the scales are tipped in favor of more and easier. But public opinion clearly favors universal background checks, a modest step in the right direction.

Last July, a Pew Research poll found 85 percent support for universal background checks. In September, a Quinnipiac University poll found 93 percent support. In October, a Gallup poll found 86 percent support and a CBS/New York Times poll found 92 percent support. Gun rights activists, of course, have their own 2013 McKeon & Associates poll released by the National Shooting Sports Association that suggested only 40 percent of Americans favored universal background checks.

Universal background checks just seem like common sense to me. If you’re going to have background checks on potential gun purchasers at all, you should have them for all purchases, not just those arranged through licensed dealers. Obama’s executive order would essentially require more people to become licensed if they want to sell guns.

Opponents of background checks insist they don’t work, that criminals and crazies will acquire guns no matter what the law says. Proponents of background checks point out that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System has prohibited some 2.2 million gun purchases since it was started in 1998. No doubt, many of those would-be gun purchasers found other ways to get a gun, but at least it wasn’t legal.

Opponents of background checks often argue that Washington’s Initiative 594, a universal background check referendum that passed in 2014, has not resulted in any arrests or prosecutions. Perhaps not, but the point of background checks is to prevent gun sales to felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and the mentally ill, not to arrest or prosecute those who are denied.

According to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, in the first year of operation, the universal background check system ran checks on 4,400 private sales that would not previously have been subject to checks and stopped the sale of guns to 84 ineligible individuals.

“For firearms owners,” says Geoff Potter, communications director for the Washington group, “implementation has proceeded smoothly as gun shows, vendors, and owners are all easily adapting to background checks on all sales. Gun stores and shows throughout Washington – including organizations that fought tooth and nail to defeat Initiative 594 – have seamlessly integrated the requirement for background checks on all sales.”

Universal background checks are the law in just over half the states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Maine should be next. Maine Moms Demand Action was preparing at press time to submit the required 61,000-plus signatures to put universal background checks on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Background checks are obviously not the whole answer, but they do keep some guns out of the wrong hands. They have done so in the Evergreen State and they will do so in the Pine Tree State – if we adopt universal background checks in November. I believe we will. Then maybe we won’t have to talk about gun control anymore, at least for a while.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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  • Bill Inaz

    It’s one thing to be able to verify eligibility. It’s another to record whether a transfer was made. The first is in everyone’s interest, the second is no one’s business. If the public had the ability to access the system (which they own by the way) sales amongst friends and neighbors could easily be done without bothering the government. The problem is that the “universal” BC is not only touted as an eligibility verification but a way to know who has what. This is unacceptable.

    • truther

      Why? There are many transactions that are either automatically or presumptively in the public record. I can look up who owns every parcel of land in Yarmouth (or, more precisely, who did as of 2-3 years ago). I can view the records for every case filed in court that hasn’t been subject to some kind of protective order. I can get a vehicle history for any car provided I know the VIN. And so on. It would seem the public interest is at least as great concerning deadly weapons.

      • EABeem

        I have come to understand that the opposition to universal background checks is the fear that all guns would need to be registered. As you say, the government knows everything else about you, not sure why what guns you own would be any different. Also not sure why no one seems opposed to background checks for sales from licensed dealers.

        • yathink2011

          Maybe because licensed Dealers already conduct background checks?

        • Viggo Erikssen

          Because it’s none of their damn business, and the government has nukes. Did the government get Universal Background Checks on their nukes? Exactly… You communist hypocrite, now get out of my country.

          • EABeem

            I do not know whether I support registration. I simply asked why, if the government knows your Social Security number, taxes, income and vehicles, why it is that some gun owners feels they that gun registration is such a threat? As to UBC, you surely understand that the vast majority of Americans support them.

          • Jim

            It seems obvious to me. If the government knows where they are, they can eventually decide they want to take them. Also, a public list sets gun owners up for home break ins. It is none of the governments business what I own.

          • EABeem

            Fair point if the list were public. So are you opposed to all background checks or just those that involve private sales by unlicensed individuals?

          • Jim

            I’m not necessarily opposed to background checks at all. I am opposed to the government keeping any kind of list, public or private. I’m also opposed to all the other nonsense that is usually slipped into bills for background checks. Things like magazine limits, registration, you can’t have certain guns etc.
            I think one of the things that causes most gun owner opposition is an absolute distrust for gun control types.
            I won’t bore you with a bunch of links, but many gun control people have inadvertently let the public know that the end game is confiscation. Here’s one: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2013/01/01/reminder-sen-feinstein-said-she-wants-all-guns-banned/

            I live in NJ. One of our legislators was caught on an open mic saying “Confiscate, confiscate, confiscate.” I think its too late to get that trust and cooperation back.
            Also, you should note that a NICS check denial does not necessarily indicate a criminal was trying to get a gun. Denials often happen for matching names with criminals etc. They are often sorted out later and go through.

          • EABeem

            Thank you. It is refreshing to have a civil back and forth with a reader on a topic that too often provokes unhelpful . I know from talking with my friend, who is a firearms instructor and NRA member, about the fear of the domino effect — universal background checks leads to gun registration leads to confiscation. I guess I’ve just never heard anyone talk about confiscation. I am not anti-gun. Maine is a state with a heritage of hunting. Our family has a deer rifle and shotgun for birds. There are something like 360 million guns in private hands, so I can’t imagine how it would ever be possible to confiscate them.

          • Jim

            Part of me tends to agree that confiscation is unlikely. However, consider that the President and Hillary Clinton have both advocated for an Australia-style buy back program in the US. That “buy back” program was mandatory. So, isn’t that essentially the same thing? Yes, you are compensated somewhat for the property, but your legally owned gun is gone.
            Also, please consider that the New York Times called for gun confiscation recently in a front page editorial, so these fears are not completely unfounded.
            Consider too that legal gun owners, who have gone through enumerable background checks, are tired of being blamed for the crimes of others. I didn’t do anything, so why should life be made harder, and more expensive (taxes on ammo etc.) for me? Guess what? I already follow the law so these ideas won’t effect crime in the least.
            On a related note, I’ve noticed that gun control proponents often suggest that gun rights advocates will not compromise. Isn’t a compromise where I give something and then get something in return? What are gun rights advocates getting in return in any of these proposals?
            And finally, yes, most gun owners are very sane, normal people. We are quite capable of having a rational discussion.

          • EABeem

            It has been suggested to me that in exchange for background checks, private gun seller’s should get immunity from prosecution should a weapon be used in a crime. Not sure whether that’s the sort of compromise you have in mind.

          • Jim

            Well, you can’t prosecute someone for doing something that is legal, so that’s not really giving anything.
            I’m talking about far bigger issues:
            National Shall Issue Concealed permits
            Repeal of gun free zones
            No more attempts to ban modern sporting rifles, standard magazines etc.
            No mandate for smart guns
            National Castle Doctrine
            These are just a few of the issues that hamper and ensnare perfectly legal gun owners.
            Another thought as to why this will never happen: as soon as you pass this, the gun control folks will start with “now if we could just do this…”

          • EABeem

            That’s an ambitious agenda. I’m not familiar with most of those initiatives or the issues surrounding them. Too bad reasonable people couldn’t sit down and work out a pragmatic approach to protecting public safety and 2nd Amendment rights.

          • Jim

            It is. Maybe the answer is in the middle somewhere. I appreciate you listening and being open to discussion.

          • Tim Pearce

            “Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe.” – Senator Diane Feinstein – AP 11/18/1993
            “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them; “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ’em all in,” I would have done it.” – Senator Diane Feinstein – CBS, 60 Minutes, 2/5/1995
            “If a bill to ban handguns came to the house floor, I would vote for it.” – US Representative Pete Stark – Town Hall Meeting, June 1999, Fremont, California
            “…we need much stricter gun control, and eventually should bar the ownership of handguns” – US Representative William Clay – (no good source, admittedly)
            “Banning guns is an idea whose time has come.” – Vice President Joe Biden – (no good source, admittedly)

            “I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns (with exceptions for law enforcement and licensed target clubs)… .It is time to act. We cannot go on like this. Ban them!” Former Senator John Chafee – In View of Handguns’ Effects, There’s Only One Answer: A Ban, Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 15, 1992

            Etc. Yeah, they do talk about it, but they’ve learned not to talk about it so publicly.

          • EABeem

            I have not heard such talk and I can’t imagine the American people supporting a ban nor can I imagine how it would be possible to confiscate 360 million firearms. But it does help me understand where the concern comes from. Thank you.

          • Tim Pearce

            It has been shown that the gun control groups, at the time, considered the 1994 Assault Weapons ban merely a means of getting the public to become comfortable with the idea of a gun ban. They started with what they perceived as “the scariest guns,” and figured they’d work from there.
            It was the aftermath of the passage of that same law that changed the way gun control supporting politicians talked about guns. Bill Clinton believes that that effort, for the complete lack of effect it had, was why the Democrats lost control of Congress for 12 years. That really rankled with them. 12 years of Republican domination for absolutely nothing. This is a big part of why they actually get upset when you accuse them of supporting gun control and insist that they support “gun safety,” and “reasonable gun laws.”

            As implied, it wouldn’t be a single, sudden bill repealing the 2nd Amendment and making any and all private possession of firearms illegal. They’d just add categories here and there. First “assault weapons,” then expand the definition of “assault weapon” to include semi-automatic firearms of all kinds, then rifles with scopes, etc, until, eventually, they knock away that last chip and all guns in private hands are illegally owned.

          • EABeem

            I guess I can’t see that happening, but, again, it is helpful to understand why some gun owners are concerned.

          • Tim Pearce

            A.) Historical precedent shows that gun registration leads to gun confiscation. Historical precedent shows that gun confiscation can lead to oppression. Historical precedent shows that governments that systematically oppress groups may eventually commit genocide upon them.
            So, why not stop registration and make the rest harder?

            B.) Gun registries can be leaked, especially by anti-gun politicians. All sorts of problems, which I outline elsewhere in this comments section are then going to arise.

        • Viggo Erikssen

          You support registration huh? Is this house a gun free zone?

          83 McKeen St Brunswick, ME 04011

        • Tim Pearce

          Many people are opposed to background checks for sales from licensed dealers. It’s asking the government for permission to exercise a constitutionally protected human right. Hence, it’s still wrong.
          It’s just a more accepted wrong.

      • Bill Inaz

        I suspect we just look at things differently.

        • truther

          Yeah, clearly, but it’d be nice to know why. As another string of comments recently posted to this column indicate, some gun rights people are flat out deranged. It’s a little disconcerting to see how the people who want to be able to carry their deadly weapons everywhere in society also often seem to be certifiably insane. Sure there are crazy people on the gun control side, as well, but since they aren’t armed it’s not such a worry.

          • Bill Inaz

            “Yeah, clearly, but it’d be nice to know why.

            The things you cite simply don’t occur to me as solutions. Being in AZ I have for almost 50 years bought and sold firearms through newspaper ads, at yard sales, I’ve traded them for golf clubs or used fence material. I have no idea how many. And as we have no laws pertaining to registration and no ‘permit’ requirements for carrying a firearm either openly or concealed and with some minor restriction as to location, loaded firearms are in many vehicles, I would no more expect to be able to look in a database to see what house has a weapon than I would expect to be able to access the medical records of the kid that wanted to date my daughter to see if he had “problems”.

            ————————————

            “It’s a little disconcerting to see how the people who want to be able to carry their deadly weapons everywhere in society also often seem to be certifiably insane.”

            I don’t know the ‘ratio’ of this example you cite but I would speculate with an analogy. There are, varied estimates, but in the neighborhood of 230,000,000 people licensed to drive. I say there are more people in this category that should not have a license than there are in the ‘law abiding’ gun owning community that should not have a gun (I’m excluding those for whom no law has any meaning) How can there not be a background check and mental stability test before permitting an unknown to hurtle down the highway at 65 MPH in a 1.5 ton vehicle?

          • truther

            Thanks for the response. On the driving analogy, if you’re in favor of lax guns laws then driving probably isn’t a direction you want to go. Lots of people, for example, think elderly drivers should have to submit to regular checks since they’re often more dangerous than younger drivers. We make people take vision exams. We withhold licenses from people with seizure disorders and the like. Etc. Some of the “common sense” restrictions we have on driving would send the NRA into fits of apoplectic rage if proposed for guns.

          • Bill Inaz

            ” …if you’re in favor of lax guns laws…”

            Not sure what’s ‘lax’ about the laws pertaining to using guns in crime and shooting people. There seems to be a lot people that actually believe that shooting other people is a legal use of firearms. Sadly, those causing the mayhem are too ‘useful’.

  • Aliyah33

    “Advocates for gun control sincerely believe that the answer to gun violence in the United States is fewer guns and making them more difficult to acquire and carry. That’s what I believe.”

    If 80% of gun violence is, indeed, attributable to gang-related activities (according to the CDC), then how will fewer guns and difficulties to acquire and carry for law-abiding citizens put a dent in the 80% of gun related violence in the U.S.? Switzerland is a gun-toting country of citizens with relatively no gun violence. Wouldn’t it make more sense to combat the ubiquitous gang problems here first? And shouldn’t we punish those responsible for the Fast and Furious program used by our federal government which put dangerous firearms into the hands of gangs which were used to kill U.S. border patrol, citizens, and Mexicans?

    • EABeem

      Gang fights once involved fist fights, brass knuckles and knives. It’s just too darn easy to get guns.

      • Aliyah33

        Too darn easy for criminals to get the guns…that’s why I believe the approach is wrong. And I wonder why the heavily-armed and government-supported Swiss militia (population about 8 million) is so different – accepted and provided. The gang-related violence seems the predominant factor here in our country. We don’t even go after the white-collar criminals and clean house like they did in Iceland (re the mortgage financing scam). So, CDC is also questionable because 2010-2011 report looked like this:

        “…a staggering 80% of gun homicides are gang-related. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), gang homicides accounted for roughly 8,900 of 11,100 gun murders in both 2010 and 2011. That means that there were just 2,200 non gang-related firearm murders in both years in a country of over 300 million people and 250 million guns…”

      • Viggo Erikssen

        83 McKeen St Brunswick, ME 04011

        Universal Background Check this address!

      • Jason Coombs

        Either way, if we controlled/ rid ourselves of gangs, gaining a 29% decrease in gun deaths and attributed gang crime would be a great start.

    • ernest meyer

      It is not true that 80% of gun violence is attributable to gang related activities by the CDC. quote

      http://www.yofiel.com/writing/essays/creating-consensus-on-gun-liberties

      “I got so fed up with hearing accusations of bias from both sides, I went to the FBI databases and figured it all out for myself. I found crime only accounts for ~15% of gun deaths. 85% of all homicides are with legal guns. Over half of all homicides are people shooting people they know. Of those, most frequent is men shooting younger girls they know. There are many more accidents to gun owners’ own children than justified cases of self defense. Less than 1 in 30 of all homicides are justified acts of self defense, and just as often as not, people who are defending themselves shoot a child, or a relative by mistake.

      The presence of a gun in a home doubles the risk of homicide. The presence of a gun locker or other safety measures does not reduce the likelihood of homicide.

      Two thirds of gun deaths are people shooting themselves. The gun lovers said, suicide isn’t really gun violence, so those deaths aren’t guns’ fault. So I have to add, suicide attempts are 30 times more likely in the presence of a gun, and 10 times more likely to be successful with a gun than by other methods.

      All these facts were regarded with particular disdain by those desiring to promote gun proliferation, and not one of the 1,3,00 people defending inviolate rights to kill, in arguments over an entire year, said even one kind or sympathetic word for the dead. On the contrary, the most vocal 15% stated all people who were killed unequivocally deserve to die, even blaming accidental deaths on some vapid concept of necessary error, and discompassionately asserting with total conviction that all suicide victims should die without intervention anyway. However, those are only the people driving public opinion by the force of their vehemence, and the majority are totally oblivious to the deaths, believing that all the evidence and responsibility for death only applies to other people. They have no concern for the deaths of others whatsoever, let alone the increased risk to the lives of themselves and their families which the best impartial evidence indicates that they create by keeping firearms in their own homes,.

      I am forced to deduce, too many Americans who get guns are just too angry, too stupid, too dangerous, or too insane to trust with firearms, and have no genuine concern for any other human life besides their own whatsoever, not even their own family and friends. If you were to go so far as to ask me how many: it sadly appears, out of the 1,300 choosing to advocate gun rights to me, the abrogation of social responsibility was exclusively predominant for 1,292 of them (99.38%). Thus, as the gun lobbyists have shown no interest whatsoever in changing public opinion on the value of human life, but simply monger fear, hatred and blame of others for the deaths they cause, the only possible way to create effective gun-control policies is by forcing the utilitarian method described here by law.

      • Aliyah33

        First of all, Ernest Meyer, thank you for the link to your personal website; I took the opportunity to read your article and peruse additional writings. It’s interesting to have the chance to understand others’ viewpoints and to learn.

        That said, you’re a self-described retired scholar (engineer and journalist), and Master Freemason In the Wild of the 16th century lodge of Devonshire (UK) and named your website “after the archangel of divine beauty”. While I share your empathy for human lives and desire peace and harmony, we diverge in other views. I do not believe all who support gun ownership and/or own guns should be labeled “gun lovers”, are “vapid”, or that too many Americans get guns because they “are too angry, too stupid, too dangerous, or too insane to trust with firearms and have no genuine concern for any other human life besides their own”…or “simply monger fear, hatred and blame others for the deaths they cause”.

        That said, my understanding in summing up your article is you believe we should: use a “utilitarian approach” which means “loosing a little freedom to gain happiness”, those who own guns should pay tax ($1,400/household) and mandatory insurance to pay for all the gun violence (or “buy something else”), those who don’t own guns should receive a tax credit, and “gun deaths make America the world’s laughing stock”.

        A caveat in using FBI data bases/statistics – namely the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). The reports coming out are only as good as what goes in, meaning if the nation’s police departments, etc. are not reporting actual numbers of gun-related homicides and differentiating what’s gang-related or not we should be questioning the FBI’s numbers. Same goes for crimes related to number of rapes, bias/hate crimes, etc. (To that extent, we can include the CDC as questionable given their reports as Beem and I both used.) Further, what about the gun deaths by police in this nation? If you google it appears a number of countries are tallying up the U.S.’s deaths by police brutality and homicides; and take a look at all the videos. Therefore, I still maintain the need to focus on gang-related crimes and less on law-abiding citizens.

        Interestingly, as published in The Forecaster, it seems some parents will ask “Is there a gun in your house?” before allowing a playover, but are probably the same who’d brag about their child on a student exchange program in Switzerland where the citizens are the militia, children are taught gun safety, sharp-shooting skills are praised, and the government provides the firearms and requires yearly certifications.

        Regarding suicides, I truly care about people taking their own lives. While it’s fact most gun-related suicides are by males, it’s also fact that people who are suicidal and planning will use other means if guns aren’t available. You’ve mentioned Japan, take a look at the numbers and methods. Shouldn’t we focus on helping families, friends and communities in recognizing and aiding people in despair, depressed, suicidal…shouldn’t we put more money into helping those with mental illnesses? How is it realistic to determine with absolute certainty someone who’s currently mentally healthy and happy in life will later become depressed and suicidal and therefore not allowed to own a firearm? Does Minority Report come to mind?Regarding firearm ownership and domestic violence cases, my understanding is that even with laws in place where LEO should be taking possession of guns, there can be a lack of follow-through – this has happened in Maine, too.

        Lastly, look up history and the consequences to the populace when government disarms citizens. There’s a pattern, and it usually starts slowly, the eventual outcome in millions of deaths because of genocide is a reality and something human beings repeat. While you may be willing to give up freedom for perceived safety (happiness), this isn’t reality, and many of us know it. Gun proliferation is also already in place; take the firearms away from law-abiding citizens and who will have the guns? Our own U.S. government thinks nothing of arming gangs and selling arms to whomever it pleases.

        It appears your other concern regarding violence in human beings (reviewing your website) is that “…aliens must have placed the solar system in a ‘quarantine bubble’, believing we are too dangerous to have the benefits of their more advanced civilizations, until such influences as Donald Trump are no longer evident.”…and you’re supporting Yuri Milner (Russian billionaire) in collecting $100 million to begin extensive search for proof of extraterrestrial life, for which he and others will investigate and report findings in a decade to the public. To that, I’ll keep my feet upon the ground; let’s focus our efforts and resources to find solutions here and now where we live.

        • ernest meyer

          psycopath

          • Aliyah33

            So… you believe anyone who supports the 2nd Amendment, doesn’t call those owning firearms vapid and hateful (I don’t even own one), or agree with your point of view are psychopaths?

          • ernest meyer

            paranoid too

          • ernest meyer

            As I actually defend the 2nd amendment against those who would abolish it, you are still talking to yourself, not me. I suggest you talk with yourself to someone else.

          • BIGGER_HAMMER

            WOW – Aliyah33 gives a polite and well reasoned response that gives you consideration and not condemnation, and your response is “Psychopath”? Really??? It is any clearer that those who want to restrict freedom in the name of safety that they will soon end up with neither. If you look up DemoCide, you will see that the most deaths in human history are not due to war or crime, but to governments deciding they need to “control” their population. Soviet Russia (Lenin & Stalin 20 million+), Communist China (Mao 20 million+) , The Peoples Republic of Kampuchea (Cambodia) (Pol Pot killed 25% of the population) are all mass murders that could only begin and continue to their gruesome tallies when the population was defenseless.

          • ernest meyer

            incapable of reading comprehension

          • ernest meyer

            Anorher psychopath. Just endless justifications for more guns and profiteering from them without any concern for the dead. No further comment.

          • Jason Coombs

            Oh it gets better! I believe he is a person who similar to the pompous college hack in Good Will Hunting. Can’t handle it when someone calls out his spouting of cherry picked facts highlighted with his big words he learned in college.

          • ernest meyer

            Not satisfied with insulting me, you insult the american democracy too. Comparing the USA to Cambodia is the height of paranoid delusion. Sell your guns and use the money to see a psychiatrist.

        • Jason Coombs

          I believe you ruffled his sensitive feathers based on his response. Lol.

      • MrMe

        Your stats are not facts. Go visit Chicago, and see what the problem is. Chicago has unconstitutionally restrictive gun laws, but has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Gang violance should be front and center. Your idea of taxing lawful gun owners is absolutely idiotic. Some of those lawful citizens might need a gun to defend themselves from the thousands of assault rifles Obama gave to Mexican Cartels via Fast and Furious.

        • ernest meyer

          Crime is 15% of all gun deaths. Usual sociopathic denial of any wish to reduce gun violence

          • MrMe

            Your comment has nothing to do with my reply. Extreme gun control of lawful citizens does nothing but strengthen thosr that want more political power, and criminals that don’t follow laws, anyway. Gang violance is an extreme issue in America. Don’t close your eyes, because it’s not reported accurately. Open your eyes, and see just how many parts of America are too unsafe for Americans. Clean those up before you tell people they don’t need to worry about protecting themselves.

          • ernest meyer

            Since my original post, I have gathered applicable data to your claim, and the results are here:

            http://www.yofiel.com/writing/essays/violent-crime-caused-only-5-39-of-gun-deaths-in-2014

            As you can see, my problem with your statement is that the actual facts prove the opposite. And I was very surprised how far wrong you are myself.

          • MrMe

            Read this, and pay attention to the parts that specifically point to gang violance. How do you not care about extremely violance gangs? If you think they’re not a big deal then please put on a bunch of bright red or blue and see how long you last in Chicago or LA or any other of the gang infested cities we have. Open your eyes, and see the gangs killing at an astounding rate, and care more about that than taking people’s right to self defense away.

            http://www.gunfacts.info/gun-control-myths/crime-and-guns/

          • ernest meyer

            As I said, crime is important too, but with view to the total number of firearm fatalities, it is not the most significant factor.

  • Clifford Ishii

    Take up a an alternative weapon like a Jo staff for self defense and avoid government controls period.

  • Stanley Hill

    Only Crime control will help! The revolving door at the justice office and failure to control crime is the problem and to cover up their failure they blame it on the gun! Just remember if they take our self defense tools, we still have the same criminals that cause the murder rate to be high. I would rather have the ability to protect my family and keep the criminals in jail where the problems come from. We have a president that just released thousands of criminal on our streets and wants to disarm us.

    • Bill Inaz

      “The revolving door at the justice office and failure to control crime is the problem and to cover up their failure they blame it on the gun!”

      “Failure”? Maybe but there’s an old radical adage that is summed up in the expression”

      “It’s harder to get the laws you really want if the laws you have appear to be working”

  • Viggo Erikssen

    Vermont, Maine, and Wyoming are the safest states in the union, none of those states have “universal background checks”, which are just a backdoor gun registration scam. Your beloved UBCs are not even enforceable. How do you enforce a background check on a private sale in a private home? The answer is: You don’t. If 92% or 90% or 85% of Americans supported your UBC scam, it would have won in every country in Washington, and it did not. The truth is that UBC scam in Washington was brought and paid for by billionaire elitists and their Anti-2nd Amendment propaganda. BTW I will tell you what Vermont, Maine, and Wyoming do have in common that make those states the safest in the USA. They have permitless, or Constitutional Carry, which means the right to keep and bear arms open or concealed is recognized as a right, and not a privilege you pay a government tax and get a card(permit) for. VT, ME, and WY also have a large population of white people and a low population of illegal immigrants and Black Lives Matter thugs. When you try to infringe on people’s rights, people are going to hate you, and they are going to resist you. Maybe you should have studied your history, and found out about what our Founding Fathers did to gun grabbers. Background Checks aren’t mentioned in the 2nd Amendment, and nobody has to get a background check to use their 1st Amendment rights. I do know what is mentioned though… “Shall not be infringed”. If you do not respect the 2nd Amendment as a right, and want to make it a privilege, then I suggest you move to Trudeau’s Marxist Canada. Oh and I don’t care if your UBC crap passes, I will not comply. Now have a nice day and get out of our country.

    PS: We all know how well gun control and UBCs worked in California with the San Bernardino attacks. We all know how gun control worked in Paris during the terrorist attack there and the Charle Hebdo attacks. You’re dismissed.

  • Viggo Erikssen

    Not to mention your Bloomberg funded UBCs were so poorly written that it nearly shut down a WWII museum. Way to spit in the faces of the people who died for this country because the 2nd Amendment hurts your little Social Justice Warrior “feewings”.

  • Viggo Erikssen

    83 McKeen St Brunswick, ME 04011

    How about we do a universal background check on you pal?

  • Richard D.

    Pennsylvania and Virginia do not have universal background checks fyi. So tell me another story.

    • EABeem

      I stand corrected. The list I quoted came from a website that I thought would be accurate. Here is a more accurate list:

      Eighteen states and D.C. have extended the background check requirement beyond federal law to at least some private sales. Eight states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and D.C. require universal background checks at the point of sale for all transfers of all classes of firearms, including purchases from unlicensed sellers; Maryland and Pennsylvania laws do the same, but are limited to handguns. Four states (Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey) require any firearm purchaser, including a purchaser from an unlicensed seller, to obtain a permit issued after a background check, and four more states (Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and North Carolina) do the same only for handguns. Illinois also requires a background check whenever a firearm is sold at a gun show.

  • EABeem

    In anticipation of ad hominem attacks, let me just say the following and then I will refran from any further comments:
    I have discussed these issues with a friend who is a firearms instructor. He is a libertarian and I am a liberal. He is an NRA member and I am not. He is opposed to universal background checks and I am in favor of them. I respect his right to bear arms and he respects my right of free speech. We simply agree to disagree and remain friends. I learn a great deal from talking with him that modifies my own views. I do not learn anything from irrational and insulting posts. So while I know from experience it is possible to have a rational discussion about gun ownership and gun control, the online comments section of a weekly newspaper is obviously not the proper forum for it.

    • areyoukiddingme

      In the end the issue on these is that the actual drafting of the law is hostile to the normal activities of law abiding gun owners. This is also true of the latest citizen initiative in Maine. I understand that its difficult to draft around the distinction of a transfer versus a sale but almost all of these laws ultimately criminalize everyday behavior.
      Using the Maine proposed Citizen Initiative here’s some examples:
      – Loan a gun to a friend to go hunting (without you) NO.
      – Loan a gun to a friend to try before he buys a similar one. NO
      – Loan a target pistol to a friends daughter to practice marksmanship. NO
      – Go hunting with a beginner and loan them a gun. They get cold and want to walk back to the truck while you continue to hunt. NO
      The list of everyday activities that are now criminal activities is incredible. I understand that EABeem you probably don’t own a gun and participate in gun activities so I fully understand you don’t get the details. But what if you couldn’t loan your car (which is what actually is the equivalent here) to someone you know in need. Would you support that?

      • EABeem

        Are you sure the exceptions in the law don’t cover some of these situations?

        . Exceptions. The provisions of this section
        apply to the transfer or sale of a

        firearm between unlicensed persons except if:

        A. The sale or transfer is between family members;

        B. The firearm is a curio or relic, as defined in 27 Code of Federal
        Regulations, Section 478.11 (2015), and the sale or transfer is between
        collectors of firearms as curios or relics, as defined by 18 United States
        Code, Section 921(a)(13) (2015), who both have in their possession a valid
        collector of curios and relics license issued by the federal Bureau of Alcohol,
        Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives;

        C. The sale or transfer is of an antique firearm, as defined in 18 United
        States Code, Section 921(a)(16) (2015);

        D. The transfer is temporary and is necessary to prevent imminent death or
        great bodily harm, and:

        (1) The transfer lasts only as long as necessary to prevent such threat; and

        (2) The transferor has no reason to believe that
        the transferee is disqualified to possess firearms under state or federal law
        and has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in
        the commission of a crime;

        E. Either the transferor or the transferee is a law enforcement agency or
        the Department of Corrections or is, to the extent the person is acting within
        the course of the person’s employment or official duties, a peace officer, a
        law enforcement officer, a corrections officer, a member of the Armed Forces of
        the United States or the National Guard or the Reserves of the United States
        Armed Forces, a federal law enforcement officer or a person licensed as a
        security guard or employed by a contract security company or proprietary
        security organization under Title 32, chapter 93;

        F. The transfer is temporary, the transferor has no reason to believe that
        the

        transferee intends to use the firearm in the commission of a crime and the
        transfer and the transferee’s possession of the firearm take place exclusively:

        (1) At an established shooting range authorized by the governing body of the
        jurisdiction in which such range is located or, if no such authorization is
        required, operated consistently with local law in such jurisdiction;

        (2) At a lawfully organized competition involving the use of a firearm or for
        participation in or practice for a performance by an organized group that uses
        firearms as a part of the performance;

        (3) While the transferee is hunting or trapping if such activity is legal in
        all places where the transferee possesses the firearm and the transferee holds
        any license or permit required for such activity; or

        (4) In the actual presence of the transferor

        Any transfer allowed by this paragraph is permitted only if the transferor
        has no reason to believe that the transferee is disqualified to possess
        firearms under state or federal law or, if the transferee is under 18 years of
        age and is receiving the firearm under direct supervision and control of an
        adult, that such adult is disqualified to possess firearms under state or
        federal law; or

        G. The transfer occurs by operation of law upon the death of a person for
        whom the transferee is an executor, administrator, trustee or personal
        representative of an estate or a trust created in a will.

        • areyoukiddingme

          EABeem. I’m as sure has you can be at this stage of the process. It ultimately it will come down to how the courts treat the specific language. This is the ultimate fate of all laws that are poorly drafted. But by example, the hunting exemption should cover the very common situation in Maine where a friend loans a gun to a friend as part of the hunting season. This exemption has this very specific preamble “While the transferee is hunting or trapping” I’m 99+% sure the courts will find “is” means “is”, so any activity that does not occur while actually hunting is forbidden unless you are also there. That covers my first and fourth examples. Better drafting might be that two people with hunting licenses (which mean they have registered with the State (felons already prohibited) and been through a safety course) may exchange guns without a background check.
          There is no exemption in this bill for my second and third examples so they are categorically forbidden.

          • EABeem

            I’m not going to pretend to understand the nuances of the language, just pointing out that there has been some effort to address common situations in which one would not imagine a background check would be required. Seems to me that F covers most loans, but I’m not sure.

          • areyoukiddingme

            F has the specifics of each situation. And doesn’t even come close to deal with real world loans. Those are essentially gone with this as drafted. I’m hoping you might read the bill and decide its not the best drafting for things Mainers care for and maybe we can move to discussing something that might work. I repeat my original challenge. Would you support a bill that didn’t let you loan your car!

          • EABeem

            I’d have to loan it to a licensed driver.

  • Clifford Ishii

    For someone who does not want to talk about gun control this author sure bloviates a lot about it
    No guns? Get a Jo staff to defend yourself

  • R T Deco

    Proponents of background checks point out that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System has prohibited some 2.2 million gun purchases since it was started in 1998.

    This figure is almost worthless. How many were false positives?

    How many people, like Dylann Roof, passed the check, even when they were not supposed to?

    Unless one has some idea of these figures, that statistic is pretty much meaningless.

    Advocates for gun control sincerely believe that the answer to gun violence in the United States is fewer guns and making them more difficult to acquire and carry. That’s what I believe.

    The problem with this belief is that it runs counter to the available evidence. It’s like believing in fairies or witches. History over the past three decades has shown that, as gun laws across most of the US have become significantly more lax, gun violence (and crime rates in general) have significantly decreased during the same period.

    Now, admittedly, there are a lot of factors that affect crime rates and gun violence rates, but it is simply foolish to believe that more gun control is a leading factor in decreasing those rates. It is far more consistent with experience to claim that less gun control has lead to less crime. That is not a claim that I make here, but I dismiss the claims on the other side that less gun control leads to more crime and more gun violence, because we’ve done it and that clearly has not happened.

    “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

    – Albert Einstein

  • ernest meyer

    The following article is now complete with a summary, in section 4, of 3,000 objections by 1,300 gun lovers raised over a year:

    http://www.yofiel.com/writing/essays/creating-consensus-on-gun-liberties

    In view of which, I reached the unavoidable conclusions: >99% of the responders’ claims are directly and deliberately false, without any ameliorative qualities. Almost all are sociopathic, and many are purely psychopathic. In note of the total absence of reasonable conversation and the preponderance of direct hostility peppered with needless insults, the courts should indeed force gun control regardless of the public’s misinformed and uneducated opinions on the nature of the purpose of law. Both sides of the debate manipulate and distort statistics without any interest in truth, but the gun advocates only do so to promote the case for more killing, and to promote more gun sales, without any real consideration whatsoever of the superseding value of human life in ethics, morals, law and the Lockean social contract under which this nation was formed.

  • guest

    Let’s not forget that the current incarnation of the “background check” is also a gun registration. Each purchase of a firearm, even the purchase of multiple firearms at the same time, requires a check for each gun, thereby registering the guns. If the gun control advocates want universal background checks, they should start with limiting it to a check of the purchaser’s background.

  • Tim Pearce

    The problem with citing the numbers of denied background checks is that a denial is not the same as a criminal being absolutely prevented from getting a gun.
    A.) How many of those denials were false negatives? Meaning, a non-prohibited person that was prohibited due to a mistake. It happens. It happens enough that there’s an established, and somewhat streamlined appeals process.
    B.) How many of those denials were repeated attempts by the same person under the somewhat reasonable assumption that a government agency will screw up, eventually? Again, it happens, and with the ATF’s 0.2% rate of following up on denied background checks, there’s virtually no risk involved in trying it.
    C.) How many of those denials were by people who, ages ago, had a felony conviction, and now, after fifty years of being a good, law-abiding citizen, feel the need for better protection than swinging their cane? Again, it happens. I.E. how many people might actually have been *killed* by being denied?
    D.) What isn’t stated in the figure is how many of those people, after being denied, went downtown and bought a stolen gun from some street punk, or called up their buddy, Mr Clean Record, and get him to buy it. Once again, these things happen.

    Effectively, there’s no way of knowing what the *actual* effect on crime background checks have. Denials are rare. If I remember correctly, denials account for less than a half of a percent of all background checks, and as stated above, some of those will be appealed and overturned. Considering how much our crime rates fluctuate over time, would we even notice a 1% shift, let alone the 0.002% shift that all the investigated denials could possibly account for?

    On the flip side, there’s really no way of knowing what the *actual* effect on crime concealed carry has. On the gun rights side, we like to quote that statistic of so many defensive uses of firearms. But, another statistic is that 89% of the time, the gun isn’t fired in defensive gun usage; the mere introduction of the gun to the situation makes the criminal/thug/crazy back off so immediately that discharging the gun isn’t even necessary. In other words, even should the defender call the police, there probably won’t be a report filed because there is no evidence that anything happened. Still further, those interviewed about whether or not they used a gun in defense may lie, one way or the other, about it.

    The best we have is correlation, and correlation and causation are not the same thing. The correlation is both that A.) the more guns America purchases, the lower our crime rates get, and B.) those places with more guns have less crime and those places with less guns have more crime.

  • Tim Pearce

    I do, however, approve of people just no longer talking about gun control. It’s rather sickening to see endless debate about whether or not our human right of self-defense should be entirely violated, just limited, or even merely subject to government approval.

    • EABeem

      I appreciate your informed comments here and below. What I would like to know is whether you think there should not be background checks at all? Should felons be allowed to purchase guns legally? I hope you understand that the vast majority of the people who support universal background checks do not see them as an infringement on the right to bear arms. Pass a background check, buy all the guns you want. What am I missing?

      • Aliyah33

        I know you’re replying to Tim in your questions…which are very good… and hope you don’t mind an interjection. IMO, after considering his input, it appears background checks aren’t going to provide the results regarding gun violence some proponents are hoping for, and felons who’ve proven rehabilitation (a pattern of behavior over time) should be allowed to purchase guns legally. My initial reflex was to say, no to all felons, but Tim’s comments gave me pause. As far was what you’re missing…I’d have to say the patterns of human behaviors as evidenced by history.

        • EABeem

          I am trying to understand why some gun owners feel that UBC laws infringe on their rights as it seem to me (and most supporters I believe) that the only people who have their right to bear arms infringed upon by UBC laws are people who might legitimately be prohibited from owning a gun. And I don’t understand whether people who oppose UBC laws are opposed to background checks in general or just background checks on private sales.

          • Aliyah33

            Some of the reasons given which I understand are:

            (1) “The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.'” Infringed being the key word.
            (2) Politicians, generally and historically, have been duplicitous about many issues; in this case saying UBC will reduce gun-related crimes, while also saying “confiscate” as Tim pointed out.
            (3) History shows an observable pattern of smaller steps of firearms control via laws as manipulative means towards inevitable tyrannical control.
            (4) Instead of addressing the predominant sources of gun violence, the UBC appears an excuse and predominantly targets law-abiding, responsible gun owners because those prohibited from owning guns can easily acquire them through/by any other means, and therefore don’t care about laws.
            (5) It seems reasonable to believe law-abiding citizens have given no cause whatsoever to warrant a background check. The LEO already have CODIS and other criminal tracking systems to monitor those with a known history of criminal behaviors.
            (6) There’s a belief the government will keep records which are no one else’s business, are easily hacked and may make them targets for criminals.
            (7) UBC appears to be ostensibly used to keep the public safe, when it’s actually a tracking tool. (Several police departments have received surplus military equipment and cannot even account such items as missing assault rifles.)

            Therefore, shouldn’t the questions be: Is there any evidenced-based practice showing UBC laws work to substantially reduce gun-related violence? If not, why are we focused on UBC laws?

          • Tim Pearce

            In addition, and I don’t have any source to show for this, but there was some note from the Attorney General, I believe, stating that UBC would be meaningless without comprehensive, retroactive, and mandatory gun registration. In essence, if you don’t know that Bob had the gun before he sold it to Steve, you can’t actually prove Steve didn’t always have it. You can’t prove the sale ever happened. You cannot convict Bob for selling it to Steve without a background check, nor can you convict Steve of purchasing the gun without a background check.
            Federal Firearm Licensees (manufacturers, gun distributors, gun shops and such) already have to have a set of books that detail what guns they have or have had, where they came from, and, as applicable, where they went. An FFL can’t say, “I have never had this Beretta 92 with serial number 1234,” as there will be a record showing one was sent to them. Bob cannot say the same, as the FFL will have a record of selling that gun to Bob.

        • Tim Pearce

          Yeah, if nothing else, there should be some system through which a felon can regain their right to keep and bear arms after their sentence is finished.

      • Tim Pearce

        Ultimately, I don’t support background checks, at all. I used to, but for purely emotional reasons. As a person who has worked jobs selling guns, I didn’t ever want to turn on the TV and see the face of some guy I’d sold a gun to during the story about some mass shooting or gang violence.

        A.) First, there is the idea of having to ask the government for permission to exercise a human right (access to the means of self-defense) that is constitutionally protected primarily as a means of ensuring the people have the power to enforce their will upon the very same government. It is simply wrong to have to ask the government for permission to exercise a human right, and it is simply wrong to have to ask the government for permission to keep that government in check.

        B.) Next, is the uncertain effectiveness, which I’ve covered.
        C.) Last is the logical fallout of background checks and Prohibited Persons: the black market of guns. By barring the legal channel of firearm acquisition to felons and those guilty of domestic violence, we’ve laid the groundwork for the illegal channel of firearm acquisition. We’ve created a need for criminals to break into cars and homes to steal guns. Inevitably, these break-ins will result in encounters with the owners of the cars and homes. I.E. people are getting injured and/or killed over this. I don’t think these things happen as often as the lower risk methods of initial illegal acquisition, such as straw purchases, but I think they happen.

        For the issue of felons with guns, again, I used to support barring them. As time has progressed, I’ve analyzed the logic and I have, at least, some serious misgivings.
        A.) If a convicted felon has been released from prison, they’ve served their time, no? Why, then, are we going to continue punishing them, forever, by permanently barring them from firearm ownership?
        B.) Whatever else they may be, a convicted felon is a human being. They have human rights, even if we, as a society, have violated some of those rights in incarcerating them for a year or more. The human right of self-defense has a subset: the right to access to the means of self-defense, I.E. the right to keep and bear arms.
        C.) By continuing to violate their rights, indefinitely, we further alienate them from society. We are, ultimately, saying, “You will never be one of us, again.” What incentive, then, do they have in trying to be a good member of society?

        Both of these issues, however, revolve around what I see as the point where which virtually all gun control fails. Gun control almost always treats possession and acquisition as the problem, and ignores misuse. There are over a hundred million gun owners in the country. Around a third of the population. Where guns owners are the majority of the population, crime rates are low. Where gun owners are the minority of the population, crime rates are high. Clearly, possession and acquisition are not the problem. Even when discussing felons with guns, is it not what the felon is doing with the gun, not the mere fact that they have it? If a felon never misuses a firearm, is there a problem with that felon possessing it?
        The problem with gun control trying to tackle misuse, is that, for the most part, such law already exists. We don’t need a law saying it’s illegal to sexually assault someone at gunpoint, as we have a law saying it’s illegal to sexually assault someone with or without a weapon. If gun control is to work toward combating misuse, it must treat a crime done with a gun as worse than a crime done without one.
        So, two examples:
        1.) With concern for the perceived ease of killing that a firearm represents, any violent crime where a firearm is actively used, even should it not be discharged, will be accorded a far greater sense of severity, and as such will have ten years added to the sentence. For instances of forcible sexual assault, using a drawn firearm to coerce the victim, the penalty will be execution. (This does not even touch the right to keep and bear arms. All it does is attack misuse.)
        2.) With regards to the prevalence of stolen guns being used in crimes, should it become evident that a firearm used in a crime, or found upon the person being charged with a crime, or found within the vehicle or domicile of the person being charged with a crime, is a stolen firearm, the person who used it in a crime or had it in their possession while committing a crime will be additionally charged with Criminal Use of a Stolen Firearm, which, as a felony, has a sentence of ten years in prison.

        • EABeem

          You’ve obviously given this matter some serious thought. I just wish there were a way to get people who come at preventing gun violence from different angles together to get a consensus on what might actually work without infringing on constitutional rights.

          • Tim Pearce

            There was an article the summed it up best. Gun rights vs gun control is no longer a debate, and hasn’t been one for some time. It’s a conflict. A bloodless war.
            Too many, on both sides, have forgotten why the war is even being fought. All they remember is that, for generations, They have been trying to hurt Us.
            Too many, on both sides, let anger be the driving force of their opinion. Frustration over “that darn NRA not budging an inch,” turns into anger and hate. Gun owners became The Hated Enemy. Frustration over an endless string of “anti-American” politicians and bills “obviously only seeking to destroy America” turns into anger and hate. Gun control groups became The Hated Enemy.
            Further, there’s a sick political aspect to it all, and I’m firmly convinced it’s on both sides.
            Diane Feinstein has run, successfully, on a platform of practically foaming at the mouth when preaching the evils of gun ownership. If she were to introduce gun control that would actually reduce crime rates, the people of California would perceive less need for her during the next election cycle. So, instead she’ll push for things that seem like solutions, but are actually fueling the fire. As a result, during the next election cycle, she can claim that California needs her more than ever.
            Ted Cruz (I can’t think of anyone else off the bat) has run, successfully, on a platform of practically foaming at the mouth when preaching the evils of gun control. If he were to introduce a successful bill to repeal gun control, the people of Texas would perceive less need for him during the next election cycle. So, instead he makes absolutely no effort to reduce the amount of gun control and, incidentally, puts on a show that gives gun control groups more reason to push it. As a result, during the next election cycle, he can claim that Texas needs him more than ever.

            Believe me, I’d love to see a real, reasonable, and rational debate on the issues of how to achieve real and notable reduction of our crime rates without violating the rights of the law abiding. But, you have to get past the obstruction of career politicians, you have to create an open-minded environment where each side seriously considers and debates the opinions and options brought up by the other, and, sadly, you have to find a person on either side that doesn’t absolutely loathe the other.

  • This is only a test

    I am dangerous….I am a gun toting liberal socialist hunter whose a life member of the NRA…I believe that as a “normal” and law respecting individual I should be able to legally purchase and carry a firearm, however how do the rest of you know that I am a “normal” and law respecting individual? The only way is to subject me to a background check when I want to purchase a firearm. How else can the rest of you be assured that I haven’t fallen off the deep end? With today’s technology performing a background check should be quick and easy. The “system” can be set up as a “OK” – “NO WAY” or “CALL THE COPS” without giving away any detailed or personal information. I want the NRA to take a similar position, but as an advocate group they tend to stay to the extreme in order to give them a little space to move. Most advocate groups use the same tactics, but the problem with the gun issue is that there is little political will to engage the NRA in a fight. Politicians rather leave the issue alone as the NRA does have a lot of money and they use it freely if a pol doesn’t back their extreme view. Gun control is just another issue that is effected by the impact of money in politics…thank you citizens united…

  • toonces

    Has anyone who actually supports this legislation read the legislation?

    If one wants to loan their firearm to a friend so the friend can go to the range, that requires a background check, unless the transfer happens at the range and the gun stays at the range the whole time.

    If one wants to loan their firearm to a friend so the friend can go hunting, that requires a background check too, unless the transfer happens in the field and possession only takes place while actually hunting.

    If one wants to temporarily let their friend hold their firearms for safekeeping while one goes out of town for an extended vacation, that requires a background check.

    Is any of this reasonable?

    • EABeem

      Yes, I have read the proposed legislation. I copied and pasted the exceptions in to my replay to areyoukiddingme below. Not sure whether they are all reasonable, but the fact that exceptions are made suggests to me that the law does not contemplate prohibiting acceptable behaviors.

      • toonces

        Exceptions that are meaningless are not real exceptions.

        Here is a real exception that would cover allowing your friend to borrow your gun to go to the range, or go hunting: Allow for transfers between individuals and put a time frame on it, say 30 days.

        The exceptions as written are so constricting that they require the owner be present when letting their friends borrow their firearms. If someone wants to let their friend borrow their rifle to go hunting, the friend cannot come pick it up because it is illegal to have the weapon unless possession takes place EXCLUSIVELY while hunting, or EXCLUSIVELY at a shooting range.

        How does one transport a borrowed weapon to those places legally, under this law, without a background check?

    • Aliyah33

      I agree with you; none of what you’ve listed are reasonable. Wonder if these kinds of measures are passed will that also eventually allow police to pull people over to search vehicles, asking for proof of ownership documents, etc. I’m also wondering about convicted felons who aren’t even allowed to be in a home with firearms much less possess one. People are convicted of felonies which aren’t even gun-related. While I read some gun control advocates believe the other side promotes fear-mongering and appear paranoid over proposed gun control legislation, I’m also reading about a lot of fear some gun control proponents appear to have regarding guns, and law-abiding gun owners. One of my friends wants gun control, but also admits she doesn’t know the first thing about guns nor anything about gun safety.

  • Alex Giger

    Dear Readers,

    I’m not sure there ever has been an issue as misrepresented, misunderstood, and deceptive as this upcoming 2016 universal background check referendum. By my estimate so far, there are at least 14 reasons to oppose this referendum, but I will limit myself to discussing only six (6) of them here.

    1st Concern:

    Mr. Beem states; “….nobody’s Second Amendment rights are infringed upon by universal background checks. If you’re entitled to buy a gun, you can buy one. If not, not”.

    Not true. If voters pass the 2016 Maine universal background check referendum,
    young people aged 18, 19, and 20 will have a de-facto handgun ban imposed on
    them because gun dealers cannot transfer a handgun to anyone under 21 years
    old. Please see SUN JOURNAL Letter to the Editor dated 02/04/16.

    2nd Concern:

    Mr. Beem states; “…Opponents of background checks often argue that Washington’s Initiative 594, a universal background check referendum that passed in 2014, has not resulted in any arrests or prosecutions”.

    It’s worse than that. A review of 2015 Instant Background Check data from
    Washington State by Seattle TV Station KING Channel 5 found that less than 2%
    of the checks related to private party transfers. Researchers at the University
    of Chicago had estimated that 40% of all gun transfers are private party
    related. Either private party transfers are inconsequential, or Washingtonians
    are engaging in massive civil disobedience. Neither scenario gives one
    confidence in how this would work out in Maine. An approved Portland Press
    Herald Letter to the Editor on this topic is pending publication.

    3rd Concern:

    Mr. Beem states; “If you’re going to have background checks on potential gun purchasers at all, you should have them for all purchases, not just those arranged through licensed dealers”.

    Leaving aside the fact that criminals will not subject themselves to universal background checks; the bigger problem is that the referendum not only affects gun sales, but all but a few very narrowly defined gun transfers. Loan a gun to a trusted hunting buddy or victim of domestic abuse – go to a gun dealer to process the transfer, coming and going. This goes far beyond what the voting public has been told and what is reasonable.

    4th Concern:

    The Maine Attorney General and the eight (8) state-wide prosecutors are already
    struggling with very high case loads estimated at three times the maximum recommended American Bar Association case load. It has also been reported that county jails in Maine are over-loaded with prisoners awaiting trial.

    How will the Maine Judicial System deal with Mainers innocently ensnared in the arcane universal background check transfer requirements? Will these violations simply be unenforced? Unprosecuted? If not enforced, what is the point of the UBC law? Please see Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor dated 02/08/16 and Portland
    Press Herald Letter to the Editor dated 02/11/16.

    5th Concern:

    As other commentators have stated, universal background checks cannot be
    implemented or enforced without universal gun registration. We currently have decentralized gun registration in the form of all the ATF Form 4473’s that are completed and kept at gun dealers whenever a gun is sold or transferred. This allows the initial tracking of crime guns on a case by case basis. Federal law prohibits
    the creation of a national gun registration database, but there is some doubt
    whether the law is being complied with.

    History has shown that gun registration has been used by tyrannical governments to facilitate confiscation as a precursor to worse crimes against humanity. All freedom minded people should be concerned about this aspect of universal background checks.

    6th Concern:

    The ATF recently announced that it is struggling with the current volume of gun
    background checks due to very high gun sales. Related to this, the FBI
    announced that they will suspend processing appeals for those citizens unjustly
    denied gun purchases (i.e. false positives). If you are wrongfully denied a gun
    purchase you have no recourse. In other words, your freedoms are in the hands
    of un-elected bureaucrats and you will have little recourse by purchasing a gun
    via a private sale. Please see SUN JOURNAL Letter to the Editor dated 03/05/16.

    I will spare the reader with having to read more, but just Google “14 Reasons to
    Oppose Maine’s Universal Background Check Referendum” and you will see the more complete list of concerns to help you make an informed voting decision in
    November 2016.