Background Checks- The case against the case against


As the US Congress and state legislatures debate the merits of requiring all prospective gun buyers to undergo a background check a very vocal opposition has lined up behind a specific argument- “Criminals won’t care about background check laws”. The logic is that since criminals will just ignore the law it will merely be a burden on law-abiding citizens.

I must quickly point out that the logic is tautological. Ignoring the law is a crime, so being a criminal and ignoring the law is the same thing (even if the person was previously law-abiding). I assume when opponents refer to these non-attentive criminals they are referring to spooky career criminals. You know the ones with tattoos and eye patches, the type that would get into an armed stand off with your local SWAT team over unpaid parking tickets.

Since when is the likelihood that a career criminal will follow a law the justification for creating the law? Watch any high profile criminal case and you will see prosecutors charge defendants with every charge they can. It seems that law abiding citizens, even those sensitive to gun ownership rights would be in favor of tools that might a prosecutor might utilize to ensnare career criminals.

Imagine the career criminal that is arrested for threatening behavior toward a meter maid who has just issued a parking ticket to said criminal. Upon arrest an officer discovers a weapon that was purchased without a background check. With a background check law in place the criminal is sentenced to much more than disorderly conduct and the weapon is confiscated. A celebrated win for humanity!

PS. Criminals come with a large variety of motivations and feature a wide range of industriousness. So any law or hurdle to prevent certain classes of people from buying guys will surely work to some extent. Just like having to mail in a rebate form will most certainly prevent some people from claiming their rebates.

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