Universal Gun Background Checks Shine Spotlight on Gun Stores

Gun store owners, industry trade groups, and the NRA argue over the effectiveness and benefits of gun background checks.

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San Jose Mercury News / MCT / Sipa

Kevin Pollard, 21, of Redding reloads his shotgun at a public shooting range in Redding, Calif., on Feb. 19, 2013.

To Wes Morosky, president of Duke’s Sports Shop in New Castle, Penn., the universal background check proposal now under debate in Congress would be a boon for business. “It’d keep everyone on the same playing field,” he said of proposals to require background checks for all gun sales that would put licensed dealers like his store at the center of gun culture. “And we’d charge for it.”

But not everyone agrees. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade group traditionally opposed to regulation, claims most firearms dealers are opposed to universal background checks because they will increase workload and legal risk.

“The retailer is required for all the same entries and record-keeping as if they were selling the gun,” said Lawrence Keane, the senior vice president and general counsel for NSSF. “They can be dragged into product liability lawsuits, so they’re exposed on a firearm that they didn’t sell and may not have insurance for. And there are inventory issues in states with waiting periods.”

Just who wins this debate may help determine the outcome of the fight over gun control in the Senate. At stake is not just the President’s priority of establishing universal background checks for gun purchases, but the end game of a two decade battle to bar all sales of firearms to people with felony records or mental instability that has been determined to be dangerous by a judge.

Currently, only the 60% of gun buyers who shop at licensed gun dealers need to undergo background checks. Dealers must check the names of buyers against a federal database of people not allowed to buy guns. If a name clears, the federal government keeps no record of the buyer, but the gun store is required to keep a basic record of the transaction.

For the roughly 40% of guns purchased from sources other than a licensed gun dealer, including collectors and individual sellers at gun shows, no background check is required. That would change under the “universal” background check system that has been proposed by the White House and Senate Democratic leadership. In the new system, private sellers and buyers would be required to meet in person with a licensed dealer, where the dealer would check the buyer against the federal database for a fee. As with dealer purchases, a record of the sale would be retained by the licensed dealer. The federal government would still be prohibited from creating a national records database.

For the National Rifle Association, these new requirements are, nonetheless, “a step toward national gun registration” by the federal government that would take away the rights of law-abiding gun owners. “The whole thing, universal checks, is a dishonest premise,” said Wayne LaPierre, the association’s executive vice president in an appearance Sunday on NBC‘s Meet The Press. “There’s not a bill on the Hill that provides a universal check. Criminals aren’t going to be checked. They’re not going to do this.”

In an unconventional turn, gun control advocates are touting the potential benefits for dealers in embracing universal background checks due to increased foot-traffic. “It’s something that existing dealers like because they get traffic,” says John Lowe of the Brady Campaign, “A lot of dealers make most of their money off of accessories.”

The system of universal background checks envisioned on the federal level already exists in the state of California. For decades, all gun purchases have required checks against the federal database, with little incident.

Mike Klein, an owner of a gun store called Warrior One in Riverside, Cal. where state law mandates 10-day waiting periods and that all private sales be conducted through a licensed dealer, points to the success of universal background checks. “There are a lot of people who get denied — people who got in trouble when they were younger and thought it’d be clear or just wishing to get lucky,” he said. “Stuff gets caught left and right [in private sales].”

While the details of the new legislation — including the role of gun retailers — are being negotiated, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has begun preparing for debate and a vote on the proposal as part of a broader post-Newtown gun control package. It is expected to begin shortly after Congress returns from recess on April 8.

35 comments
wldy1005
wldy1005

"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government." -George Washington

wldy1005
wldy1005

I truley feel for these people who have lost loved ones. It is devestating to have to endure such pain. But I do not support universal background checks. I am a 26 yr old disabled women. I recently became a member of the NRA and am just trying to protect my constitutional right to bare arms. I feel like I must defend myself from my own government! The possability of universal background checks leads to a possability of a universal gun registry and is not worth the risk

mitchell
mitchell

Universal background checks are the first step towards gun registry. I'm surprised that an owner of a gun shop would be in favor of them. Just goes to show you how greed can cloud your judgment. Apparently Wes is just like his father, a greedy human being. That shop will never get another dime off of me, too bad there are a few really good guys working there that know their stuff. I'll shop on line from now on. Duke's can watch their business go down the toilet.

Paulpot
Paulpot

How can there be a discussion about gun violence without including the drug war? 

The drug war is the main cause of violence in the world today. Just end the drug war and there will be a significant decrease in gun violence.

RobertPerrotta
RobertPerrotta

Dukes has always been over priced and looking to make a buck. I am so confused about the whole background check subject. Everyonr purchasing a firearm has to submit paper work through the dealer and a background check ran with the FBI. So what is it that is really being proposed? There are laws on the books already to keep guns from the hands of criminals. Any more laws will simply male it harder for the good guys to arm them selves. The far left would rather the 2nd amendment be a privilage rather than a right. We need to fight tooth and nail to oppose these new regulations, once its done we cannot go back. It is our right to keep and bare arms, god given and in the bill of rights!! I love the whole 90% of americans agree on universal background checks and stricter gun control. As if to imply they actually asked 100% ofaall aamericans.. there is no way, they did not ask me or anyone I know. These statistics are bogus, they may mean 90% percent of the far left gum grabbers they asked!! They certaimly did not poll 100% of americans so how in gods name did they get these statistics and where? Ask questions do not regurgitate what the state run media puts out. Universal background check s mean federsl databases of gun owners, which leads to gun registration and then confiscation.  do not let these gun grabbers turn your second amendment into a privilage its your right. If the 2nd goes the rest are to follow, how would you like your freedom of speech to become a privilege,  when we let the government begins to heavily regulate our rights.. we loose them.

hatarmarknads
hatarmarknads

Well, I called back, talked to Wes Morosky himself. And yes, he is in favor of this. When I pointed out that we're unlikely to get "just a universal background check" he said "Well, I hope that doesn't happen."


To hell with you Wes, you sellout.


Chazman321
Chazman321

Duke's will do anything to make money. If you're shopping around for a gun and you try to make a deal and have a lower price from somewhere else, they'll tell you to go buy it somewhere else. They sell guns for WAY more than they pay for them. I wanted a new 1911 and the price they wanted was over $600. I found another FFL that would order it online from THE SAME SUPPLIER and it cost me $490 out the door including taxes and the background check. So it wouldn't surprise me in the least that they would happily accept all private gun sales to go through an FFL because they charge $25 to do a transfer... That's why I refuse to go back there which is sad. I used to do all of my business there to support a local shop, now I go elsewhere to shops that value a customer and not just their money.

hatarmarknads
hatarmarknads

So, I just called Duke's, the gun store highlighted in this article. I haven't spoken to Wes yet, but the manager I spoke to seems awful surprised about the statements in this article. I am guessing there's some of Time's "spin" on this. I'll update later when I get more info.

HeatherVoight
HeatherVoight

BINGO!  The "40% no background checks" FRAUD. 

The author of this propaganda just proved you can't trust anything said in it. That 40% figure is well known to be a creation of the Gun Control crowd.

Like the hack phrases "The Gun Lobby" and "Most NRA members disagree with their leadership" frauds, it was all created by and used as talking points by the usual suspects.

The Goal here is to push for "Universal Background Checks" the new code phrase for registration. Not exactly a "Background Check"you might expect, when it links your name to the gun make, serial number and REGISTERS THE DATA with the FEDS. That really creates UNIVERSAL REGISTRATION of who owns what guns. And no dissapering firearms, when the forth reich comes looking for them.

Because the untimate goal is UNIVERSAL CONFISCATIONof ALL GUNS not in the hands of the Government's Civilian Security Force. Obama's CS brown shirts.

And we were to believe this liar on anything?

riccismiles
riccismiles

“The retailer is required for all the same entries and record-keeping as if they were selling the gun,” said Lawrence Keane, the senior vice president and general counsel for NSSF. “They can be dragged into product liability lawsuits, so they’re exposed on a firearm that they didn’t sell and may not have insurance for. And there are inventory issues in states with waiting periods.” FOR THE RECORD, if the ONLY reason you or anyone else has with better gun regulations is "more work", thank you for letting us ALL KNOW you are simply a LAZY A$$ SOB. I hope people who think like this about WEAPONS are in the minority.

hmlong
hmlong

think that any sale or transfer of a weapon, ammunition, or magazine, commercial or private, should pass through an authorized, regulated gun store or dealer, through your local police department, or through a BATFE representative and the appropriate form 4473 filed.

In fact, and as the article mentions, California and Rhode Island already have universal checks in place for private sales. You just take it to a dealer, the dealer does the check and files the 4473, and you’re done.

And I say that it’s to your advantage to take it to a dealer anyway. Neutral ground, and you’re not inviting a stranger who saw your ad into your home.

Besides, what do you do if you do invite the guy into your home, run an internet-only check as some have proposed… and then find out the guy’s a felon?

More: http://www.gunfaq.org/2013/03/whats-the-problem-with-universal-background-checks/

fcs25
fcs25

Check your facts before you throw them out as gospel truth.The 40% number is from a 20 yr old report that states it is not accurate and the probable number is less than 20%.

roknsteve
roknsteve

Now I get why gun dealers don't want any regulation.  They want to freely sell guns without any liability.  "Here's your AK-47/  And whatever you shoot is not my problem". 

cent-fan
cent-fan

"The system of universal background checks envisioned on the federal level already exists in the state of California. For decades, all gun purchases have required checks against the federal database, with little incident."

"Mike Klein, an owner of a gun store called Warrior One in Riverside, Cal. where state law mandates 10-day waiting periods and that all private sales be conducted through a licensed dealer, points to the success of universal background checks. 'There are a lot of people who get denied — people who got in trouble when they were younger and thought it’d be clear or just wishing to get lucky,' he said. 'Stuff gets caught left and right [in private sales].' "

In my state I'm fairly sure my guns are on some official list on record in a database.  It only makes sense unless we think it's better to hide the fact and have an untraceable gun we can use ... in a murder?  The gun shop I've used is a tiny place but the guy who runs it fills out all the paperwork and adheres to the waiting periods.  It's a pain to be sure but if that's what it takes I don't think the general public is too panicked over it.  Of course I know one guy I work with that has 14 guns in his smallish house ... in MA no less... and he worries about his 2nd Amendment rights every day...



 

Kathleen66hebda
Kathleen66hebda

@michaelscherer :-)WHAT ABOUT GUN SHOWS ?? THAT'S WHERE THE PROBLEM IS !! DEMS GROW SOME "BALLS" LEARN TO DEAL WITHOUT GUN LOBBY DIRTY MONEY

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Background checks - the one thing in the gun control debate even most adamant second amendment defendant supports in one form or another.  The only people that don't support background checks are gun sellers and manufacturers for obvious reasons. Please, please do not throw sanity and reason out the window for "muh rights".  If you do that you are being played by people that want to sell guns to you for a profit only, they don't care about your second amendment rights one bit.

JayCaruso
JayCaruso

@EricStrobel Its worse. The “40% of all purchases” is one thing. He’s claiming 4 people can walk into an FFL shop & get a gun w/o NICS check

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

@hmlong You have a right to your opinion. However there are a couple little problems with your theory.

1. It is ridiculously easy to create your own untraceable guns. 3D printing for the frame and assembly of non-traced components for the rest.

2. There is no law preventing the above. Nor would it be enforceable of there was.

3. The federal government has no legal power authorized in the Constitution to force the issue.

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

@roknsteve Because it's not their problem? If I sell you a truck and a pile of fertilizer, am I then liable if you go and blow up a federal building? Bad people do bad things, hold them accountable and man up.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Thats not what the article said.  It was talking about private sales.

michaelscherer
michaelscherer

@Kathleen66hebda Gun show purchases would require a dealer check as well. Most likely, a dealer would be present at every gun show.

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

@DonQuixotic I don't see how that matters. My rights are my rights. Background checks are completely ineffective without registry. Registry is illegal and unenforceable. The overwhelming majority of guns in this country are not in any database and never will be.

EricStrobel
EricStrobel

@jaycaruso Yup. Really bad math. Or really bad writing. This guy is clearly NOT smarter than a 5th grader.

outsider
outsider

Thhat whole tarnishing the messenger thing.

Personally, I think the feds should be allowed to keep records.

Anything that would allow law enforcement.

If you're. That scared of the gov't knowing what you have, its probably because you have something illegal - or plan to do something illegal with it.

@bobell @fcs25

roknsteve
roknsteve

@curt3rd Funny the headline says "Gun Stores" and they interviewed gun store owners?  But I guess some goobers can't read.....

MetalMastersNC.com
MetalMastersNC.com

@michaelscherer @Kathleen66hebda Gun show purchases still require a background check through the federal NICS system when you are buying from a licensed dealer. This occurs right now! Don't let false statistics and scare tactics make you believe other wise.

outsider
outsider

And thanks for participating/responding Michael. We appreciate it.

@michaelscherer @Kathleen66hebda

Kathleen66hebda
Kathleen66hebda

@michaelscherer I thank you for the clarification ! It's just that I have personal experience with this gun stuff &it scares me. Thanks

yosef
yosef

Hey... he never said that only 60% of people who go to licensed gun dealers need to do background checks. If that was true he would have written “only 60% of gun buyers who shop at licensed gun dealers need to undergo background checks”. Meaning 60% of all gun buyers who shop at licensed gun dealers.

Instead, he wrote, “only THE 60% of gun buyers who shop at licensed gun dealers need to undergo background checks”. Clearly he means 60% of all gun buyers are defined as those who shop at licensed gun dealers. And only they need to undergo background checks.

And as he says, the 40% refers to all ppl who buy guns not at licensed dealers. 60(all purchases at licensed gun dealers)+40(all purchases NOT at licensed gun dealers)=100 (all gun purchases). That’s proper math and proper writing. Sorry.

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

@outsider2011 If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear? Where have I heard that line before?

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

@Kathleen66hebda @michaelscherer Your fear of guns is not a valid reason to strip people of the right to privacy. Same way it would be illegal to put surveillance devices in all madrasahs because of fear or terrorism.