Originally Posted by mr. tegu
I have been trying to make this point as well. But no one, or very few people are even interested in actually engaging in conversation. I have been trying to on this subject but it just doesn't work. If you say anything, anything at all, even something so reasonable as to require background checks for all sales at gun shows, you will be met with personal attacks and be considered an "anti-gun nut" who wants nothing more than to get rid of all guns. For so many people it is too black and white.
I haven't read much of this thread, so if something happened earlier that puts this in more context, then please forgive my ignorance. I'm going to make some assumptions (a couple of dangerous ones), and when use "you" I really mean "advocate of forcing individuals to perform background check).
But let me try to give you some insight on why what you think is a perfectly reasonable position is treated with disdain by people on my side of the gun control argument.
1. The very first impression I get when I hear about this policy position is that you have never been to a gun show and don't know how they operate. I don't know what your hobby is, but I'm pretty sure I've never told you how it should work. Particularly from a position of complete ignorance.
A. FFL's (professional gun dealers) are required to perform the NICS check at gun shows, just like normally. Private sellers are not. Frankly, because private sellers do not have access to the NICS database (the gun dealers are calling an agency and have to provide a PIN number). It is worth noting that FFL dealers make the overwhelming vast majority of sales at gun shows.
B. Private sellers are not required to do a "background check" (which isn't what an NICS check really is anyway) any time, it isn't just something that happens at gun shows, which has been described ad nauseum.
2. You almost certainly haven't thought through the consequences of requiring those checks between private sellers. Probably because you have never been through the process, or sold a gun.
A. They would crush the value of many used guns. Most guns in private collections are probably worth somewhere between $250 and $1000. The ultimate effect of requiring the NICS check effectively means that all used guns have to be sold through an FFL either as a dealer (they buy the used guns and then sell them to someone else) or as a broker (they take possession, fill out the paper work, do the NICS and then transfer). FFL's do not provide that service for free. Most charge in the neighborhood of $25 to $50, many charge much more, particularly to be a broker between private parties (it is difficult to explain why, but if interested I will later). So, you have effectively reduced the value of used firearms by at least that much. Additionally, many people actually desire used guns more, because they are paranoid and don't want to fill out the 4473 forms. Used guns have traditionally held their value very well, and often only sell for $50 or so less than the same gun, new in the box. Well, if you start adding transfer fees, suddenly the bottom starts dropping out of that market. Keep in mind that FFL's have an effective monopoly. I'm also confident that you do not want to liberalize requirements to become an FFL.
B. The idea is particularly dumb at a gun show because of the nature of the market place.
When you sell something to someone at a gun show, it is a chance encounter. You have a rifle slung on your back with a homemade flag sticking out of the barrel with the price on it. Somebody that you don't know, is looking for that rifle. You happen to cross paths. If you manage to work out an acceptable price and are now forced to take the gun to an FFL dealer to do a NICS check, there are lots of potential problems, not the least of which is agreeing on which FFL to take it to. But assuming that gets worked out the NICS itself creates problems. Almost everyone I know that legally owns guns has at sometime been DENIED by NICS, not because they should be denied, but because they share a name with a criminal, or (conspiratorially) they bought too many guns this months, or because there is an unpaid traffic ticket, or just because NICS is unreliable as hell. Now you have a problem. You lost your sale, even though the buyer is legally eligible. But its even worse if it comes back as the more common "HOLD." The federal government has 3 days to complete the check. Meanwhile, the FFL that you have no relationship with is stuck holding on to the firearm. The seller can't get it back yet. The buyer can't leave with it.
C. The NICS system could be used as a backdoor to effectively keep people from legally purchasing firearms. It isn't as far fetched as you might think, considering there are thousands of people in this country that can't fly now because their parents named them Ahmed. Or John Smith. It certainly isn't inconceivable that NICS could start charging a lot of money to "administer" the operation. And since it is administered by an Executive Agency, it could do an awful lot of damage to gun owners quickly, and without much in the way of due process or political process in Congress.
3. It is a solution in search of a problem that always gets dragged up, even when it seemingly bears no relation to whatever tragedy sparked the discussion.
Holmes didn't buy guns at a gun show. He in fact passed the exact same NICS check on multiple occasions that advocates think is going to fix the "problem."
Because of the lack of a causal link, and the fact that we have been hearing about this "solution" anytime a gun is used in a crime anywhere, we feel like the argument is a red herring that is used in bad faith. Its irritating. It is a law that would make my property worth less and make things harder on me, to seemingly stop a problem that doesn't exist, solely to give you peace of mind.
I don't think its that difficult to understand why that engenders resentment from even reasonable people. Then add in that there are also a lot of right wing nuts that like guns a lot that think this is part of a broader attack on their way of life. Then put it on the internet where everyone is a dick to each other.