February 25, 2021

Universal Background Checks and Your Privacy

The prospect of the duo of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris being sworn-in on January 20th does not bode well for American gun owners. Nor does the U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia on January 5th, 2021. If the two Democrat candidates prevail, then, with Kamala Harris available to break any tie votes, the entire Democrat agenda could be ramrodded through Congress.  (Per the Constitution, as Vice President, Harris would also be the titular President of The Senate.) Democrat control of the Senate is a frightening prospect. In addition to new immigration, tax, student loan payoff, and post-post-post-post facto slavery reparation legislation, the Democrats will surely do their best to enact a raft of anti-gun ownership laws. They are almost too many to list. In a video from TGC News, Jon Patton summarized Biden’s Anti-Gun Plans.

Sneaky, Snaky Words

The new administration’s top two gun-grabbing priorities will almost certainly be an “assault” rifle/magazine ban and what they relentlessly and euphemistically call Universal Background Checks (UBC). The latter should more accurately be called a private party sales ban. That is what it would really accomplish: an end to firearms purchasing privacy, for sales of used guns between two citizens of the same state.

One of the things that I’ve noticed about statists and globalists is that they spend a lot of time devising subtle and devious terminology.  Their goal is to make truly sinister plans sound innocuous and oftentimes downright warm and fuzzy.  The phrase “Universal Background Checks” just about pegs the Warm and Fuzzy Meter. Given what it really means, I have to give credit to the gun grabbers for their clever terminology. These minions of The Serpent really have their Propaganda Terminology Teams working with precision. Just pause and consider each of these now widely-adopted terms and phrases:

  • “Earth Friendly”
  • “Spending Cuts”
  • “Black Lives Matter”
  • “Assault Weapons Ban”
  • “Undocumented Immigrants”
  • “Affordable Care”
  • “Carbon Neutral”
  • “Universal Background Checks”

These are all sneaky and snaky propaganda terms that were designed to conceal the real intent of the leftists. The mass media and corporate hacks repeat these weasel-worded phrases endlessly like mantras until they become ubiquitous and proliferate throughout popular culture. Just a few days ago, I received a package tracking e-mail from UPS, and it had a green “CARBON NEUTRAL SHIPMENT” banner across the top of the page. Seeing that phrase adopted by UPS made me feel vaguely ill. This is nothing more than virtue signaling — to gain the approval of leftists. All very subtle, and all too sinister.

H.R. 8 — a UBC bill — was passed in the Democrat-dominated U.S. House, in 2019. But thankfully its Senate equivalent bill failed.  Apparently, a majority of the Senators had the wisdom to see through the Democrat smokescreen of “Universal Background Checks”.  They could see that it was really just Universal Shackles, for Americans.

Interstate Versus Intrastate

Supreme CourtAny Federal UBC private transfer ban law would be a gross overreach of the Commerce Clause, which limits Federal jurisdiction to regulation of interstate commerce.  Intrastate commerce should of course be entirely outside of Federal control, but the courts have stretched it to include intrastate commerce with a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce.  The key cases for that expansion were United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100 (1941), Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), and United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters, 322 U.S. 533 (1944). The Supreme Court had recently been bolstered with liberal  FDR appointee William O. Douglas and newly-elevated Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone. In the early 1940s the increasingly statist court apparently suffered severe combined fits of “The New Deal Must Be Preserved” and “Don’tcha know there’s a war on?” angst. This wartime Supreme Court was wickedly statist as they stretched the Commerce Clause to absurd proportions that were grossly beyond the Founding Fathers’ intent. In the notorious Wickard v. Filburn case, the court preposterously held that a farmer holding back some grain that he’d grown to feed his own livestock somehow violated a Federal interstate wheat marketing quota law. The court’s convoluted reasoning was that by not selling that part of his wheat into the interstate market that this farmer had somehow indirectly forced some fancifully-presumed buyer to then source wheat from someone else, across state lines!

Thankfully, in more recent years, the Supreme Court has become substantially less statist on the interstate commerce issue.  Most notably, the 2019 Tennessee Wine Aand Spirits Retailers Assn. v. Russell F. Thomas ,18-96, 587 U.S. ___, (2019) decision shows that the court no longer approves sweeping laws that enlarge Federal power, relying on the Commerce Clause. But it may be years before the Supremes take up another Second Amendment case that will fully rein in the Executive Branch’s outrageous overreach via the Commerce Clause.

Just Like California

Presently, private party intrastate secondary sales of guns are legal in about 34 states. In these states, you can buy a gun from a local classified ad or from a private party seller at a gun show and just walk home with it. But enactment of a Federal UBC private party transfer ban law would effectively make the entire nation just like California. There, all modern guns have to be transferred through Federally licensed dealers, complete with a National; Instant Check System (NICS) background check blessing from the FBI. In California there is no more private party gun acquisition privacy.

For any new Federal UBC private party transfer ban law, I believe that the current Supreme Court will eventually find that someone selling a used gun to their neighbor would be an entirely intrastate transaction.  But that would of course have to await a test case and multiple appeals court rulings before reaching the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court is notorious for only rarely taking up any Second Amendment cases.

Here is some ground truth: Casual private party intrastate sales with no FFL dealer involved are essentially the last bastion of true firearms freedom in the United States. Without this freedom of intrastate private commerce that we’ve enjoyed since the nation’s founding, gun ownership would become transparent rather than opaque. And it is the opacity of widespread gun ownership that makes the tyrannical rule almost impossible. Among other things, the passage of a federal UBC law would mean that gun shows would never be the same. They’d be more like those pathetic gun shows in Europe, where you can go look at guns, but you can’t buy them and take them home.

The logical extension of any UBC private party transfer ban law will be the leftist claim that “people are cheating” and continuing to sell guns privately, without going through dealers. The only way to stop this, they’ll say, would be nationwide gun registration. They aren’t calling for it yet. But I predict that just a few weeks after a Federal UBC law is passed, they surely will!

My conclusion is that UBC private transfer ban laws are something to absolutely dread.

“Lighten Up, Francis”

During the final months of his 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised to make Francis “Beto” O’Rourke his Gun Czar. This is the same Francis that promised to take my AR-15. Francis wants to impose a mandatory “Buy Back” (read: confiscation) of detachable magazine semi-auto rifles. But, logically, the government cannot “buy back” something that it never owned. And Ironically, any such buy-up program would be funded by our own tax dollars. Such an affront would come close to the Nazis forcing Jews to buy their own train tickets to the extermination camps. Yes, in the early stages of The Final Solution, that really did happen.

If Francis “Beto” O’Rourke does indeed become Biden’s Gun Czar, then Lord help us. He will surely do his best to encourage congress to pass anti-gun bills. And almost certainly Beto will draft executive orders that will unconstitutionally expand Executive Branch control of gun ownership and carry.  There is also a very high likelihood that the excitable Prince Francis, Master Beto, Overlord and Gun Ownership Inquisitor of The Realm(TM) will draft executive orders that will restrict the importation of most firearms, gun parts, ammunition, and gun accessories. We can count on it.

I also predict that Prince Francis will maneuver to make ammunition sales also require a background check. This would again mirror legislation that is now in effect in California. (Oh, and California legislators are attempting to do the same, for  “precursor” gun parts. We can probably add that to Beto’s list of goals.)

A UBC private party transfer ban is a key part of what the Biden/Harris/O’Rouke cabal have planned. Their general goal is to disarm us, piece by piece. We cannot allow that to happen!

Pre-1899 Freedom

Any new Federal UBC law will probably be an almost word-for-word clone of the failed H.R. 8. That bill was an expansion of Section 922 of Title 18, United States Code. Like almost all other Federal firearms laws, section 922 refers to the Federal definition of “firearm” found in section 921. That section states:

“The term “firearm” means (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.”

That last bit refers to the “antique” definition found in 18 USC § 921(a)(16). Thankfully, this definition excludes any gun with a receiver or frame made in or before 1898. (Commonly called a “Pre-1899” gun, or sometimes mistakenly called a “Pre-1898” gun.)

So, the only exceptions to the planned Federal UBC private party gun transfer ban will be:

  • Air rifles and air pistols,
  • Muzzleloaders,
  • and any antique guns.

It is pre-1899 cartridge guns that most interest me, because many of them are repeater designs capable of fairly rapid fire. (That is: Lever, pump, and bolt action repeaters.) Many of them are quite accurate and capable of dropping a deer — or in extremis, a man — just like modern guns. In contrast, muzzleloaders are mostly single-shot guns that  can take up to 30 seconds between shots, to reload. In retrospect, I’m glad that I launched Elk Creek Company, in February, of 2020. My timing of that launch was unintentional, but it turned out to be propitiously perfect.

S&W Top Break RevolverGiven the likelihood of passage of a Federal UBC law, I encourage my readers to buy a few pre-1899 cartridge guns, as a hedge. With a Federal UBC law, and a Federal “assault weapons” and magazine ban now on the horizon, pre-1899 antiques are very likely to double or even triple in value in the next two years. And they may turn out to be the only guns that you can safely take to the range, or for hunting, or even for self-defense.  (That is, assuming that you have to make your other guns temporarily disappear.)

Help Stop the UBC Law!

I also strongly encourage SurvivalBlog readers to do everything that you can to stop the coming deluge of Biden/Harris/O’Rouke anti-gun measures.  Please contact your congressman and senators repeatedly, through multiple channels: phone calls, e-mails, faxes, and snail-mail letters. Please mark your calendar to contact them monthly. Keep the pressure up, folks! – JWR

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