At this moment thousands of your voting constituents are receiving alerts from national pro-gun groups urging you to oppose so-called "universal background check" proposals.
I am writing to you to urge you to join them, by signing on to the letter to the Speaker from myself and Congressman Paul Broun, which is below this message, in opposition to such legislation.
The so-called "universal background check" would be a violation of a Constitutionally-guaranteed right on an unprecedented scale. It does virtually nothing to stop crime -- or mass shootings -- as most perpetrators of these heinous acts had no criminal or disqualifying mental health record.
A "universal background check" also erects tremendous obstacles for law-abiding citizens seeking to engage in lawful commerce. The Brady system frequently breaks down -- for example, shutting off all purchases on Black Friday. And many sellers in rural areas would find it a great hardship to travel many miles, accompanied by their purchasers, in order to make a sale in a licensed dealer's place of business.
The NRA, GOA and other gun groups have made available a substantial amount of research on the dangers of universal background checks, which we would be happy to pass along.
The Stockman-Broun letter to Speaker Boehner may be found below.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Dear Speaker Boehner,
We are writing to express our strong opposition to legislation requiring private sale background checks for firearms purchases.
The so-called "universal background check" system would be a violation of Constitutionally-guaranteed rights on an unprecedented scale. The principle that no person can purchase or sell a firearm without first receiving government permission transforms the Second Amendment from a "right" that should be protected by the government into a privilege granted by the government.
In addition to constitutional concerns, even if every private transfer of firearms were regulated by the federal government, it would not be an effective crime fighting tool. Typically, shooters steal firearms (Adam Lanza), pass a background check (James Holmes and Jared Loughner) or receive their firearms through straw purchasers (which is already illegal).
Such a law would apply to transfers between family members, friends and neighbors, who would be required to seek out a federally licensed gun dealer to facilitate the transaction. Many sellers in very rural areas would find it a great hardship to travel many miles, accompanied by their purchasers, in order to make a sale in a licensed dealer's place of business. And many small dealers are closed on weekends and holidays. Will the people's right to transfer lawfully owned products be valid only during working hours?
We are also very concerned about the potential for official misuse and gun owner registration, as the BATFE is increasingly copying the contents of gun dealers' 4473 forms.
Universal background check legislation is also opposed by the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, the National Association for Gun Rights, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and other national and state level pro-Second Amendment organization.
Therefore, under the precedents and traditions of the House, we would ask that no gun legislation be brought to the floor of the House unless it has the support of a majority of our caucus.