5/99 Private Sale Background Checks: Prior Restraints on Liberty

Oppose Prior Restraints!
Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

Gun Owners of America opposes ANY requirement to impose background checks on private sales at gun shows. Honest people should not have to prove their innocence to the government before they exercise a constitutionally protected right.

Background checks at gun shows will open a very dangerous door. In succeeding years, we will hear Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer talking about the private sale “loophole” that still exists under this amendment — that is, private citizens will still be able to sell guns without a background check (say, in a home) and the above Senators will want to close that “loophole.”

One can’t have it both ways. One can’t argue that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, but then turn around and claim that background checks are not inconsistent with that right. If the two are not in conflict, then will we see background checks for journalists to make sure that libelous material is not written? Will we see background checks for preachers to make sure that future Jim Jones’s do not lead their congregation into drinking poison? Will we muzzle movie-goers to ensure they’re not likely to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater?

Indeed, if we are not willing to muzzle the First Amendment, then please don’t do it to the Second Amendment.