A universal background check

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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In his Dec. 18 One View (Stereotypes in the gun violence discussions, Viewpoints, Dec. 18], John Erickson promised he would give us a proposal to keep guns away from "criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, children and the suicidal." Because of this promise, it was with considerable interest that I read his follow up article in the Jan. 1 edition [It's the shooter not the gun, Viewpoints].

In that article, John proposes an expansion of the types of people who would be prohibited from possessing a gun and making that information on these "potential shooters" available to the authorities. Without commenting on the latitude of his prohibitions, I would like to point out that what he is proposing is a background check on every potential gun owner in order to exclude those who are prohibited from possession.  He also said that this approach "would be extendable nationally." So he is proposing a universal background check on all potential gun owners in the entire nation. If I understand John correctly, under his proposal everyone in the entire nation would undergo a background check before they could acquire a gun. 

Congratulations, John. On this point, we are finally in agreement. 

On a national level currently, only federally licensed gun dealers are required to perform this check. There is a national loophole that allows sales at gun shows and private sales without such a check. All we ask is that this loophole be closed and that all potential gun owners require such a check.

John refers to the current "functioning" Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) currently in operation in the state of Illinois. That system requires a background check when ownership of the gun is transferred to another person. We both seem to agree that such a system should be implemented nationally.

Now all John has to do is to get the other members of the gun rights side of the Gun Rights and Responsibilities Committee to agree to his suggested universal background checks.

I look forward to that happening with more than considerable interest.

John Barrett, M.D.

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2014 10:22 AM

Does a firearm about to be transferred need to be tested to ascertain the firearm is in working order, thus a firearm? Who conducts the test?Where is the test conducted?How is the test documented?If the firearm arm does not fire,is the , person or whatever the object now subject to a universal back round check? What about parts of a firearm? My 9MM glock comes apart in 4 parts. Suppose I sell each part separately? Is that a transfer subject to a UBRC?I support UBRC in principle.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2014 9:30 AM

Will there be a witness to the transfer?Will the transfer be notarized? Sworn to? What are the sanctions?Does a transfer include someone borrowing or using my firearm at a range for say six hours?Eight hours ?24 hours?What if the firearm never leaves my sight?What if the firearm leaves my sight?Do police departments have to report a transfer of a firearm if they take a firearm in custody?Why or why not?How do you record forcible transfers?I support universal back round checks in principle.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2014 9:16 AM

Who has access to the information?Why do they need access to the information. s a search warrant needed?Is a FOIA request needed?Is their notification to all parties in the transfer that someone is interested in the transaction?Can giving out information of the transaction be blocked by either parties?What are the grievance procedures for any disputes?If a firearm has no serial numbers must the firearm be engraved w/ a number? Who pays for that?I stand w/you in principle.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2014 9:07 AM

What about loaned firearms? I want to loan my Glock to a new police officer. What then?I want my daughter to have my firearm upon my death? Do I pay if my firearm is loaned to a new police officer?Is their a property tax? Will the unknown agency accept copies of original forms? How about transportation of the firearm to and from the transfer sight?How do you verify the identity of the person giving and taking the firearm?What about corporate transfers?I support you in principle.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2014 8:59 AM

Fine. Implement you idea of universal backround checks? Which agency will oversee the operation? Have you contacted that agency to ascertain if they want the work?How will the records be kept? Where will the records be kept? Where will the back up records be kept?Who will verify each transaction?What do you do with firearms that have no serial numbers?What is a timely fashion? What are any of the time frames? Will the firearms be photographed?What questions will be asked on the form?

John Barrett from Oak Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 10:21 PM

This is great news. It seems as if at least two of the Rights Side are now in favor of the concept of Universal Background Checks. With regards to how the national checks would be conducted an easy and simple way would be to subject every purchase, or transfer of ownership, of a weapon to the same background check -the federally mandated background check - that the first owner of the weapon underwent. I am open to other ideas.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 7:24 AM

Ken also posts, and you agree w/"I know-I know the devil is in the details" I stand with you, now tell me how exactly you two plan to implement this? Remember your promise not to interfere w/ legal gun owners.Are you two going to go out of state on speaking engagements?What is your agenda?Will you travel to Alaska?Which agency will handle the asignment?What is the grievance procedure?What is the budget?Who pays how much and why?I stand w/Dr. Barrett in principle. Now what.Devil in the details.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 7:15 AM

Speaking only for myself as a gun owner, because gun owners will not submit to one voice or thought. The HonorableDr. Barrett and Ken Trainor speak as one voice on universal backround checks. I accept Kens and your position as stated in the editorial"Will the real Ray simpson show up"Ken who speaks for you posts" were asking you to accept-in principle only-mind you a universal system of back round checks consistent across the country on all firearms purchased or transferred".

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