Manchin-Toomey is gun registration: "Background gun-check records are saved."

by Alan Korwin

The so-called "background check" bill is really about gun registration -- ultimate and imminent registration of every gun and gun owner in America.

The mandatory paper records are saved -- nobody denies that.
Federal agents use those all the time.

The electronic records have virtually no controls on them.
They go into a system designed as a recording device.
This bill vastly expands the electronic records federal agents will collect.


Read the bottom of page 27 of the bill* (below at the asterisk, read it, it's killer, very short) and you tell me if you think that language stops the federal government from recording, storing, collating, compiling, distributing, securing, retrieving, integrating, merging, using or... backing up its records forever. It doesn't. Show me an audit trail. You can't. It's not there.

It doesn't even limit the FBI or BATFE in this regard. It only restricts gun dealers and gun owners. It is a complete farce.

Show me where they can't go around and just use all the Form 4473 gun-registration papers you fill out that every dealer must permanently keep -- as they are doing right now and have been doing for years. You can't. This bill allows the federal government to do almost anything it wants with records of you and your firearms, and massively expands the records it can collect -- even though it can't collect absolutely every record at this time, yet.

Failure to give them all the records they currently demand under this bill, even by accident (and there are plenty of easy ways to innocently make an error), would put you in prison. The 15-year prison term they threw in for creating a federal registry is a meaningless smokescreen.

The bill requires you to get a background check to buy firearms from people you meet at a gun show, but doesn't require anyone to do a background check just because you want one. Dealers would have plenty of reasons not to do such a check -- like having paying customers, liability, fee caps, and pressure from a sometimes rogue federal agency like BATFE. That would mean the end of freedom at gun shows. This is something Sen. John McCain has been working on for more than a decade. McCain was quoted by the Associated Press today as "very favorably disposed" to this Manchin-Toomey-Schumer gun-infringement bill (meaning he likes it). This bill is totally unacceptable.

And what's that bit at the end of that section that says medical- and health-insurance-company owned guns are exempt? Say what? Where's the media on that? I'll do a more detailed report on this soon. Or someone should -- who's planning what that got that in there?

The bill offers gun owners some trinkets -- "sweeteners" they're called. Like being able to buy a firearm in any state you are in, not just your state of residence. That would remove a grotesque infringement in place since the 1968 Gun Control Act. It was apparently squeezed in there by a gun-rights group ( now taking a lot of heat for cooperating with the anti-rights bigots. That's a good trinket, true, and I might accept that -- but only as a stand-alone bill, certainly never as a condition for gun registration.

Do you think the gun grabbers would go for that? They only accepted Retail Freedom to get their tyranny enacted. There are other "sweeteners," like restoration of rights, and other things America should have -- but only as stand-alone bills, never as bait to allow gun registration. Manchin-Toomey-Schumer must be rejected outright. The idea of making tyranny acceptable by offering trinkets is absurd and must be killed.

It's far more important to look at the underpinning of this scheme, the story behind the story the public loudspeaker omits entirely.

Why are we even having this discussion? Because a madman killed children in a kindergarten in a corner of the nation. That's really the only reason.

This led Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, and the president of the United States to begin a campaign to ban certain firearms we own by brand name and looks, our ammunition magazines by size, to restrict public gun shows, and introduce gun registration and background checks on all innocent Americans as a response. They are dancing in the blood of victims, to advance a monstrous agenda, a game they have played for decades.

They can call it background checks all they want.
It's about gun registration (and other illegal infringements).

And gun registration itself is a false flag,
and the media doesn't know that.
Most of the public doesn't either.

Think -- A gun list would not have saved or solved any of the mass killings that have ignited these law-writing frenzies, right? Right. In no way whatsoever. So what do we need? At last, the right question.

The real problem with gun registration.

Only one thing is overlooked in the common-sense proposals to register guns, so here it is. How exactly would writing down my name, or your name, help arrest criminals or make you safer? Although at first blush, gun listing has a sort of tantalizing appeal, on reflection you have to wonder whether gun lists would be an instrument of crime control at all.

The unfortunate answer is that, no matter how good it feels when the words first pass your ears, registering honest gun owners doesn't stop criminals, and in fact focuses in exactly the opposite direction. It is an allocation of resources that has no chance of achieving its goal, if that goal is the reduction of crime.

1. Registering 100 million Americans is extremely expensive -- and omits the criminals and crazies.

Do you know what it takes to run a database that big? You need 27,000 changes daily, just to keep up with people who move every ten years. Floor after floor of cubicle after cubicle for employees with permanent jobs, payroll, parking and dry cleaning bills. It's a government jobs program all by itself, all in the common sense -- but deceptive name -- of stopping crime.

How many criminals and crazies do you figure will register when all is said and done? That's right, none, and the planners know that, but the media never mentions it. All that money and time is invested on tracking the innocent. That's why so many police departments are against it -- they'll be forced to run huge data centers with their limited resources, and hire clerks instead of cops. And make all that data on us available to central command at the FBI. It makes even them nervous. And that's not crime fighting. Canada just scrapped their registry as a worthless paper trail on the public (after wasting $2 billion on it).

2. Americans who fail to register property they already own would become felons without committing a crime.

Under registration, property and activity that has been perfectly legal since inception makes you a felon. Think about that. Possession of private property would subject you to felony arrest, if the property isn't on the government's master list... every single piece you own, and for many Americans, it's a collection. This is not the American way -- it is something else with a very ugly name. The agency in charge (BATFE) is infamous for busts on minor paperwork errors (and worse). No other evil is needed, there is no victim and no inherent criminal act takes place. Paperwork equals prison. That's just wrong. Why are we even thinking of this? Why doesn't the media point out any of this? Who are these people?

3. Registration, if enacted, will create an underground market for unregistered guns bigger than the drug trade.

How many times must an elite forbid what the public wants, before learning the unintended consequences of outlawing liberties? People get their freedom either way, it's just a question of how much crime the government itself forces to accompany it. With respect to guns, the last thing you want to encourage is the creative import programs and price supports that drug dealers enjoy, for gun runners.

4. People have said to me, "But Alan, if all guns were registered and there was a crime, then you could tell."

Tell what? If your neighbor is shot, that's not probable cause for a house-to-house search of every armed home in a ten-mile radius. (Can you imagine if police had power to do that?) The evidence needed to conclusively link a person to a crime has no connection at all to a registration scheme -- you need motive, opportunity, witnesses, physical evidence, the murder weapon. Police aren't waiting for official lists so they can start catching murderers, right? Gun-registration schemes lack a crime-prevention component. Think -- A gun list wouldn't have saved or solved any of the mass killings that have ignited these law-writing frenzies, right? Right. So what do we need? At last, the right question.

5. You don't really think authorities would use gun registration lists to confiscate weapons from people, do you?

Despite real-life examples of exactly that recently in New York, California and Louisiana, and global history for the past century, this couldn't really happen, do you think? Who would even support such a thing in a country like America, with its Bill of Rights? The guarantees against confiscating property, unwarranted seizures and the right to keep and bear arms would surely forestall any such abuse of power. Are there really U.S. politician who would support firearm seizures? (Even if you drink Kool-Aid you know it's a long list of usual suspects.)

So what about the so-called First Amendment test? If it's OK for arms it should pass muster for words too. Why would an honest writer object to being registered on the government list of approved writers? Why indeed. Many journalists have a hard time with that question. (Be sure to report to authorities when you move.)

Pile logic on logic, some people just feel the government should register everything, just to keep control. When government has that much control, you no longer possess your liberties. You're living where government lists define who can do what, and where people control trumps crime control -- the gun registration model precisely. This form of "gun control" isn't about guns, it's about control.

I might consider registration if the system would include criminals. In fact, I might consider testing the system on them first. But that's illegal.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a widely known case (Haynes v. U.S., 1968), had determined that a felon who has a gun cannot be compelled to complete the forms, because it violates the Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. That's right, mandatory registration -- not in your case of course but in the case of a criminal, who can't have a gun in the first place -- is self-indictment of a crime, and is therefore prohibited. (see NOTE at end)

Gun listing is a feel-good deception that passes unquestioned by the "news" media and representatives who support such legislation, engorges the federal or state bureaucracy, and undercuts the linchpins of American freedoms. It has no more place in a free society than a government authorized list of words, and should be rejected outright. Elected officials who promote such a scheme are opposing the very Constitution they take an oath to preserve, protect and defend, and deserve to be removed from office.

This portion of the Manchin-Toomey-Schumer amendment, i.e., all the additional use of the NICS system, at the very least, is defective and must be stripped. As you'll see when I get to it, most of the rest of the bill is no better.

The fact that some gun-rights trinkets have been tossed in as sweeteners only means those items might be worth enacting, without all the attached infringements. Gun purchases outside our home states, for example, is a long overdue rights restoration worthy of passage.

Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America

NOTE: Haynes only concerned a limited class of weapons called "destructive devices," which are listed and tracked in a special federal registry under the National Firearms Act. Congress rewrote that law after Haynes to require only the legal transferor, and not the transferee, of such devices to file papers, and along with other clever changes believed it solved the 5th Amendment Haynes "problem." In U.S. v. Freed, 1971, the Court agreed the problem had been fixed (for possession of hand grenades by criminals in that particular case).

A general registration scheme would run into greater difficulty. A prohibited possessor cannot have a firearm at all, so mere possession is a serious crime. An additional charge for failing to register the gun that can't be possessed would offend the 5th Amendment the same as in the Haynes case. However, possession of an unregistered gun by an ordinary citizen would turn that citizen into a felon, with no other illegal act but the paperwork failure. The innocent would have to register to remain legal, the illegal possessor could not register without violating the right to not incriminate yourself.

*P.S. The only thing the feds propose banning themselves from doing in the Manchin-Toomey-Schumer gun-registration bill is to "consolidate" or "centralize" records. Any other activity is unaffected. Only the Attorney General is restricted. Only gun dealers and gun owners are restricted, the FBI and BATFE are not even mentioned. Statutory bans on gun registration in other bills (the Brady bill in 1994 and 1998, and the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986) have been ignored with no repercussions. It's a complete and total joke. Any reporter who would read it would know this.

Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
"(m) The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the—
"(1) acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by—
"(A) a person with a valid, current license under this chapter;
"(B) an unlicensed transferor under section 922(t); or
"(2) possession or ownership of a firearm, maintained by any medical or health insurance entity.".

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.