News From Terre Haute, Indiana


March 4, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: March 4, 2013

Don’t waste money on duplicate checks

I am a national and world-class competitor in handgun shooting, and a certified 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor. As a law-abiding citizen, sport shooter, and defender of my family, I support law enforcement and legitimate concerns in keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable. While the public is generally in favor of a universal background check, my concern is the actual implementation.

What will the process be? Is there a fee? Will a third party licensed dealer be required? Will the background check include the make, model and serial number of the firearm? If so, is this background check about the individual, or actually about gun registration? Does this background check only duplicate another? These questions should be answered before laws are enacted.

As a concealed carry permit holder, I’ve been approved by local and state police after their background checks, which includes full-set fingerprinting. Many of my shooting friends and competitors have undergone similar state approval. Why would we need to waste taxpayer-funded resources to duplicate the background check (already approved by Indiana State Police) to transfer a firearm from one concealed carry permit holder to another?

There has been no discussion of background check implementation other than going through a dealer who typically charges a fee. I currently can sell a firearm to a competitor who lives elsewhere in Indiana, and the transaction can take place when we shoot together at public matches. To require me to ship a gun to his local dealer ($20-$40) and then pay a dealer transaction fee ($20-$30) only adds cost and burden to Indiana citizens already approved for gun carry by the state.

After burdening law-abiding citizens with $40-$70 in fees, what is the net gain? This transaction is between two people who both have prior approval by the state to carry a firearm. Since both parties already have this approval, there is no criminal involvement, we’re not reducing the crime rate, nor are we keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Society gains nothing. The only effect of duplicate background checks is charging law-abiding citizens a fee for a service that has already been rendered. If this background check proves no purpose, why enact it?

When considering such legislation, those of us who already have state approval for concealed carry should be allowed waiver from the useless duplicity. Permit holders are the folks that seek compliance with the law, not the criminals that disregard it.

— Rich Hawkins

Terre Haute

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