A Background Check Law That Will Work

Friday, 10 May 2013 09:40 AM

By Michael Reagan

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After giving it a great deal of thought, I have finally decided to support expanded background checks. I know that for some this is a very controversial policy that steps on rights and gives government a bigger footprint in the marketplace. But in light of the problem we face today, it just makes sense.

Establishing a national database for background checks on cellphones deserves our support because it is a policy that will actually have a positive impact on the problem. The fact it comes from D.C. is a bonus.

The cellphone background check provides a sharp contrast with the last hyped proposal regarding expanded background checks for gun purchases, which I don’t support and which deserved its defeat in the Senate.

Last year in Washington, D.C., a record 1,829 cellphones were stolen. In New York the figure is 4,000 iPhones alone. Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier is working with the Federal Communications Commission to establish a national database of stolen phones. When a phone is snatched, the owner would call his service provider and notify them of the theft.  

If a thief sold the phone and the new “owner” tried to activate it, the service provider would check the serial number against the database. If the phone shows up as being stolen, no service would be provided and the new “owner” would be the proud possessor of a plastic brick.

If thieves knew a stolen phone could not be activated, there would be less motivation to steal one. Soon the word gets out and shoppers who prefer buying out of some guy's trunk to paying retail would decide a bargain that doesn’t even pick up a call is no bargain at all.

Problem is on the way to being solved.

Compare that with the latest gun control legislation. The expanded background checks that Joe ‘Shotgun’ Biden demanded after the shooting at Sandy Hook would do nothing to prevent Sandy Hooks in the future, because the shooter didn’t buy the guns. The problem was an irresponsible owner and a mentally ill son who had access to the weapons.

What’s more, the feds don’t enforce the background check law currently on the books. There’s essentially no penalty for lying on an application because no one follows up on a rejected application.

Lack of enforcement and lack of relevance were the reasons 2nd Amendment defenders were suspicious of the proposal. The cure had nothing to do with the disease, but would be a nifty way — after a couple of amendments — to start banning all private gun sales in the future. These expanded background checks would only be a start, regardless of what gun control advocates say.

Allowing teachers and administrators — after training — to carry guns, and a comprehensive effort to include mental health information in the existing background check database would make sense and would have an effect on the problem of school shootings.

So bring on expanded background checks for cellphones, a D.C. policy that will finally make a positive difference.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Click Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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