Recently Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced he wants to establish a requirement for background checks for firearm sales between private parties. He labeled this “stranger to stranger” sales indicating it would not affect transfers of ownership to family or friends.

His suggestion is for the seller to go to an FFL, complete a form to have the buyer’s background checked to verify no prohibition of gun ownership in order to prevent such persons from obtaining firearms.

I suppose he is referencing ATF Form 4473 for a firearm transaction record.

It seems obvious that if this does not require some system of comprehensively registering and tracking all gun ownership and sales from this point forward it will fail to be a preventive measure.

How does an agency regulate compliance with a law, in this case a background check, without a record of all guns owned and by whom?

But I will just address his suggestion. How long do you have to know someone to classify them as a “friend” and to avoid the requirement for the background check?

If not long enough, who will keep the record of the background check and for how long?

Will the FFL have to conduct a background check on the seller in order to avoid being implicated in a prohibited transfer?

(I am sure a person that can’t legally own a firearm probably wouldn’t comply, but I am also sure the FFL would have to protect themselves and make no assumption in that regard.)

How cost prohibitive will this be, and will there be an established fee schedule for the background check?

The background form includes personal identification data to avoid misidentification. What assurance does a buyer have against identity fraud? How does this prevent a straw purchase? In other words, the firearm is bought by someone who can pass a background check but that person will provide it to someone who can’t legally possess it.

This does not appear to be a solution.

Tomalea Bench


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