President Barack Obama’s appeal to increase gun control may require private gun sellers to have a license and to process background checks for potential buyers.
The White House said in its recent press release that anyone who is in the “business of selling firearms” must act according to these new rules or face criminal penalties.
There is currently no set number of gun sales or frequency of sales that constitutes being in the “business of selling firearms.”
Gun salesman Glenn Hart said it is like driving on a highway with no speed limit signs. If one goes too fast, one gets a ticket without knowing what the speed limit is.
However, violating regulations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can incite up to five years of jail-time according to a release from the White House.
Hart was a firefighter for the Provo Fire Department for 30 years and considers himself someone who takes public safety seriously.
Obama has also pushed that all businesses and individuals will be required to process background checks before selling guns, including at gun shows and on the Internet. This process is expected to be eased by an improved background-check system. A license may also be required to process these gun transactions, on top of the background check process, even for private individuals. Obama offered that these rules will go into effect through the use of 230 more examiners and other employees.
Licensed gun dealers and businesses are already required to process background checks at gun shows and ATF conducts according to strict guidelines already.
“Most people don’t get that, for the most part, the laws are already in place,” Hart said.
Hart is currently a part-time salesman at Good Guys Guns and Range in Orem and an NRA-certified basic pistol instructor. Hart believes that even in private transactions, these changes won’t deter some from selling their guns.
“He (Obama) put the proposals out and will kind of leave it up to ATF to decide how they want to regulate that,” Hart said.
In a recent poll conducted by CNN and ORC International, the background checks were supported by a majority. In a similar poll, 10 percent more Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling gun policy than those that approve.
Local Provo and Orem gun stores had high traffic on Jan. 9, the Saturday after Obama’s speech. Customers were lining up to buy guns and to use the gun ranges. Good Guys Guns and Range in Orem sold more guns in one day than they normally sell in a week. Gun stores and distributors sold out of the most popular guns, preventing even more of those guns from being sold. Although the executive actions affect generally only individual sellers, the concern over gun control increased local purchases.
Some believe that the actions and rules pushed by Obama will only make a moderate impact.
“The executive actions are a lot smaller than most people think,” said BYU Political Science Professor Adam Brown. “If Congress doesn’t act, there’s a very limited set of opportunities that any president could use to push gun policy in any direction … It’s a modest proposal that lets President Obama say to constituents who care about it in his party: ‘Look, I did something.’ But it would take Congressional action to make any kind of meaningful change.”
BYU Political Science professor Richard Davis also agreed and said the executive actions on gun control are not as far-reaching, especially while Republicans have control of Congress. Hart and others want their civil rights to be protected and ensured, not limited.
“The Second Amendment is not about hunting, it’s not about sport shooting, it’s about our ability to defend ourselves from a rogue, tyrannical government,” Hart said.