The heart of the issue is that preexisting privacy laws and employer regulations prevent employers from having access to our most private information, such as medical health records according to HIPPA Laws. Regulations that prevent employers from using the FBI to run criminal background checks on employment applications, anti-discrimination laws that prevent employers from knowing or using information to selectively exclude us from good jobs and students being able to have private conversations with counselors when they have questions and have need for advice have come a long way to protect us from exposure and abuses.
But with universal background checks, all those protections simply go away.
For example, imagine reading a help wanted ad and this is what you see:
Help Wanted! Good pay and great benefits. Qualified applicants only. College degree or equivalent experience required, self-reliant individual, self-starter preferred, law-abiding a must and able participate in student mentoring at local high schools. MUST OWN AT LEAST ONE FIREARM AND CURRENTLY HOLD A LICENSE TO CARRY A HANDGUN in your state of residence.
WOW! Look how easy it would be to shift the burden of performing background checks for a new employee directly on the shoulders of the FBI. With universal background checks required of every firearm transaction, and during application for the LTC, a legally acceptable end run around the privacy and HIPPA laws is created. These existing laws are currently in place to protect us from disclosure of personally sensitive information such as this. Just think, employers could simply add the possession of at least one firearm to the mandatory requirement for employment and then they would have everything they need to stimulate a safe working environment for everyone at the company. That’s right, with the FBI making a final decision about the applicant’s ability to possess a firearm and obtain an LTC, employers won’t have to worry about employment laws that prevent asking difficult questions such as: Are you a dangerous person? Do you have mental issues? Are you a criminal? Have you been involved in domestic violence? Do you use drugs; even if just using them recreationally? Has anyone in your family or circle of friends reported that you are depressed, seeking medical treatment for anger, depression, or anything else like it that would be suspicious? Have you ever posted anything anti-government on social media or participated in a protest even though the first amendment gives you that right? The list goes on since we are talking about comprehensive universal background checks – leaving no stone unturned.
You see, if the only people who can buy or possess a firearm are those people that pass this level of documented background investigation by the FBI, employers won’t have to spend millions of dollars running substandard background checks, and since holding an LTC is subject to suspension or revocation, the background check is essentially evergreen. The ad for a new position could simply read: “If you have experience and own a gun, then we don’t need to ask any more questions.” This shows you to be one of the good guys and our society has already sifted the others out, since they can’t possess a firearm and since we have already investigated them thoroughly. So, if you want the best job, get some training and buy a gun. If you do, then you can dramatically improve your odds in getting hired before anyone who does not.
Here is another example. School security was recently discussed by the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. At the heart of the governor’s proposal is an expansion of the existing School Marshal Program. Universal background checks can be used to complement this program. In order to improve security, what if every school district required every person employed by the school district to possess a firearm – not to say that they would be required to bring it to work; but, simply own a gun. There would be no need to run background checks on the administration, teachers, support staff, PTA officers or volunteers. If an individual’s background is not clean enough to own a gun, then it creates the question of whether they can or should work inside a school.
But wait, there is more. To increase school security, it makes logical sense to continue to use universal background checks by setting gun ownership as a requirement on all visitors entering the premise of a school, including parents, grandparents or anyone besides students and staff.
In the name of increasing security, setting gun ownership as a minimum requirement could also be used to screen community volunteers, first responders, hospital workers and city employees. This would make it very easy for institutions to put the burden of background checks on the FBI and use universal background checks as a means to exclude people in matters not even related to gun possession. IF you can’t pass a universal back ground check and possess a gun, then you can’t be a volunteer, hold a job in the community or in a position of trust.
The Second Amendment was written in the Constitution to guarantee EVERY American the right to own a firearm. The same people who authored this amendment are the people who knew Americans at that time needed Representatives and Senators to represent them in how they would govern themselves. They did not make a list of universal background qualifications – they simply said:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Owning a firearm was not supposed to be a way to decide who can or cannot compete in the open market for good jobs or go how each of us go about the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Giving legislators the authority to step on any one of our rights in the name of making us safer is simply not manageable. Our country has struggled with racism, discrimination, sexual harassment, work place and school violence. We need better solutions; but, rushing to write laws without considering the broader consequences, makes all of us much more vulnerable to abuse and other extreme disadvantages — the very abuses our founding fathers were so centered about, they wrote them explicitly into our Constitution.