Universal Background Checks for Gun Transfers
S.941 would mandate that no person or firearm dealer sell or transfer a firearm prior to the completion of a background check through the State Law Enforcement Division and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Any person or dealer who violates this law would be guilty of a felony and could be fined up to $2,000 or imprisoned for up to five years.
This would be a severe infringement on the personal liberties of South Carolina citizens. A universal background check requirement would impose significant time and monetary costs on those wishing to sell or otherwise transfer their legally owned property. The requirement could even apply to something as simple as allowing someone else to use your firearm at a range.
Beyond restricting citizens’ liberties this proposal would do little to nothing to decrease violent crime. Universal background checks would require a universal gun registry, a policy which was met with large scale non-compliance and deemed a failure when it was tried in Canada.
Even if a universal gun registry were created and most individuals followed the universal background check law, criminal wishing to commit violent crimes with firearms would have no compunctions about ignoring the law. Two of the most comprehensive studies on the effects of gun control laws, by the Center for Disease Control and the National Academy of Sciences, could find no gun control policies (including background checks) that meaningfully reduced violent crime or gun violence.