Yesterday, S. 374, or the “Protecting Responsible Gun Sellers Act of 2013” as it has been inexplicably termed, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by ten votes to eight. If it were to become law, S. 374 would usher in what advocates refer to as a system of “universal background checks.” It would do a lot more, besides. As it stands in our ostensibly ghoulish status quo, a free American citizen may leave his guns with his unrelated roommate for more than seven days; he may lend a gun to a friend so that that friend is able to go shooting or hunting; he has more than 24 hours in which to report to the police if his guns are stolen; and he may even — shock, horror! — teach a friend to shoot on his own land. Most important, he may do all of these things without spending five years in prison in consequence. This, the Senate’s bill would change.
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