Originally Published: July 2, 2001 5 p.m.
Finally, someone at the U.S. Department of Justice realizes that law-abiding gun owners are not enemies of society, and the government has no business treating them as if they were.
Attorney General John Ashcroft this week announced several steps he was taking to improve the instant background system governing gun buyers.
Under the law, anyone who wants to buy a firearm must submit to an instant, computerized background check through the government's national crime database.
Once that check establishes the person has no criminal record nor any record of domestic violence, the seller of the gun can complete the transaction with the buyer.
Ashcroft angered anti-gun groups when he also said that he was setting a strict limit on the length of time the government could keep the record of the check once it clears a person as a qualified gun-buyer.
Current regulations allow the government to keep the record 180 days. The FBI said it needs the record so it can go back over them and check on fraudulent or mistaken approvals.
Ashcroft wants to require destruction of the record after one business day.
The government has no good reason to keep records on law-abiding people who buy a firearm beyond the time it determines they are a law-abiding gun owner.
The only reason to do otherwise is to establish a database on where the guns are, and the only reason that exists for having that information serves the agenda of people who ultimately want to disarm the civilian population.
The government should put its resources to watching the people who have proven they have no regard for the law – not the people who have complied with it.
On behalf of the nation's 65 million law-abiding gun owners, Mr. Ashcroft, thank you.