Obama’s executive order expanding background checks incensed many gun owners. But for some, it also inspired a sense of déjà vu, as former NRA President David Keene explained in a Washington Times op-ed.
The passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968 ushered in harsh punishment for those selling guns without a FFL, but didn’t bother to define “dealing.” Federal prosecutors could therefore target “anyone they arbitrarily decided was an illegal gun dealer.” The resultant abuses led to the passage of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, which established our current definition of “dealing.”
After Obama announced he would redefine “dealer” in order to expand background checks, many believed this meant a yearly limit on private sellers. But with the announcement that a “variety of factors” could result in prosecution—putting anyone who sold one or two firearms a year at risk—we might witness the same blatant and baseless persecution those who came before us fought so hard to end.