The Toomey-Manchin amendment admirably attempted to carve out certain protections for gun owners, but today’s carve-outs are tomorrow’s loopholes. The current ‘gun show loophole’ was itself once considered a legitimate carve-out that protected certain private sales.
The amendment also took an incremental step toward universal background checks, which, as a Justice Department memo written earlier this year suggested, are effective only when coupled with a national registration system.
After all, you cannot track all gun sales without tracking all gun owners. But the government has no business monitoring constitutionally protected activity, like gun ownership, any more than it has any business tracking what books Americans read or how often they attend church.
Edited to add: Former Rep. Adam Putnam once said,
Government does only two things well: nothing, and overreact.
Yesterday it did the first, rather than the second. Let’s hope it keeps this up.