April 04, 2013
I had to check the dateline to be sure it wasn't an April Fool stunt, but the Daily Caller has reported that an ACLU official raised privacy concerns about the universal background check plan on offer by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Now, when it comes to the 2nd Amendment part of civil liberties, the ACLU has been AWOL for decades, except for occasional sniffs that enforcing gun laws might violate the 4th Amendment.
But Chris Calabrese, a privacy lobbyist for the group, was quoted as follows:
"If you're going to require a background check, we think it should be effective," Calabrese explained.
"However, we also believe those checks have to be conducted in a way that protects privacy and civil liberties. So, in that regard, we think the current legislation, the current proposal on universal background checks raises two significant concerns," he went on.
"The first is that it treats the records for private purchases very differently than purchases made through licensed sellers. Under existing law, most information regarding an approved purchase is destroyed within 24 hours when a licensed seller does a [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] check now," Calabrese said, "and almost all of it is destroyed within 90 days."
While Calabrese didn't characterize the Reid proposal as setting up a national, he registry, did recognize registration as a logical next step, notwithstanding Obama Administration denials.
"Unfortunately, we have seen in the past that the creation of these types of records leads sometimes to the creation of government databases and collections of personal information on all of us," Calabrese warned. "That's not an inevitable result, but we have seen that happen in the past, certainly."
"As we've seen with many large government databases, if you build it, they will come."
I'm not going to be ordering an ACLU membership just yet, but it's never too late to come to the party. It's good to see a group that can hardly be characterized as right-wing warning against a national gun registry.