Republican Senator Makes The Conservative Case For Universal Background Checks

At a town hall in Oklahoma on Monday, Sen. Tom Corbun (R-OK) made perhaps the best argument to convince conservative gun owners that they should support required background checks on every single gun purchase. Taking the recent debate over gun regulations from the political to the personal, Coburn told constituents that universal checks are “the responsible way” for gun owners to ensure that they don’t sell their own guns to “someone you wouldn’t want to have it”:

Those on that list will include felons and people with mental instability. A concern that gun owners are on that list or one separate to it was discounted by the senator, a fact that has been and continues to be checked on by his staff on a regular basis.

“I’m for enhanced background checks because it’s a way for you to go online to make sure you’re not selling your gun to someone you wouldn’t want to have it,” said Coburn.The responsible way is to check them against this [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] list and they don’t know that you did it.”

“About 80 percent of criminals get their guns from us (responsible gun owners).

Coburn didn’t suggest that this check would stop all gun crime, however, he was positive it will slow it down a significant degree.

Currently, private sales are exempt from background checks, and it’s estimated that 40 percent of firearm sales are completed without a check. According to Bloomberg News, “A 2004 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of inmates convicted of gun crimes found that 80 percent acquired the weapons through a private transfer.” Ninety-two percent of Americans want to change this grim statistic, and support a background check on all sales.


As members of the Senate debate new gun regulations, Coburn has gone back and forth on his support of universal background checks, expressing concern that the government could use such a system to keep a record of all gun owners. A recent spat over this detail led Senators to factor Coburn out of negotiations on a bill.