License Required: The Alarming New Mantra from Gun Prohibitionists

Below the Radar: The Multiple Firearm Sales Reporting Modernization Act of 2019
Should citizens be required to get a license before they are allowed to buy a gun?

ANALYSIS: Gun control proponents have latched onto a new mantra in their effort to reduce the number of guns—and gun owners—on the U.S. landscape, reluctantly recognizing that so-called “universal background checks” are not the solution to violent crime involving firearms, nor have they prevented criminals from getting guns.

The latter fact is underscored in a recent online GUNS magazine report covering incidents in several states where suspects have been charged with “felon in possession” of firearms. The “dirty little secret” is that criminals don’t obey gun control laws, a fact that seems elusive to gun control proponents.

So there’s a new strategy gathering momentum among anti-gunners, and according to Vox, this strategy comes from perennial gun control extremist Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who proposed on the 2020 campaign trail to require a license before purchasing a firearm.

Writing at Vox, reporter German Lopez observes, “A license system…is more comprehensive. In Massachusetts, one of the few states with a license system, obtaining a permit requires going through a multi-step process involving interviews with police, background checks, a gun safety training course, and more. Even if a person passes all of that, the local police chief can deny an application anyway. That creates more points at which an applicant can be identified as too dangerous to own a gun; it makes getting and owning a gun harder.”

The acknowledged end result is a reduction in gun ownership by placing hoops through which prospective gun owners must jump before they can exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.

And that’s where this scheme could collide head-on with the Bill of Rights. Reading Vox, and an Op-Ed in the by second-generation U.S. citizen Eric Ryu reveals what appears to be a complete lack of understanding about the differences between fundamental rights and government-regulated privileges.

Proponents of this new approach to gun control, and every other form in fact, habitually quote a single sentence in the Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”

They habitually avoid noting the language in the final paragraph of the majority opinion, which states emphatically, “But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

Complete bans on certain types of firearms, especially those in common use, don’t pass muster. The question perhaps searching for an answer is whether the Constitution allows government to require a permit—that is, forcing someone to obtain permission from government—to exercise a fundamental right, thus rendering it no right, at all. Does this amount to prior restraint?

Anti-gunners appear to favor a Massachusetts-type system because it gives the government veto power over the exercise of a right.

In Ryu’s case, he contends, “These permits require extensive background checks. To receive and renew a permit, a prospective gun owner must provide documents to prove legitimate reasons for gun ownership and physical and psychiatric assessments.”

This suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between rights and privileges. Rights are something the exercise of which one should never be required to justify because they are rights, enumerated by the Constitution. And the right to keep and bear arms is second on the list. The “legitimate reason” exists because it is a right. No further justification should be necessary.

Vox also mentions “mandatory buyback” of firearms as a way to reduce the number of guns in private ownership. In the firearms community, that is called “compensated confiscation.” It’s not voluntary, and there would be penalties for non-compliance. It doesn’t really matter if some other countries have done this. They do not have a Second Amendment in their constitutions, which proponents of licensing and “compensated confiscation” schemes choose to ignore.

A recent unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court in a Fourth Amendment case known as Caniglia v. Strom reveals a decided change in the landscape. In a case from Rhode Island, the high court reversed lower courts and ruled that police violated the rights of Edward Caniglia by entering his home and seizing firearms without a warrant during what is generically known as a “welfare check.”

While this was not a Second Amendment case, it has bearing on the right to keep and bear arms, and in a time when anti-gunners are pushing so-called “red flag” laws, it bears some examination to determine whether Caniglia might have some impact.

What is most important, though, is keeping a sharp eye on this new “front” in the battle to erode Second Amendment rights. Mandating a license or permit in order to exercise a constitutionally delineated right is an issue that could wind up in federal court, which underscores once again the importance of elections. Donald Trump filled some 200 federal court vacancies and three spots on the Supreme Court. Joe Biden is now in the driver’s seat, with Democrats holding a razor-thin majority in the Senate. If that can be changed next year, with Republicans re-capturing Capitol Hill, it could derail Democrat gun control efforts entirely.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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“No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105)

“If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)

Problem solved.


Nurph….Sadly, problem solved….NOT!!!…..because no politician FEARS We The Little Peeps. Until they truly fear us, they will continue to skim, scam, squander, buy votes with our money, ignore laws and the Constitution/Bill of Rights, take away our rights, freedoms, liberties in gaining power, control and wealth over We The Little Peeps.l Politicians are never held accountable for their tyranny against America. Heads on Pikes for America!!!!


It is worth while to note that Caniglia v. Strom  was a unanimous Supreme Court Decision. It was a 4th amendment case, not a 2nd amendment case, but it did involve police searching for and confiscating firearms without a search warrant.

Note that Police lied to the Caniglia that they would not confiscate his guns when taking him from his home for a psychiatric evaluation.

Heed the Call-up

Police are “allowed” to lie, we are not “allowed” to lie to the police.


From the Department of Redundancy Department

So, the anti-gun Left wants to pivot from “Universal Background Checks”, which they are beginning to acknowledge won’t prevent guns from “falling into the wrong hands”, to a pre-purchase licensing program?

Do they truly believe that the people who currently willfully evade background checks will apply for a license?

“Now, that’s funny right there! I don’t care who ya are cause that’s funny!” — Larry the Cable Guy

crazy joe

they have been sitting on their brains so long that mentally their dead.


MS 13, the Sinaloa cartel and others will get head of the line privileges to sign up.


un registered cars no license to drive no insurance no papers , so what laws do they think these people will follow?? oh yea laws of the jungle if you can take it and get away it is yours great society the demoncrats want


Since “No right is unlimited” including the right to vote, voting should be made much more difficult. Literacy and comprehension tests, fees, etc. Because, MANY people abuse voting by electing the wrong people who enact the wrong laws! Wouldn’t that work well???????????


It would work very well. Which is exactly why such will never be allowed, or even discussed.

Ryben Flynn

“Should citizens be required to get a license before they are allowed to buy a gun?”
Are we required required to get Driver License before buying a motor vehicle?NO.
Are we required to to get a license before buying any other weapon, crossbow, knife, axe, hatchet, sword, etc.? NO
Why are guns singled out? Because the Democrats want to be Dictators and limit who can buy a gun. Several Democrat States already require asking permission to buy a gun by issuing a Permit to Purchase or the FOID card and a few are “May Issue” and don’t.

APG member

Licensing, the process by which the government takes away my right and sells it back to me…

crazy joe

at a cost.


Typically some cost is required in order to accurately say “and sells it back to me.”


Obviously “selling back” implies monetary costs, but those monetary costs are only a fraction of costs of such a scheme.

Perhaps @crazy meant “at a high cost to our liberty and to our human rights”


A license to guy a gun. But voter ID? No chance. That is how they think. Murdoch has something to say on the issue. All of these ‘popularly supported common sense solutions’ come straight out of Jim Crow laws in the 19th Century. One would at least expect some original work on this issue but no, they go back to their Klan roots and dredge up the same old trash used by progressives and segregationists to suppress other vilified classes.

Last edited 2 years ago by nrringlee

@Dave Workman While I agree there are still many Anti 2A states supported by Big Dollars remaining and much more work to do. many of these places are showing the same signs of implosion as the countries behind the “Iron Curtain” up until Reagan. The people of these states are beginning to suffer under the failed policies of the Ruling Class and Elites. Those that can are escaping.while the larger masses are left to suffer. With each new day they are beginning to see how the Lies and Broken Promises of the Ruling Class is destroying all they have or… Read more »


There is not supposed to be a “ruling class”. But we do have an
assemblage, that fancies themselves in that role, marketed as such
by media propagandists. I used to think that the vote was a proper
tool for term limits. Alas, my naivete hasn’t survived the war in which
we are currently engaged.


We all know that the gang bangers in the south side of Chicago have valid licenses.


quote: “And that’s where this scheme could collide head-on with the Bill of Rights.” COULD collide? No, that is a cornfield meet on the old single track transcontinental railroad. Do I need a license to breathe? Walk about freely outside? Visit whom I please and where? Exercise any religious belief I choose, or choose not to? How about voting? Writing what I please, as I am this very second? Vote for whom I wish, or not at all? Close myself up inside my own home, along with whomever else I please to have with me? Travel freely between places in… Read more »


Stinks of treason and insurrection


They are just looking for more ways to get BRIBES, KICKBACKS, and PAYOLA for the politicians in charge. CRIMINALS don’t OBEY the LAWS !


To late if you live in states like Illinois. The type tyrannical government we are seeing today. Is exactly why America came to be in the first place. That the history is either not taught. Or bastardized, to fit an agenda. Is why we must continue to fight against such government control and restrictions.


Wasn’t the Illinois FOID card recently found unconstitutional???


Does it matter ?


Actually the tend is just the opposite. More and more states are on the Constitutional Carry path to which you can add Texas as of today. The only states following the licensure path are state that already have strong Anti 2A regulations. The battle for 2A rights now truly exists only in the States Rights the Federal Government continues to progress toward the Big Brother Tyranny of Orwell’s 1984. Keep Your Powder Dry..


Dave, Thanks for writing.


Sounds like Cory “Spartacus” Booker is at it again. Elections matter, and the loss of Georgia’s 2 Senate seats was critical. In 2022, the Republicans have to defend 20 Senate seats, the Dems only 14. This gun control situation could get worse – a lot worse – if control of the Senate is not regained. Mac’s comments about “fundamental change” (below) are dead on – the importance of the 2022 midterms can’t be overstated.


The way my republican representatives have not been representing me lately I am going to have a hard time voting for them.


SK…clearly understand your comment, and you are not alone. The problem is what is the result that comes with it? You saw the result in Georgia. The 2 Republicans were not strong – deserving much of the criticism leveled against them – and conservative voters echoed your frustration by not voting for them. But what happened as a result? Blazingly radical people like Warnock are now representing Georgia. Well, I guess the Republican voter showed those Republican candidates a thing or two…and the Dems said “thanks” while gaining 2 Senate seats. As Obama said, elections have consequences – and not… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by MarkE

Requiring someone to get a permit to exercise their constitutional rights is ridiculous. Didn’t a judge just rule that the FOID in Illinois is unconstitutional? On another angle, one problem with this is that if they catch a convicted felon with a firearm they would not be able to charge him with not having the license. It would be basically the same as having an unregistered firearm where firearms are required to be registered. Convicted felons are exempt from being charged because it would be a violation of their fifth amendment rights. So before they try to require law abiding… Read more »


In Maryland, this license is called a: “Handgun Qualification License”. In reality it is nothing more than a TAX DIRECTED SPECIFICALLY AT GUN OWNERS! According to the Constitution — THIS IS UNLAWFUL!!!!!!


Without a doubt,we must retake Congress next year or risk losing all of our rights. Make no mistake, these criminal, communist creeps identifying as Democrats are hell bent on “fundamentally changing this country” and not for our benefit. There’s a reason the Obama’s moved only a few yards away from the White House.


These attempts to remove our rights, or to turn our rights into
revocable privilege, should be construed as acts of treason.
How many of these treasonous acts must everyday Americans
endure, before the illusion of our constitution, is finally erased?

Last edited 2 years ago by Ram
Capn Dad

A right such as the right to bear arms can only be lost if one gives the right away. When they come for your rights you must fight to defend them. Not talk…not write….not complain and certainly not hope. You must fight. Without fighting one is just a slave.


Dave, I think Cam Edwards coined the phrase “compensated confiscation.” Either he deserves a footnote credit or it is now, after many years, part of the lexicon.

Dr. Strangelove

Like the FOID card in IL, and the permit to purchase (going away 7/1) in Iowa?


Fine, as long as we can also license people before they are allowed to vote. Of course the voting license will require that they are white men age 21 and older who own land.


Not many can recognize sarcasm anymore.


We were somewhat more sane as a people when those were the actual laws on the books!


Each state should set the same requirements to vote as they do to purchase and own a weapon. If it’s Constitutional to limit one right, it’s Constitutional to limit all.


Great point. And if a poll tax is illegal, an NFA TAX, a FOID card and a CCW permit is also illegal. SCOTUS ruled poll taxes and permits and licenses for enumerated rights are UNCONSTITUTIONAL.


I am forced to agree with your comment. Even though I DETEST any and all limitations on any STATED and REAFFIRMED CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT of American Citizens! Yes joseph bidet, CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS are meant to be UNCHANGEABLE and will be a RIGHT till America is no more! Yes I see and understand the DemoKKKrat national communist party is trying their damnedest to complete the COUP against the American Citizens of this great country!!!!!!!