Originally Posted by theangrydragon
When politicians say they want "universal background checks" they mean they want to make a digital database that's searchable (a registry).
A minor factual quibble, but there's a distinction between "universal background checks" and a registry of who owns what.
The former would mandate that any transfer, even between private parties, would require the buyer to first pass the same instant FBI background check we go through when we buy a gun at our local FFL dealer. That wouldn't require much more than setting up a way (likely online/over the phone) for private sellers to run a private buyer's information.
A registry gets mentioned in connection with "universal background checks" because how else do you give the law any way of being enforced? Personally, I'd say you could accomplish it the same way you do with FFLs: put the legal burden on private sellers to get and maintain a PASS result from each person to whom they sell.
That'd be pretty far from a registry as long as the private seller records are not centralized. But to make it even safer, you could make it illegal for sellers to associate information about the gun(s) sold with a buyer's background check PASS record.