04/16/2013 05:03 pm ET

Background Checks Work For Immigration But Not For Guns According To The GOP

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Mandatory background checks are a terrible idea. They burden law-abiding citizens and don’t catch criminals. The databases they rely on are riddled with errors. We don’t even prosecute people who flunk the checks. That’s why Republicans are against imposing such checks on gun buyers.

On the other hand, if you want to catch illegal immigrants, forget everything I just said. Running everybody through a database is a terrific idea. Republicans are all for it.

How did the GOP end up in this position? The story begins a couple of years ago, when Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced the Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act. Grassley explained that the bill would “require that all employers use the E-Verify program,” a “web-based tool that allows employers to verify the work eligibility of new employees,” thereby “combating the hiring of illegal aliens.” E-Verify would become “mandatory for all employers within one year.” Companies would have to “check the status of existing employees within 3 years” and “terminate the employment of those found unauthorized to work.”

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