North Carolina Republicans have gone completely off the deep end this week. The state GOP unveiled a bill that would nullify the Constitution, allowing North Carolina to declare a state religion. Now, yet another bill is being proposed by Republicans that would finally mandate universal background checks on people, but not to buy guns. This background check would be a requirement for those seeking federal aid such as food stamps and housing assistance.
The News Observer reports that HB 392 would requires all social services offices “to conduct a criminal background check on all applicants and recipients of federal food and cash assistance under legislation Republican lawmakers say is necessary to protect the integrity of the programs.”
The North Carolina Association of County Boards of Social Services says that the bill would likely dissuade individuals and families from seeking help because “if people think they are going to be prosecuted or arrested for even seeking our services, that’s a big concern for us.” Another point of concern is who will be paying the checks to be done, but Republicans refused to address that concern and approved the bill for a full House vote later this week.
If the last few years are any indication, Republicans are more likely to charge people for the background checks rather than pay for them with state money. When Florida Republicans passed a law requiring welfare recipients to take drug tests, the recipients had to pay for the tests themselves. That means people who are already strapped for cash in North Carolina would have to use what little money they already have to pay for a background check. I can honestly attest that a background check isn’t exactly cheap either. Getting fingerprinted for a background check costs me $50 every year to apply for substitute teaching. To people who need food aid programs, that kind of money is crucial.
This outrageous bit of hypocrisy comes as Republicans vehemently oppose universal background checks on every person seeking a firearm. Apparently, stopping criminals from getting federal aid is more important to Republicans than stopping criminals from getting guns. Republicans have their priorities all mixed up. You can literally hear the hypocrisy of what they are wanting to do when they talk about this bill.
“A background check seems to be a reasonable thing to ask people to do if they are applying for benefits,” said Republican state Rep. Ruth Samuelson.
So according to Republicans, it’s “reasonable” to force people in need to undergo a background check to get federal assistance, but it’s an abomination to require universal background checks on people who want to buy guns. The difference here is that welfare assistance doesn’t kill people whereas guns do kill people. Yet Republicans would rather prevent felons from getting food assistance instead of preventing felons from getting their hands on a gun. Once again, the priorities of Republicans are astoundingly ridiculous, completely out of touch with reality, and goes against the will of the American people.