Gun Control – Universal Background Check
February 19, 2013, 8:54 am
Filed under: Culture, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

The National Rifle Association has written an excellent letter to Congress in regard to the idea of Universal Background Checks. The NRA supports the National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS) and still does so. It is a good system, although terribly overloaded, primarily because the funds that were to support this system have not been appropriated to do so. In 1986 it became necessary for those engaged in the sale of firearms to possess a Federal Firearms License, (FFL). In addition it is necessary that all firearms sales through retail establishments namely sporting goods stores, Wal-Mart, and even Pawn Shops selling modern guns, must perform a background check on the person purchasing the gun.

Most purchases of guns happen through the retail venue, in other words, through licensed (FFL) dealers who perform (NICS) checks on the purchasers. The letter explains also that since 1968, it has been a federal felony for any private person to sell, trade, give, lend, rent or transfer a gun to a person he either knows or reasonably should know is not legally allowed to purchase or possess a firearm. A person may not sell or give to a person from another state or country a firearm, not even a shotgun, unless that person is a holder of a FFL in other words a licensed firearms dealer.

In addition, if I wanted to purchase a firearm from a dealer over the internet, or by mail order, I have to give that dealer the name and address of an FFL holder where I will go to pick up the gun. The dealer in my area will perform the background check and is legally allowed to charge a fee to me for that service.

Another fact that is overlooked in this discussion and is pointed out by the NRA, is that the law already prohibits sales to persons who are, felons; persons adjudicated mentally “defective” or involuntarily committed to mental institutions; fugitives from justice; dishonorably discharged from the military; illegal aliens and most non-immigrant aliens; unlawful users of controlled substances; persons who have renounced U. S. Citizenship; persons under certain restraining orders; and those who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. Of course it must be stated that NICS is only as good as its database. When States fail to transmit felony and mental health records to NICS, felons and the mentally incompetent fall through the cracks. Even though there is a requirement for this information to be disclosed to the NICS system, there are very large holes in the system. The General Accounting Office reports that as of 2011 23 states and the District of Columbia submitted less than 100 mental health records to NICS; 17 states submitted less than 10 mental health records to NICS; and four states submitted NONE!

There also needs to be a clean up of the database itself, the VA arbitrarily disqualified a number of veterans, who should not have been disqualified, then there are records that are incomplete or inaccurate, according to the Dept. of Justice Inspector General this is “a common occurrence”. Now, let us look at the claim that criminals obtain their firearms through gun shows. The evidence says NOT TRUE. A 1997 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of state prison inmates who had used or possessed firearms in the course of their crimes found that 79 percent acquired their firearms from “street/illegal sources” or “friends or family.” This includes theft, black market purchases of stolen firearms, and straw purchases. Only 1.7 Pct. obtained firearms from anyone (dealer or non-dealer) at a gun show or flea market. Another survey in 2004 yielded nearly identical results. According to FBI records the average of firearms stolen between 2005 and 2010 was 232,400 firearms stolen each year. Therefore the methods of obtaining firearms by criminals are already illegal.

Just one other truth that is passed over in this discussion,if you offer false information on a NICS form, you commit a felony. In 2010 alone the FBI denied 72,659 NICS checks out of a total of 14,409,616 forms. However, only 62 of the 72,659 felonies were actually brought to trial, only 13 resulted in conviction. Why is that? According to Vice President Biden, it is that, “we simply don’t have the time or the manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately.” Now if I am someone who wants to beat the system I will try again elsewhere, since the government is not going to prosecute me.

So here we are with a system that needs to be fixed, yet, rather than working to fix the system we already have, and enforcing the laws already on the books, we are going to try to add onerous and unworkable fixes to society. Why does the government not work to make sure the current system is fully funded and working properly. I know that the NRA and gun owners in general would support cleaning up the database for NICS, and for enforcing the mandate that exists for states to report data to NICS.

One other fact that is missing in the discussion: If you want to purchase a fully automatic firearm, you must have the proper FFL, fully automatic guns are only authorized to be sold to the military, police, border patrol and other law enforcement departments. You or I cannot walk into a gun show, or a gun shop and purchase a fully automatic firearm. The “assault weapons” that the government seeks to ban, are semi automatic, not fully automatic firearms. You squeeze the trigger, one bullet is fired, you have to release the trigger and then squeeze it again to fire another bullet.

What do you think? Join the conversation, write your Senators and Representatives and get them on board. Post a comment on this blog, I’d love to hear from you and get your thoughts on the issues.


I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.


Comment by Jon Miller

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