Posts Tagged ‘Aurora shooting’

The Check’s in the Fail

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Inspired by Badly Flawed Background Check System Fails To Contain Firearms Sales (Huffington Post 6/23/11), Rhonda Fields, Rep. For Aurora, Wants Background Checks For Private Gun Sales: ‘It’s A Loophole That Needs To Be Changed’ (Huffington Post 1/08/13 14:12), Hickenlooper: ‘Why Not Have Universal Background Checks For All Gun Sales?’ (Huffington Post 1/10/13 15:55), and Gun control activists focus on universal background checks ( 1/11/13 16:14).


“The word went out, ‘You are going to be denied. You might as well find another means of getting it, either through the illicit market or through the legal non-NICS markets, such as gun shows and private transactions.'” — CarnegieMellonUniversity crime expert Alfred Blumstein
“Why not have universal background checks for all gun sales?” – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper


If we have a giant loophole

That let’s 40% of gun purchases slip through

Isn’t eliminating background checks entirely

An identical thing to do?


If people who can’t pass that check

Have an option that doesn’t require one,

When they want to buy a firearm,

Where will they go to acquire one?


The idea that allowing a giant loophole will attract people who can’t pass background checks to that loophole is  not only obvious, it’s supported by evidence: The number of people checked is up, but the number denied guns for failing a background check is down by about 25 percent from its 1999 peak in (that was the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s first full year of operations). The only realistic explanation for that divergence is that an increasing number of bad guys are purchasing their firearms through unregulated or illegal channels. Note that the system itself is not to blame: it’s operates 17 hours per day, 364 days per year (it’s closed on Christmas), checks thousands of requests (the one-day record is 98,000) against a 58 million record FBI database plus two other national databases in an average of 3-5 minutes. The problem is the spottiness of the data that is input into the system, usually due to lapses by state agencies, and the legal loophole that allows private purchasers to avoid background checks. Both of those problems are easily solved and involve no infringement of the right to bear arms for law-abiding gun owners. Do we now finally have the political will to make this most obvious and reasonable of changes? Let’s hope so, and more importantly: let’s make it so.


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