“NSSF [National Shooting Sports Foundation] this week praised the Louisiana House of Representatives for following the State Senate lead and unanimously passing Senate Bill 135,” the NSSF writes in an email blast. “Under the legislation, any Louisiana state resident who loses the right to possess firearms under state law will be reported to the State Supreme Court that, in turn, will send this information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) ‘Louisiana legislators clearly understood that the background check system is only as good as the records in the database,’ said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.'” Or, as we said before, lobbying to fix NICS is just as bad as donating money to the civilian disarmament industry . . .
Not to ut too fine a point on it, encouraging states to send the feds a database of citizens deemed unsuitable to possess firearms to improve the FBI’s No Guns for You Boyo system is like asking Peter North to practice safe sex. It may sound like a good idea but it’s doomed to failure.
For one thing, government sucks at database management. Low-level bureaucrats are simply not capable of collating and updating the hundreds of thousands individual records, often on incompatible systems, without making mistakes. The larger the database the greater the chance of errors, both as an absolute number and a percentage.
Note: it stops being simple statistical anomalies when it starts being you.
Getting off the NICS shit list may not be as difficult as getting off the Fibbies’ Terrorist Watch List (which still doesn’t have an official appeals process) but it’s several degrees of magnitude worse than reporting a lost credit card. Or a rectal exam. More to the point, who’s gun ban criteria is it anyway?
The NSSF’s celebratory press release offers some insight:
In Louisiana a citizen can lose the right to possess a firearm if he or she pleads guilty to a crime by reason of insanity, lacks the mental capacity to stand trial for a crime, is involuntarily committed to an in-patient mental health treatment facility, is convicted of a violent crime, is convicted of a felony violation of drug laws or is convicted of a sexual offense.
Let’s say someone in Sportsman’s Paradise is involuntarily committed to a mental health treatment facility for suicidal tendencies, and then recovers. You know; like they’re supposed to. Sorry. Gun rights gone. There’s no set appeals process, no way to have that record expunged or over-ruled and the NICS updated.
Or is there? Some states may have a way to “restore” lost gun rights. Whether or not any given individual’s in-patient mental heath treatment permanently disqualifies them from firearms purchase becomes a matter of geographical happenstance.
By the same token, state laws defines what constitutes a felony drug charge. In Colorado possession of less than 12 ounces of pot is a misdemeanor. In Texas, possession of four ounces or more of pot is a felony.
According to the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision, individual gun rights trump local and state law. But the NICS system is based on each states’ disqualification criteria. In effect, the states are calling the shots on whether or not residents get to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
Of course, these are quibbles compared to the larger question: why the hell should Americans have a background check before they purchase a gun? Do we endure a background check to exercise any other Constitutional right?
By championing the fictional not to say delusional idea that NICS can be “fixed” to protect public safety the NSSF is doing the heavy lifting for gun control advocates: maintaining the presupposition that federal gun control is morally, practically and Constitutional acceptable.
Yes, yes, I know: the NSSF (and the NRA) can no more argue for ditching NICS than they can call for the feds to arm public school teachers with a taxpayer-funded AR-15. Staking out an anti-NICS position would alienate the politically critical Second Amendment fence sitters.
But the NSSF could STFU.