Asa Hutchinson is a former Congresscritter and DEA and DHS bureaucrat. Asa recently resurfaced as the NRA’s point man for their post-Newtown National School Shield program; a worthy effort that changed not a damn thing. Here he is on CNN, criticizing the Justice Department for not prosecuting people who failed to pass a background check at a gun dealer. At the same time, Asa argues that background checks for private firearms sales are a bad idea because they force rural buyers to drive into town. That and no “criminal or bad actor’s going to go through this process.” The man on the left is Mark Kelly. The former astronaut and Navy man’s no dope. He made mince meat of Asa’s prevarication. The correct answer for the NRA? None. They made this bed, accepting the Brady Bill’s background checks back in ’93. Now they have to lie in it.

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51 Responses to NRA Speaks Out of Both Sides of its Mouth on Background Checks

      • I think he should have used the tact that background checks are an experiment that has failed. They should be scrapped and we should use the resources to do something effective, such as actively ensuring that people that should be prohibited possessors actually do not posses firearms. (keeping them in jail is another solution)

        This approach has been tried several times, and it does work, because the actual number of people that are a serious danger to others is a very small segment of society.

        • I tend to agree. We do not conduct a background check to allow someone to vote, or to be a religious leader, or a journalist, or to engage in any of the other guaranteed rights of the constitution. It is improper to do so for this right as well.

          It is also subject to abuse, as well as to error. If Ted Kennedy can end up on a no-fly list, there’s no telling how many people can erroneously end up in the NICS database. If more and more things are deemed to make someone a “prohibited person,” it is a backdoor attempt at gun prohibition.

          Another point of argument is that background checks do not actually STOP criminals from obtaining guns. They merely REDIRECT their efforts for obtaining them. Criminals who can’t get a weapon through a background check either obtain them illegally (via theft or via a friend or family member) or they use an alternative weapon (e.g. a knife, a fake gun, their fists) to commit crimes.

          In short …. they are ineffective at their purported goal, and do more to hinder law-abiding citizens than they do to stop criminals. But hey … those who favor big government follow this mantra all the time, right? It’s not working, so we need MORE of it.

        • He’ll, we don’t even do background checks on Presidential candidates. If we did, someone probably wouldn’t have passed (BHO).

        • Delmarva Chip wrote, “Another point of argument is that background checks do not actually STOP criminals from obtaining guns. They merely REDIRECT their efforts for obtaining them.”

          That is by far and away the best, most succinct way of illustrating why background checks are a waste of our very finite resources. I will shamelessly use that wording whenever I can.

        • Unfortunately, the last time I checked the NRA was still proud of its part in getting background checks instituted. It wasn’t even a case of “they were inevitable so we made sure they wouldn’t be as bad,” they were proud of supporting the checks.

          So I wouldn’t expect them to decide, now, that they had turned out to be a bad idea.

  1. I don’t know about mincemeat, but Kelly definitely came off stronger in that debate than he usually does, and Hutchinson seemed pretty bland. Of course, that wasn’t the whole interview, it started partway through and ran to the end. Maybe he did better in the section I didn’t see.

    I’m really disappointed that the girl in the video screenshot was not in the actual video. I was hoping she’d appear to brighten up an otherwise boring talking head shot.

  2. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Background checks are the wrong solution to the real problem which is our criminal justice system releasing violent criminals to the streets rather than keeping them behind bars.

    Once a prison turns a convict loose, that convict can immediately acquire a knife or hammer no questions asked and immediately assault a citizen. The criminal could also simply steal a firearm or purchase one illegally and assault a citizen. Or the criminal can purchase about $20 in parts from any good hardware store, make their own zip-gun in one afternoon, and assault a citizen. In other words BACKGROUND CHECKS DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO STOP VIOLENT CRIMINALS FROM HARMING GOOD CITIZENS!!!!!

    Given the monumental potential for abuse and tracking of background checks on good, honest citizens, we must eliminate background checks. Our nation functioned just fine without background checks for two centuries. And they are totally ineffective with regard to violent criminals. The answer is to simply keep those violent ex-convicts that we (society) do not trust in prison.

    • So what are you proposing? Scrub the “due process” clause from the Bill of Rights? Get rid of the 8th amendment? You seem pretty sensitive about your own rights yet cavalier about the rights of others. Just lock up every bad guy and potential bad guy just so you aren’t inconvenienced when you add to your home arsenal?

      This really is the crux of the matter. Obviously, having a lot of freedom and having wide-open access to all sorts of guns is why we have a gun violence epidemic in this country and why we have to put up with first grade students being gunned down in their classrooms. The rest of the civilized world has determined that controlling access to guns is the best solution, yet you would prefer to create a police state where “undesirables” are locked up.

      And that’s fine… but don’t pretend to be some sort of guardian of individual rights. You just want to sacrifice the rights of others to preserve your own.

  3. Background checks are illegal to mandate for private citizens. The government can justify (barely) making licensed dealers perform checks on persons they do business with. If the person filled out the forms correctly, what is to prosecute? They thought they were legal, now they know better. It is an asinine proposition. Even if they omitted data, they will claim they filled it out to the best of their recollection, so what is the point? Shall not be infringed needs to start meaning what it says.

  4. My gut tells me Mark Kelly is a “gun guy”. Maybe not as much as most of us, but a gun guy none the less. The reason he does these interviews and says what he does is he does not want to sleep of the couch when he gets home.

    Personally, I think he is a smart and likable guy. He is just a little p***y whipped. I think we all have been there. As my dad once told me “You always pay for ‘it'”.

    • There may be some ulterior motive, but I don’t believe for a minute his wife is the real driving force. It seems more like he parades her around, if anything.

    • Some criminals, Some criminals also call the cops on them selves. Despite this neither criminals stupidity or the back round check system have had any noticeable effect on crime have they?

      Are you suggesting that we enact/support sweeping legislation that harms many non criminals fails to effect most criminals but by sheer coincidence helps to catch out a hand full of hapless individuals? I don’t think that is funny at all.

  5. So what else is new. They supported the 1960’s NA act, and other unconstitutional anti 2A measures over the years. They also only get involved in suits around the time it gets to the Suprieme Court and only if they think they can win. While other groups start them and get them to the supreme court. FYI I am a life member of the NRA and have been for 18 some years.

  6. I think his point is if you aren’t going to prosecute current violations of the law why should we enact more burdensome laws that won’t do anything?

  7. Whenever the grabbers and so called news outlets talk about guns in America, who do they always blame for the country being awash in guns? The NRA. They’ve made missteps over the years. What group hasn’t? But they’re still worthy of support.

  8. They made this bed, accepting the Brady Bill’s background checks back in ’93.

    The last time I checked, it is currently 2013. Twenty years is a long time, and times change.

    Let’s talk about all the bad things that the NRA did in 1872. I’m sure that the NRA haters will find something. But let’s not talk about the NRA saving our asses in 2013. Because that’s sooooo yesterday.

    • Word. If you expect the NRA to be perfect, you’ll be disappointed. If you aren’t an NRA member, then you are not a legitimate gun rights activist. Join. Renew. Also, join the FPC, CalGuns, GOA, NSSF, and any other pro gun org you can find. Vote pro gun, write pro gun, and buy pro gun. All of these gun orgs should have 80 or 100 million members in this nation. If that was the case, we’d have constitutional carry and would likely eliminate the ATF. You could actually purchase and use a suppressor in a timely manner. Feinstein would shriek in dispair like the wicked witch of the west. I’ve got better things to do than to marinate in righteous indignation and mock those who fight for our rights.

        • I agree. As much as I don’t like them and their compromises, they are a lobbying force that are pro-gun. For that reason, I continue to be a member.

        • But we don’t do that. We eat our young. If the NRA isn’t in lockstep with every single point of every single thing I believe, then they are as anti-gun as the Bradys and deserve to die in a fire.

          Right?

          The left has it all over us when it comes to unity of purpose.

        • @Matt – I have been saying exactly that for years, on a whole host of issues. It doesn’t take much research, in the wake of any major national news event check out any of the traditional liberal news networks. You will hear the same talking points, in the same wording, often in the same order.

          On the flip side conservatives (libertarians, constitutionalists, whatever, not the point) can’t even agree when we agree.

  9. When will the NRA stop letting old rich white men be the face of the NRA? It boarders on incompetence- not a wonder Wayne Lapierre has become a laughing stock for the left. Get Colion Nior in there, and watch him make “mincemeat” of his opponents. We have the weapons- USE THEM!!!

  10. Fortunately or unfortunately, DC doesn’t deal in the currency of logical arguments, they deal in lobbyist powerbrokers. Join NRA. Join GOA. Join your state gun rights organizations.

  11. Mark Kelly said that criminals are thwarted from buying a gun because of background checks. On what planet? On this planet criminals have a myriad of illegal ways to obtain whatever weapons they choose. That’s why they’re called criminals. Laws? They don’t need no stinkin’ laws.

  12. Gun control activists want more background checks and then argue against voter id laws. Want amnesty for illegals and turn prisons into country clubs that drive up the costs to build and operate them because the prisoners have rights. They have tried and in a lot of cases legislated away any common sense left in this country

  13. sigh. If the Obama admin can come up with some good reasons why background checks are bad [for employment] why can’t the NRA?

    Personally I think the reason is that they want to leave room for negotiation, so that they can concede some ground to obtain things like universal concealed carry.

    I mean, about 2/3 of the names in the system are for nonviolent offenses [half, unlawful immigration, another 20-25% for drug offenses like pot]. If a violent offender is trying to buy a gun, if they are a real danger, do you think they should be out on the street in the first place?

    Drug dealers importing heroin into Chicago aren’t going to be deterred by background checks, nor will they register their guns. Out of the 12,000 guns recovered in DC crime since 2007, 37 were registered. Of those, less than a dozen resulted in convictions against the registered owner.

  14. AstroNUT baldy is a flunky opportunist who flounces his brain dead (before being shot) wife around like a convenient prop. He has no class, no ethics and no morals, meaning his is a perfect anti gun crusader for the leftist stooges who control him. He doesnt come off very smart after getting caught trying to straw purchase an AR15 for his commie crusade. Nuts to him and his D bag wife, who was a leftist anti Bill of Rights stooge before becoming the poster girl for the fact 9mm is a suck round.

  15. In the video Mark Kelly claims that NICS has prevented two million criminals from purchasing firearms since the launch of the system. I see two ginormous errors in that statement:

    First of all, he cannot claim that NICS prevented two million criminals from purchasing firearms because that system does NOT stop any of those two million criminals from purchasing a firearm on the streets from other criminals. All Kelly can correctly claim is that NICS redirected criminal purchases (as commenter Chip so eloquently stated above) away from retail businesses to the streets.

    More importantly, NICS denied two million purchases and a huge number of those denials were improper denials — meaning the system was in error and denied purchases to citizens who were not “prohibited persons”. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to know just how many denials were in error.

    • One way to know how many denials are in error is to see how many transactions eventually were approved following a denial. I’ve heard numbers ranging from 80% to as high as 95%.

      • This bothers me a little. Not enough to lose sleep over, but enough to elicit a “hmm…”

        If memory serves part of the initial promise of NICS was that all data regarding the check would be wiped immediately after the check was through. If they can provide numbers for denials, that means they’re hanging on to SOME data.

        Again, not an OMG, just a “hmmm…”

  16. I think Hutchinson’s point about DoJ needing to prosecute form liars is more about pointing out that the government is marginally competent in the first place for being derelect in enforcement of existing laws. That’s more an indictment of any proposed new laws than it is an endorsement of the background check law.

    As for the instant background check law, that was a compromise. The alternative was a five business day waiting period, and a background check. Now, I don’t believe there should be background checks at all, on both philosophical and practical grounds, but political realities dictate compromise sometimes. I’m not sure it’s fair to blame the NRA when they have zero votes and zero vetoes. But hey, as always, if anyone thinks they can do better, I invite them to build their own multimillion dollar and member organization and show ’em how it’s done.

  17. No one ever seems to mention that, from a scope of authority perspective, federal regulation of commercial sales is far different from fed regulation of private sales.

  18. Our system in New Zealand is that the Police operate a licensing system whereby a law abiding and mentally stable person can apply for a firearms license, and after passing a gun safety course and examination, and also an interview of family members and neighbors, a firearms license may be granted. Once he has a license, the person may then buy any firearms within the license category, but they have to show the seller their license. They also have to show the license when buying ammunition. People who trade in firearms outside their license can have the license revoked, also people who behave irresponsibly, or who threaten other people with firearms.

    Overall our system works very well, we have had no mass shootings since the system has been in place, and it is generally not a hassle acquiring firearms or ammunition. Our firearms must be housed in appropriate safes, so getting a big enough safe is important. Public safety is important. A license holder might theoretically go off the deep end, but there is no record of that happening. There is a great deal of education involved, and this takes care of most problems.

    • Sorry, there are a few instances where license holders have started either culling family members or shooting up the neighborhood, but these were quickly contained by the Police Armed Offenders Squad. These were extreme rarities.

      • Whoopdedo for your sheep infested crime free socialist paradise, lets park your utopian socialist wonderland on top of Mexico and see how well you do with a couple million unemployed illiterates inside your borders.

    • Also, we have a single State Government (one legislative chamber), and one national Police force, able to enforce firearms regulations in a uniform manner (so to speak). We lack a written Constitution, and our Bill of Rights misses several important features of the English 1689 Bill of Rights, included the right to armed self defense. But then we also lack the type of violent crime of the US, though our meth merchants are trying to catch up. Our racial divisions are less sharp, with reparations being made for the evils of the Colonial era. The native Maori have strong whanau (family) ties, and our Pacific population are generally laid back. There is a high degree of intermarriage and family connection in our small country.
      Most of us have gone to school in State schools where all classes and races mix. Ties with Mother England have drifted in the past 40 or so years, and we now all consider ourselves to be native New Zealanders. This helps keep the peace, though our recent Governments have increased the gap between rich and poor, which increases tensions. There is still no need to go armed in our country.

  19. Laws mean very little to criminals because the penalties we give them ARE THE WEAKEST on Earth. There is ZERO deterrent factor for most crimes. Take sex offences for instance. They get a slap on the wrist and then they are RELEASED to LIVE AMONGST SOCIETY AGAIN! Near YOUR HOUSE! Do a search for your area, you have some living nearby! They don’t care about having to register as offenders. They are free in short order.

    Our penalties are a joke and criminals KNOW IT.

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