It bears repeating: the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is an infringement on, and danger to, Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. This point seems to be lost on the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). “On Thursday Nov 21st 2013, Jake McGuigan, NSSF Director, Government Relations, State Affairs, testified before the State of Rhode Island’s Joint Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force,” their presser proclaims, “which is studying that state’s lack of compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). McGuigan told panel members, “federally prohibited people should be in the NICS system.” So, if Uncle Sam decides that it’s a good idea to . . .
prohibit anyone who’s been committed to a mental hospital from purchasing a firearm, the feds will have that info ready to go. Oh wait. That’s already established law; have a look at question 11f on ATF form 4473 (if you haven’t already done so dozens of times). I don’t suppose the industry lobby group has ever studied the political abuse of Russia’s mental health system to terrorize, imprison and eliminate (as in murder) dissidents. If the NSSF is historically aware, do they reckon it can’t happen here?
Check New Jersey’s mental health standard. The Garden State’s concealed carry permit application asks “Have you ever been attended, treated or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric conditions?”
What if the federal government follows NJ’s lead and decides that anyone who’s taken or is taking antidepressants shouldn’t be able to buy or indeed own or have access to a gun? That’s one in ten Americans. Not to mention the fact that this mental health demonization is bound to discourage mentally ill people—many of whom own guns—from seeking treatment? Talk about your law of unintended consequences . . .
The NSSF’s FixNICS campaign (a.k.a., “stop the crazies from buying a gun”) is nothing more that pro-gun agitprop. If NICS included the name of every American who’s ever been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution it would do nothing whatsoever to stop mentally unhinged people from committing atrocities.
Of course, that’s not the reason the NSSF is aiding and abetting lawmakers’ desire to be seen to be “doing something” about psycho-killers after the unfathomably horrific Sandy Hook slaughter. The FixNICS campaign motivated by the firearms industry lobby group’s desire to appear to be on the side of the angels. Or, if you prefer, to shake-off the idea that their members are death merchants happily supplying spree killers with weapons for mass murder.
FixNICS is also about preventing the feds from expanding background checks to all firearms sales. You know; we should FixNICS before we think about expanding it. Which is, you may recall, NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre’s position on the post-Newtown drive for universal background checks. Wrong. We should kill NICS before it kills us.
Our FixNICS effort is gaining ground. Several state legislatures have passed measures to improve the reporting of all records on prohibited persons, including adjudicated mental health records to NICS.
Still, it is a bit jarring when an anti-gun organization (with which we will continue to disagree on pretty much everything all the time) basically validates our arguments on correcting NICS. We will leave it to the commentators, such as Gun.com’s S.H. Blannelberry to point out that rare (but meaningful to policymakers) convergence of thought, as we continue to work on behalf of our members’ best interests.
While I love, support, cherish and honor the American gun industry, in this case their “members’ best interests” are not those of freedom-loving Americans. Or, if you prefer, if my enemies are for it, I’m against it. Period.