Facts. Tricky little buggers. Truth be told, they’re easily manipulated. For example, over at Oregon’s registerguard.com, Democratic State Senator Floyd Prozanski asserts that “According to Oregon State Police data, an average of 180 gun purchases were denied each month over the past three years. In the same period, more than 21,400 lawful transfers occurred monthly. That’s right: Each month 21,400 lawful gun transfers took place with background checks. It works!” Wait. That’s an awful small number of people denied a gun purchase, statistically speaking. Pish-posh says our Floyd . . .
Even though the denials make up less than 1 percent of the lawful transfers, they represent individuals who we do not want to have access, let alone easy access, to guns: murderers, rapists, domestic assaulters and meth addicts. Background checks screen out the bad guys.
Really? How many of those denials were false positives? Well we don’t know, do we? But this much is true: Floyd doesn’t tell us. Nor does he mention how many of these assumedly prohibited persons – murderers, rapists, domestic assaulters and meth addicts – were arrested for attempting to purchase a firearm illegally. Here’s my guess: none.
While it is true that many local law enforcement agencies do not have the resources to follow up every incident, we can all be thankful that nearly 2,000 offenders were denied gun purchases in 2014.
See! It doesn’t matter! The group must include ONE dangerous prohibited person. And if ONE bad guy’s stopped from buying a gun, it’s worth it! Because there’s no way – no way whatsoever – they could have gone on to buy a gun (or steal one) illegally.
John “More Guns Less Crime” Lott has crunched the numbers for the efficacy of background checks generally. Here’s what he found [via AWR Hawkins at breitbart.com]:
Of the 76,142 background checks denials in 2010, many were cleared up after the “initial” denial, 44 were prosecuted, and “only 13 [people] were convicted of illegally trying to purchase a gun when they were prohibited from doing so.” And the 13 who were convicted were people “with relatively trivial records from years earlier that didn’t realize their offense was covered” by a background check when they went to buy a gun: “hardly what one would call dangerous criminals.”
Lott then adds the clincher: “There is no real scientific evidence among criminologists and economists that background checks actually reduce crime.” He points to a 2004 National Academy of Sciences panel that specifically concluded Brady Law background checks “did not reduce violent crime, not even a single category of violent crime.”
Huh. Time to wave the bloody shirt then . . .
My sister was murdered by a felon in 1973, and I have owned guns for 45 years. Like the vast majority of Oregonians, including other gun owners, I believe we need to take reasonable steps to limit felons and individuals suffering mental illness from gaining access to guns. SB 941 will help keep guns out of dangerous hands. It will close the remaining loophole in Oregon’s successful background check law.
I wonder if the felon who murdered Senator Floyd’s sister – and we’re sorry for his loss – passed a background check. Wanna bet?