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kimber_blk_logo_smallOn Monday, RF asked whether or not we should ditch background checks entirely. I’m generally on the same wavelength, but the question of background checks isn’t quite as simple as we’d like it to be. Even as most Americans don’t favor “stricter gun control” they support current and “expanded background checks.”

That’s because people outside the gun rights community don’t view background checks as an end in and of themselves. They consider them a tool to accomplish a specific, desirable goal: to prevent murderers, drug dealers, wife-beaters and other ne’er-do-wells from buying a gun. As for convicted criminals released back into society, they’re probably up to no good. Just to be safe, they ought to be barred from legally buying a firearm.

Now, we can have a wonderful conversation well into a night involving cigars and Maker’s 46 about how effective background checks really are.

On the one hand, the research on the subject is politicized to the point of comedy (and, given how ineffective polling was this presidential election year, I’m not sure why any given statistical survey would have more solid results.) Certainly, a lot of ex-felons released back into society seem to have the sorts of connections that make it easy for them to procure firearms notwithstanding the law.

On the other hand, I’d be committing a lie of omission if I didn’t admit that there may indeed be some people who are deterred from even bothering to try to buy a firearm because they know that they had a one-off drug conviction in their misbegotten youth, or they’re in the country illegally and don’t have the correct papers.

I’m sure a certain class of ex-felon might be deterred from trying to buy a gun because of background checks: non-violent ex-felons who have successfully re-integrated into society, along the lines of Messrs. Binderup and Suarez, who prevailed upon a federal court to restore their rights some months ago. In other words: the sorts of people who would be deterred by the law are the sorts of people who might actually be responsible gun owners.

Setting aside convicted felons, consider the other types of American citizens who are barred from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922:

– An American who smokes a joint on the weekend. Under federal law they’re barred from owning a gun. How is this materially different than someone who enjoys a glass of bourbon with dinner on the weekend?

– A person adjudicated to be “mentally defective.” Shouldn’t they be institutionalized and in the care of a competent medical professional until they are no longer judged such? And once they’re no longer “defective” shouldn’t they have the same rights and responsibilities as any other citizen?

– Illegal immigrants. If the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of personal self-defense is a human right, don’t we have to respect that for everyone–even illegals? While they may be subject to deportation after due process for violating our immigration laws, what’s wrong with them exercising the right to freedom of speech, religion, due process or keeping and bearing arms?

America has a laundry list of people permanently banned from owning firearms, without sufficient recourse to remedy their legal disability. Many of those categories feel like they were created to make it easier for police to arrest someone who they suspect is a bad apple. To raise the stakes in the inevitable plea bargain. At the same time, many of these laws were created by grandstanding legislators; demagogues ready, willing, and able to betray their sworn oath to the Constitution in pursuit of political power.

Instead of getting caught up in the weeds over background checks, why don’t we push the real issue? Isn’t the real problem not straw purchasers or gun show “loopholes” or certain types of firearms or magazines, but the fact that society’s wasting precious time, money, and effort to enforce a ban that can’t be effectively enforced?

Background checks are a manifestation of our problem with both practicality (arrest all gun-owning dope smokers?) and priorities (what good would it do?). Law enforcement shouldn’t be charged with enforcing the dozens of largely ineffectual prohibitions on firearms possession, sale, and ownership as contained in 18 U.S.C. § 922. Instead, they should be focusing on crimes of violence and theft that actually impact the lives, health, and safety of our citizenry.

A man can dream, right?

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59 Responses to Kimber Gun Rights Bulletin: The Real Problem with Background Checks

    • Wish I could upvote/like this comment more.

      Currently in a coffee shop in LA, on Gun forums and editing my ammo site. Love the ’emotional’ looks I am receiving right now. Such sheep.

  1. No, Illegals are criminals are they are breaking the law to be here.

    But nothing, Why in the sam Hell should we allow people who are trespassing to be armed? In the past we called that “Invasion”. Enough of this mental AIDS.

    They are going back, they have no rights, but nothing. If we do not send them back soon they will be turned into voters via some Leftist granting Amnesty and with 30 million welfare voters freashly minted (say nothing of the current number of illegals voting) you can kiss your gun rights goodbye.

    • Look up “inalienable.”

      Those rights transcend citizenship of any particular country, and are to only be removed in the most extreme cases after due process.

      Once again, it amazes me how some “conservatives” completely miss the boat on conservative values.

      • Letting them carry weapons just gives Americans the justification to shoot them as an invading army, which they are.

      • Right? Some people (eve around here) love to claim that certain freedoms don’t apply to everyone, and the complain when their own rights are violated. Here’s the deal: if you advocate for the restriction of the rights of others, you lose the moral high ground to complain when others do the same to you.

        • Screw the “moral High Ground”, what good is it?

          It does not help us in any real way. Why not fight to win instead of fighting to be like by the enemy?

          More over, no one has the right to be above the law, or violate the sovereignty of author nation.

      • This whole aliens-not-allowed-guns thing:

        There are multiple categories of aliens.

        Some are green card holders: one their way to be one of us.

        Some are refugees, I mean the REAL refugees, those whole betrayed their countries for our benefit.

        Some are work/study permit holders: they are here because they provide economical benefit to us. We control whether they can stay here or not.

        And then there are the illegals: they INVADED our land, because they felt like it. Round them up, kick them out. Period.

        Other than the last category, I see nothing wrong with them having weapons like the rest of us.

      • I am not Conservative you moron, who would fight for the rights of invaders?

        Who? Why?

        But hey, keep cucking yourself.

    • We don’t use the excuse of “lawbreakers” to infringe on anyone’s right in the other 9 bill of rights, why 2A? And do illegal aliens have no right to free speech, or religion?

      Plus, didn’t we all break several laws today? Roll a stop sign, speed, tear the tag off a cushion? If that’s all it takes to take away a fundamental right, we’re all screwed. Unwinnable argument.

    • Even your allies are not allowed to carry there. Would be nice if your constitution would also protect the rights of Canadian visitors.

  2. “Even as most Americans don’t favor “stricter gun control” they support current and “expanded background checks.””
    This is a bad sign.
    It will require a lot of attention and effort to correct the misconceptions that underlie that mindset.
    It is essential that those who “don’t favor “stricter gun control”” are clear on the fact that “expanded background checks.” ARE “stricter gun control”.

  3. Gun rights for illegals? Sure, and maybe we should grant them the vote, free college tuition, an Obamaphone and welfare.

    Wait a second. Didn’t we just voted against that bvllsh!t? Yeah, I’m pretty sure we did.

    • I don’t think anyone things Illegal should have gun rights (except maybe they should go home and have them there). The question is how much are we willing to infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep those illegals from obtaining firearms illegally.

      • I’d rather allow the illegals to have guns than allow the very enemy my guns are for control whether I can have guns or not.

        For the illegals: arrest and deport on sight. Period.

        But no, I don’t support universal ID checkpoints or random home inspections to weed out illegals. I’d rather have illegals in my house than the local SWAT team.

        Sometimes I suspect our open border is a step in a ploy to gather public support for even greater govt control.

        • Arrest and deport on sight?

          I still wonder why people aren’t proposing putting them to work building a certain wall.

    • The right to self defense is a natural right, not one given by the government or the Constitution. Whether a person is here legally or illegally they have the same right as everyone else to defend their own person and their family. As I noted in a previous post, punish the criminal for his crime, not for a tool.

      Illegal immigrants should be identified and dealt with on the basis of that crime. Forcing them to live in the shadows of their new illegal status and leaving them unarmed in the meanwhile seems a bit of a draconian punishment for their crime.

      And as noted elsewhere, ad nauseum, on this blog, if they want/need a gun they will find a way to get one, NICS be damned.

      • Our primary objective is to deport these invaders.

        But no matter what I won’t support background checks. The gobbermint is a much bigger threat than some mexicans.

      • What shadows? I see them on tv or reading articles about them shouting how how afraid they are…Screw them.

        What about Americans living in fear as they can not afford to flee an never end wave of 3rd worlders?

  4. All that needs to be said is that prior restraint on constitutionally guaranteed rights is unconstitutional.
    They can no more require you to pass a criminal background check to buy a gun than they can require you to pass a literacy test to vote.

      • Politicians do not live up to their oath to protect and defend the Constitution and SCOTUS has a political agenda that only occasionally aligns with the Constitution.

      • Sam I Am,

        FedUp and Cliff H are both right. The various prior-restraint firearm laws are unconstitutional and should not exist. Unfortunately, politicians, bureaucrats, and Supreme Court justices have political agendas which they prioritize over the Constitution and common decency.

        • No disagreement, but stating “can’t”, when the thing currently exists deflates the logic. “should not be able to” (or the like) would present better, more accurately and persuasively. Declaring that which is, “can’t be” makes look foolish, strident and desperate at the same time.

        • Simply saying “they can’t” have/make/pass this law or that because…unconstitutional, doesn’t make it so. Sounds just like whining of the anti-gun and other special snowflakes. The claim “they can’t” carries with it the delusion that because “they can’t”, the laws are unenforceable and safely ignored. All of which takes focus off means and methods of overturning said laws (actually, as individuals can do little; well-funded organizations are needed to carry the battle).

        • Sam, I think you didn’t read what I wrote. Here it is again:
          “Oh, Sam, how naive can you be? Surely, you can’t possibly think all laws are legal, or even constitutional?”

          I stand by that.
          Note, I didn’t say that they can’t pass laws that are unconstitutional. What I said is that you can’t be so naive as to believe that all laws are legal or unconstitutional. Nothing about laws being ignored or unenforceable. Not even anything about such illegal or unconstitutional laws not being able to be overturned.

          My comment was brought on by yours, to wit:
          “If you are correct, how is it we have so many of the laws you say they can’t have?”
          My answer is that no one, not even you, can possibly think we can have laws that should not have been passed.
          Or do you think that?

        • “Can’t” make laws speaks to ability, not suitability, probability, or moral propriety. “Shouldn’t be able to…” is another matter, altogether. In addition, “unconstitutional” or “illegal” laws are for courts to decide, until the people decide to overthrow the government and establish a new one. My original point was/is that when whatever law someone thinks “can’t” be passed, because of opposition to the law, IS passed and on the books, saying “can’t” is meaningless.

          Do so-called “bad” laws get on the books? Yes. Do some laws on the book need to be challenged as to their basic legality? Yes. Does railing that whomever “can’t” pass some law because it is claimed to be illegal/unconstitutional accomplish anything? No. Do any laws on the books become null and void because some of us ‘gun nuts’ on a blog don’t like them? No.

          A law that “can’t” be passed, cannot be passed; physical impossibility. A law that “shouldn’t” be passed because some deem that law illegal/unconstitutional is a whole ‘nuther thing, all together. And even then, minus a successful revolt, a law that on its face violates clear language in the constitution (like, say, servitude for a period) requires initiating the legal process that puts the courts in the position of making the determination of whether that law is void.

          Language has meaning. Americans are sloppy with language, to their detriment, because sloppy language is the result of sloppy thinking, which leads to unfocused efforts.

    • Literacy tests were eliminated by the voting rights act, an act of Congress (not a Constitutional issue). So, theoretically, the government could reinstate them; all it would take would be a vote.

  5. Background checks are part of a layered defense — the very first layer which is always the easiest.

    We used to have a light armored cavalry screen along the border with the Warsaw Pact. They would have been totally ineffective in stopping an invasion. Does that mean that it was just theater?

    Forcing criminals to take extrodinary steps to get a gun creates multiple opportunities to stop them. Of course it would help if the Feds enforced the law when a felon is dumb enough to go through the system.

    • From the article:

      “America has a laundry list of people permanently banned from owning firearms, without sufficient recourse to remedy their legal disability. Many of those categories feel like they were created to make it easier for police to arrest someone who they suspect is a bad apple. To raise the stakes in the inevitable plea bargain. At the same time, many of these laws were created by grandstanding legislators; demagogues ready, willing, and able to betray their sworn oath to the Constitution in pursuit of political power.”

      Note “…laundry List of people permanently banned…”

      If you concede that the same government the Second Amendment was intended to protect you from has the authority to create, maintain and enforce LISTS OF PERSONS who, in the opinion of that same government may not exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally rptoected right to keep and bear arms, how will you keep your name off of those lists?

      • > If you concede that the same government the Second Amendment was intended to protect you from has the authority to create, maintain and enforce LISTS OF PERSONS who, in the opinion of that same government may not exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally rptoected right to keep and bear arms, how will you keep your name off of those lists?

        He doesn’t. The whole point of that arrangement is to be the one in charge of making the lists (or at least be in good standing with those guys). Then you can put all your enemies there, and enjoy smug superiority as you are armed and they are not, giving you the upper hand.

        Exactly how it worked in Jim Crow South, in other words.

        And exactly the kind of platform that Trump was elected on. Do you think his support of terrorist watchlist gun ban scheme was incidental?

    • tdiinva,

      “The ends justifies the means” is fine unless the “means” involves prior restraint of an inalienable right.

      The root problem is government policies that:
      (a) reward irresponsible behavior, and
      (b) fail to keep violent criminals in prison

      The solution is equally simple. Our government should:
      (a) stop rewarding irresponsible behavior (e.g. stop paying women to have children)
      (b) keep violent criminals in prison
      (c) prosecute young people for child abuse/neglect when those young people fail to provide a minimum level of food/care for their children or when those young people create an emotionally toxic environment for their children

      And before anyone screams and cries that young people should be able to have sex with anyone and everyone without any responsibility for any resultant pregnancies … why? If I conduct any other activity irresponsibly and that irresponsible activity causes physical/psychological injury to someone, I face criminal prosecution. Why is it any different if I shack up with someone, we bring a child into the world, and one or both of us raise the child in an environment that causes physical injury (failure to provide basic food) or psychological injury?

      If young people want to shack up and bring a baby into the world, then those young people can work full time (whether a single full time job or two part time jobs that add up to full time) to provide for the physical well being of that child … or else they go to prison.

      • Your entire response is a non sequitur. I was merely pointing out that no one expects background checks to stop felons from procuring firearms any more than USAEUR expected a company of cavalry scouts to stop a Soviet tank division. The objective is to make it harder and/orcreate oport unites to interdict them. If you think it is easier for a felon to buy a weapon on the blackk market than walking into your local gun store why aren’t you doing it? It most states it wouldn’t be illegal.

        We all like to brag that concealed carriers are the most law abiding group of people in the country but we forget why that it is so. It is a right restricted to the law abiding. When we finally get universal carry concealed carriers will be no more law abiding than the general population. I’m good with that but I am also realistic. If you are good with a criminal buying gun along side you at your LGS I am good with that too. But just remember he isn’t buying it to exercise his rights. He is buying to gice you a better opportunity to exercise your right to self defense.

        • tdiinva,

          I do not necessarily agree that background checks increase a criminal’s difficulty to obtain a firearm. It merely eliminates one distribution channel among many possible distribution channels. Think about it this way. Suppose that always purchase all of your gasoline from the gasoline station that is closest to your home. If that gasoline station will no longer sell you gasoline for some reason, does that increase your difficulty of obtaining gasoline when you can drive down the road a couple miles to the next gasoline station?

          And we can even take the gasoline example further … to a closer analog to background checks and firearm purchases from federal firearm licensees. Suppose by some magic that you cannot ever purchase gasoline ever again from any gasoline station. (This is analogous to you being unable to purchase firearms at any federal firearm licensee because you will forever fail the background check.) Is that a big deal if you only need to purchase 1 gallon of gasoline every 10 years? (This is analogous to you only needing to purchase 1 firearm every 10 years for criminal purposes.) Obviously not. You would simply wait for an opportune situation to siphon 1 gallon of gasoline from the gasoline tank of someone’s car, or steal a 1 gallon gasoline container from someone’s shed/garage, or pay a friend to acquire 1 gallon of gasoline from a gasoline station.

          My point is that background checks are not even a speed bump to felons who want to obtain firearms. If background checks are thus utterly and totally ineffective — which includes the fact that they do not increase the difficulty of obtaining a firearm in any meaningful way — why not get rid of them and apply the resources, which are currently wasted on background checks, to something productive?

        • tdiinva,

          “If you think it is easier for a felon to buy a weapon on the black market than walking into your local gun store why aren’t you doing it? It most states it wouldn’t be illegal.”

          Felons have many friends and acquaintances with similar “interests” and “life experiences”. I can assure you that felons can find black market firearms just as easily as hardcore drug users can find black market drugs.

          In my case specifically, I have purchased firearms in private sales from private sellers. I would take private sales from private sellers every time over sales from a federally licensed firearms dealer. The only reason I ever purchase firearms from federally licensed dealers is when I cannot find them from private sellers or if a federally licensed dealer offers the same firearm for less money than a private seller.

          If I can easily find private firearms for sale from private sellers, why would a felon have a hard time?

    • “…Forcing criminals to take extrodinary steps to get a gun”

      The NICS does not in any way force criminals to steps and does even less towards extraordinary steps. Criminals do not need to comply at any level with the rules of the background check system.

  6. I know I’m supposed to stay on subject, but reading that made me think of something else. We need a constitutional amendment prohibiting any and all plea bargains. Accused can choose between trial by judge or trial by jury, but there will be a trial before there is punishment. As I understand it, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners under life sentence without a trial, because someone convinced them they would be sentenced to death if they went to trial. If I were innocent, or if I were guilty, you couldn’t get *me* to go for that, at least not before you had kept me in a stress situation for 24 hours straight, or so.

    Everybody knows that proposal is impossible, the justice system would lock up solid. Yup, right up until we started prioritizing our laws. After that, the next trial for drug possession would be in the next millennium. Literally. You were carrying a loaded SAW? And what? Nothing? So what? Dismissed. Half our laws carrying prison time would be gone in under a year, half the rest in another. We would get down to laws that actually are important!

    Robbery, burglary, theft, assault, kidnapping, rape, murder. Any others would fight for position. We could knock a few years off law school, since 90% of laws just disappeared. Seems worth considering.

    • We definately have too many laws. Though not a religious argument, ten is probably much closer to the optimal number than ten thousand.

      Throwing out unenforced, unenforceable and unnecessary restrictions on our liberty would have the added benefit of giving law makers, attorneys, judges and police agencies lots of free time as well. Their energies could be directed therefore to more fulfilling work.

    • What are you, against equal treatment under the law?
      Just think of plea bargaining as an affirmative action program under which the guilty and the innocent are guaranteed equal punishment…what can be more Democratic than that?

  7. Illegal immigrants. If the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of personal self-defense is a human right, don’t we have to respect that for everyone–even illegals? While they may be subject to deportation after due process for violating our immigration laws, what’s wrong with them exercising the right to freedom of speech, religion, due process or keeping and bearing arms?
    illegals want rights go home where you belong and deserve to be.
    this is as stupid as those idiots who say we should be like Europe but they never move there.

    • Care to explain your position? The author clearly stated his and then backed it up with a well-articulated opinion. Can you do the same? Or are you one of those people who thinks calling the other side “stupid” is the ultimate proof that they are wrong?

  8. I’m from the rare breed of let’s just leave most everything how it is in most states. We need to force the commi states like Massachusetts, California, NJ, NY etc. to follow the 2nd like the vast majority of states in our union. With the exception of reciprocal carry permits, sound suppressors being treated like long guns and clarification on “gun free zones.” We do need to get those through if all possible. We can do some give and take with increased Planned Parenthood funding and other liberal jargon to get the stuff passed. But just leave our current background check system the way it is and barely enforce it. It’s not a real infringement and private sales are legal and should be again in the commi states. Plus it gives idiots a sense of perceived safety which is important to those people.

    • “it gives idiots a sense of perceived safety which is important to those people.”

      To me, this is the only reason to maintain our current background check system. It keeps the sheep stupid, calm and pliable.

  9. Form 4473 is the equivalent of the Future Crimes Bureau arriving late to the crime scene but marginalizing the un-criminal common citizen as a way to propagate its own authority.

  10. You want logic …. if we diverted the money spent on the background check system and ATF, we could have thousands more LEO’s on the street. How many real crimes will they stop, compared to the Malum Prohibitum crimes the ATF chases.

    The Background Check System isn’t going away. The NRA and gun retailers love it!

    There are some changes that could make it beneficial to Liberty and us:

    1) Allow interstate purchases of firearms when background checks are run. A New Yorker should be able to buy a gun in Alabama! The system is based on a Federal Database. Right? Why the limit?

    2) Replace the Trust silliness and CLEO sign off for the NFA ’34 taxed items with the Background Check System. The reason those procedures were put in place was because we didn’t have a criminal database in 1934.

    3) Repeal the 5 year License Term limit for use of a carry license in lieu of a background check. The ATF has been using this provision to discourage states who want to go to longer licensing terms.

    4) The gun sale records should only be retained long enough to confirm the Retailer’s compliance with the law. 1 year is enough time for the ATF to spot check and audit dealers. After the 1 year, the records should be destroyed. Restore our privacy by prohibiting the ATF from creating a gun owner database in any form.

    5) Allow for background checked adults to receive firearms via the mail and from out of state by creating an optional mini-FFL for pre-screened background checked citizens

  11. The background check for guns is anything but. It’s nothing going more than a list lookup. A real background check is an investigation across many areas cumulative in an assessment score based on several factors.
    That being said a lot of people are putting too much faith in nothing at all.
    Should the government clear gun owners or purchases? It’s doubtful they can assure a person is not a risk. Should we do away with background checks? If we do we run the risk of losing everything since people will demand assurances that guns are being regulated. Doesn’t matter what the US CONSTITUTION says.

    So maybe we should stick with the current theater and punish the bad act (ors) properly.

  12. From a personal viewpoint I would like long term visitors to be able to buy firearms and carry legally.

    We will be in USA for 4 months next year and there is no provision I have ever found for legal visitors to obtain carry permit.

    I have had one of those rare Australian carry permits for years due to work but not able to use in USA

  13. How ever did this country manage to survive two wars of secession (both the “Revolutionary War” and “Civil” War” were such wars), separate wars with Great Britain, Mexico and Spain, World Wars I & II and the Korean War without ever having background checks for firearms purchases? And, horror of horrors, once a person finished a prison sentence all of their civil rights were returned to them and that person could then, again, purchase firearms.

    I mean, before background checks over half the population could have been at risk of getting murdered. It’s a wonder any of us old farts ever made it to middle age.

  14. Hi James

    Thanks for tip.

    As far as I can find if I have pre booked a hunting trip I can bring rifle for that depending on state. AZ ok last time but forget California

    Plus some states have extra fees for visitors. 20 times more in some cases

    We were planning to start in Seattle and just wander until we go home. That idea seems to much for officials to accept.

  15. I want Rice Checks, Corn Checks, heck, even Wheat Checks, but no more background checks. How can they ever detect what a person decides to do in the future? It should be pretty simple; Did you ever keep an email server in your hous… oh wait, I mean: Were you ever convicted of a violent crime against others? Yes? No? This is the extent of the background check.

    If you are former military, your background check is waved for the next 5 years, along with all NFA taxation, and registration fees, and any other methods of infringement cannot be used against you.
    Do you vote with a historically anti-2nd Amendment political party, if so, before purchasing a firearm, you MUST undertake a certified 60 hour course on which political parties support it and what that means for you.

  16. For me it is simple, the system does not work. False positives are rampant which denies a fundamental right to citizens because of bureaucratic sloth.

    http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/2011/06/problem-with-brady-background-checks.html

    Still that isn’t the end of the story. Of these 4,681 referrals, over 51 percent, or 2,390 cases, involve “delayed denials,” cases where a check hasn’t even been completed. Of the rest, 2,291 covered cases where initial reviews indicated that the person should have been denied buying a gun. But the government admits that upon further review another 572 of these referrals were found “not [to be] a prohibited person,” leaving about 4,154 cases. That implies an initial false positive rate of roughly 94.2%. And it still doesn’t mean that the government hasn’t made a mistake on the remaining cases. In some cases for example, a person’s criminal record was supposed to be expunged, and it had not been?

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