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God bless the Gun Owners of America. Where the National Rifle Association considers the Brady Bill – mandating an FBI background check for the purchase of any firearm from a federal firearm licensee – above political reproach, the GOA is happy to point out that the entire system is a fraud. An unconstitutional, expensive piece of security theater that creates a federal gun registry (form 4473) enabling gun confiscation. The GOA may always live off the crumbs falling from the NRA’s table, but they provide food for the souls of gun rights absolutists everywhere.

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  1. >”Where the National Rifle Association considers the Brady Bill – mandating an FBI background check for the purchase of any firearm from a federal firearm licensee – above political reproach, the GOA is happy to point out that the entire system is a fraud.”

    That is because it is, attempting to attack the Brady Bill for the sake of attacking the Brady Bill, is a losing proposition in the eyes of the general public. Remember the 92% of people supporting background checks, that number is a fraud because they are using it to support the Universal Background checks, but background checks for gun purchases has wide spread support.

    Now using the Brady Bill uselessness to point out that Universal Background check schemes are pointless is a good idea, and the NRA has been using the lack of prosecution for failed background checks as evidence of that.

  2. the 72k+ denials is a rich target. while only 0.012034 percent of applicatins, cannot one claim that the result is 72 thousand badguys who were prevented from committing crimes using guns? any average citizen would consider 72,000 non events (crimes committed) is a big number, and if projected that each event would be death or injury to at least one person… get the idea. i want to know who those 72,000 were and why they were denied. those folks are the stat we need to counter.

    • Does that 72k figure include mistaken identities? I’ve seen old timers’ forms get kicked out because their parents didn’t give them a middle name.

    • John Lott has reported that almost all these denials are false-positives. Such denials are due to lots of reasons. An innocent gun buyer and a convicted felon who have the same name. A gun buyer who had an arrest but no disposition was filed. Maintaining the NICS database is a mammoth undertaking. It should be done; it should be done better; but, it can’t possibly be done perfectly. (I’m speaking here of the need for such a consolidated database for law-enforcement purposes. We can’t expect cops to send thousands of messages to court houses throughout the US to check the priors on a suspect.)
      – – – No sane convicted felon would try to buy a gun at a gun store knowing he will be subjected to a NICS check. Once he has filled out the form he has just committed another paperwork crime for which he could easily be convicted. The number prosecuted is probably a modest fraction of the number of felons stupid enough to try. Lots of others are apt to be people who had a conviction long ago and didn’t think it applied any more; most of these probably aren’t especially troublesome. The vast majority are false-positives.

      • thank you for the information. the matter at hand is not actally stats and dats, but emotional response. the data indicates that it is better mistakes prevent some non-bad guys while also insuring some bad guys are caught. you see, if all those 72,000 or 34,000 denials were good guys, then the system works because bad guys avoid it because they might rightly fall into the denials…and resulting processes. better some good guys get hassled, than any significant number of bad guys get through. if it saves the life of even one child….and that sort of thing.

      • True, though the false positives would be considered a plus rather than a minus by many gun control advocates.

      • This.

        My purchase of a Savage 110 BA got delayed several weeks due to a false positive. My complete “arrest record” consists of two speeding tickets. I believe one was in 1997 on one in 1999, which have subsequently fallen off of my record. A proper search and subsequent result should reveal nothing. However, mistakes in the system cause delays and improper denials. Of course, the system is actually set up for denial, in that it is a “guilty until proven innocent” process. If the system is down due to technical issues, you are *presumed guilty* until proven innocent.

        Besides, felons tend to be on searchable probation or parole. When they have contact with police – again – doing a search of their person and their vehicle is not terribly difficult.

        • Wait, I thought the rule was that the purchase may go through if NICS comes back with a “Proceed”, or after three business days, whichever comes first, even if there’s nothing conclusive from NICS by that third business day. If that’s accurate, then wouldn’t the default be innocent until proven guilty, at least after providing for the three business days?

      • Every one of those 72,000 should have gone to prison or been judged not guilty for some reason. The idea of simply ignoring all those felonies is reprehensible, as well as the fact I don’t believe it. If 72,000 normal people were suddenly scooped up and prosecuted for attempting to buy a gun, finally we’d have some visibility for this stupid law, perhaps even get rid of it. Fine firearms are far cheaper out of a car trunk, without paperwork, and you can get ’em so fresh the owner doesn’t even know they’re gone yet. Drop ALL purchase restrictions, save buckets of money, and execute any convicted felons found in possession of firearms. That gets nowhere near violating the 2A, saves a huge amount of time, money, and frustration, and I’ll bet money that violent crime rates would not change noticeably.

    • Denial means anyone stopped by the system.
      The brady bill is only a non-infringement if most of the people denied are actually incapable of owning a firearm. As you can see, the vast, vast, vast majority of all people stopped by the system have not committed a crime and would be eligible to purchase a firearm if the system wasn’t broken.

      As with any system, we can expect a few mistakes. However, only 6% of people stopped by the system were convicted of trying to buy a firearm when they can’t. That’s not 6% of people scanned; that’s 6% of people whose rights were restricted by being denied firearms.
      .0007% of people whose names were scanned and put in a database (ATF can steal the forms from the gun stores at request) were not supposed to own firearms and were caught. What does that say about the bill?

    • I have ad friends who submitted and the system came up false positive. Sometimes the same people submitted later and the transaction went through. I am really with the GOA on this one.

    • You must believe the lie that ALL CRIMINALS purchase their guns from gun stores then.
      NEWSFLASH: they steal them, or buy them in a back alley from someone else who stole them.
      This kind of mindlessness is what is wrong with America today.

      • hi,

        not looking at the 72k as a useful number, just noting it is a number the presents the anti gang fodder for ‘proving’ background checks work. here’s how it works….if i make a claim, and you are the responder, the burden of turning the conversation around is on you. if i have a stat that looks really bad for your side, i have the emotional advantafe as well. the low information citizen does not care what the details of the stat are, only that whoever struck first has the valid arguement; responders are thus not legitimate. trying to point out here that we need something other than raw facts to sway opinion, because the issue is not logic… feeling good about one’s self.


      • I don’t think that the point is that “ALL criminals buy their guns” from FFLs. I very much doubt that anyone believes that; not even the Anti’s.
        – – – I think that when Congress passed the BC law based upon a NICS database they made a political decision. One source of supply to criminals was the neighborhood FFL. Whether FFLs were a major/minor/negligible source to criminals was probably not-well-understood. Nor, was it relevant to a political decision. Congress decided to do SOMEthing; and, the FFL NICS check was a measure they could adopt to placate the Brady-bunch while not enraging the PotG (as represented by the NRA). Was it a rational decision? Politically, yes; objectively, probably very hard to determine. We PotG doubt it. Politically, could we get the FFL NICS check rolled-back? Probably not.
        – – – Congress – WISELY – did not (in the 1990s) decide to go so far as to regulate private transfers. Indeed, they did not even go so far as to regulate an FFL customer buying for the purpose of a gift or raffle award. If you discount Abramski, Congress didn’t even go so far as to explicitly prohibit buying on behalf of another 2A-able person (e.g,: “Be a good neighbor and run downtown. Pick me up a 6-pack of Colt 45 and a 1911.”)
        – – – The primary beneficiary – if there is one – of the FFL NICS check is that it draws a legal line between the legitimate retail market for guns vs. the black market. In response to the Anti’s whine that anyone can walk-out of a gun store with a gun and ammo we can justifiably respond: “Sure, provided you have lived a LIFETIME of abiding by the law, maintaining mental hygiene and perfect domestic tranquility. One recorded infraction of any of the above and the answer is: Denied!” For all the money the general tax-payers spend on NICS, we the PotG enjoy the PR benefits with some inconvenience for all but a very few of us. It’s not a perfect world.
        – – – The new cry is for U-BC (Universal Background-Checks). The NICS system for FFLs having been fully deployed (for all it’s faults), this extension logically comes-up. The question facing us is what are WE going to do about it?
        – – – To my mind, there are 2 NON-negotiables. ZERO impact on temporary transfers (loans). I’m not going to jail because I neglected to jump through hoops when I loaned a gun to a friend or relative. ZERO potential for creating a back-door to a registration scheme. Any hint of either of these and U-BCs are a dead-letter. If this is what the Anti’s insist on then they will have to settle for nothing whatsoever.
        – – – With respect to a permanent transfer (a sale, possibly a gift) I can be open-minded. First principle should be: “no-harm/no-foul”. If the transferee is 2A-able then there is no violation for a permanent transfer without doing a BC. The subject for discussion is how a transferOR can assure himself that the transferEE is 2A-able; i.e., how to do a consumer-friendly BC.
        – – – The simple showing of a current CWP/FOID serves that purpose and solves many cases.
        – – – Gun-show operators can operate NICS-Check desks and print BC certificates good for the show.
        – – – I’d like to see a BC system available to any consumer, whether seller or buyer. IF there is a legitimate objection to such a system then we might contemplate a somewhat restricted access system. E.g., police stations, notary publics and FFLs might print NICS-Check certificates good for 90 days. Such agencies can provide assurances that the person requesting the certificate is one-in-the-same as the person being BC’ed. Provided that is ALL they have to do (e.g., transcribe the person’s drivers license info to the NICS-check screen) they ought to be able to do so very economically. A buyer could make as many copies as he wishes so we aren’t looking at a per-gun transaction cost.
        – – – I hasten to add that I harbor ZERO delusion that a U-BC will constrain the black-market supply. What is not supplied by private sales will be displaced by burglaries, smuggling or cottage industry.
        – – – The SOLE justification for BCs on private transfers is PR. It should quiet (but not remove) the discussion of the “gun-show loophole”. We will simply be on to the next issue the Anti’s want to raise. Here is where we PotG need to think. If we concede to a modest provision for BCs on private transfers, will that dampen the public appetite for gun control? The Anti’s will never rest; however, the uncommitted public may grow weary of creeping regulation. If a given regulatory topic is covered “well-enough” in the public mind, they are apt to leave well-enough alone. Conversely, if the Anti’s can convince enough of the uncommitted public that something more “MUST be done!” on U-BCs, then we might be forced to live under the Antis’ bill rather than one we draft ourselves.

  3. They aren’t wrong… this time.

    The source I cite is from a WaPo factchecker article:

    It’s an inconvenient truth® that I’ve been dropping in the Seattle Times as needed. If any other system was generating false positives more than 99% of the time, we wouldn’t expect the error rate to improve by forcing more transactions into the system (aka, UBCs). In fact, we’d scrap and start fresh.

    In the same vein, If it is generating false positives that often, why shouldn’t we think that it is generating false negatives at an equal rate?

    Life member NRA, SAF, might consider joining the GOA (too) once they get their range and instructor development programs up and running, their museum open, and foster the youth shooting sports. 😉

    • We SHOULD expect that it is producing false-negatives as well. A young gun buyer might have committed one or several felonies but hasn’t been caught yet. He might have been caught, but the paperwork hasn’t been processed yet. A buyer of any age can probably get an adequate forged driver’s license; if the name is clean then he will pass the NICS check. There are plenty of loons running around that SHOULD have been committed to a mental institution; however, the progressives think that it is best for “eccentric” people to participate fully in society. The progressives just don’t want anyone to have guns.
      – – – There is no great solution. At best, some NICS-like system can identify many disqualified individuals by virtue of appearing on a list of those adjudicated as dis-abled of their 2A rights. Past performance is the most reliable indicator of future performance. Shall we do without any NICS-like system (suppose just for LE purposes) simply because it isn’t perfect?
      – – – (I acknowledge the arguments that no one unqualified to own a gun should be on the streets without an escort. There is enough merit to this argument to give us all pause. Yet, for present purposes, I prescind from this analysis because – politically – we are better-off with the NICS system we have than with a futile effort to reach for a purist solution.)
      – – – The NICS system is mostly a minor inconvenience in an FFL transaction in all but a small fraction of the cases. We ought to look into that small fraction and try to find means of mitigation.
      – – – To apply the NICS system to private “transfers” is an entirely different proposition! During a home invasion, do I commit a crime if I hand a gun to my wife without a U-BC? To my girl-friend? To my roommate? Is a U-BC applicable to a loan (temporary) as well as a sale (permanent)? When I was a teen-ager I left my 22 at my friend’s farm. His younger brother took it to Central America. His younger brother took it to California and brought it back, returning it to his older brother. I knew which family had it; but I didn’t know who specifically had it nor where it was. I retrieved it in June, 46 years later. Under a U-BC, how many background checks would have had to have been done? How many of us would have to go to jail if we neglected to do all the paperwork?
      – – – The message we need to convey to the non-gun-owning-public is that we PotG are NOT going to allow government to turn us into criminals because we engage in normal loans of guns to people we know. We must also convey to the gun-grabbers that we are NOT going to submit to a paper-trail requirement that makes us criminals if we don’t make or keep the records. Nor are we going to leave a back-door open to gun registration.
      – – – If the public wants some measure of BCing private transfers – withOUT making us into a vast pool of criminals and withOUT a gun registry – we can have a conversation. We might find something that is somewhat helpful in catching traffickers without much inconvenience to us. Whatever that “something” might be it won’t be perfect; nor free; nor entirely convenient. It’s apt to be about as effective as the laws on transferring alcohol or tobacco to minors; not much more.
      – – – If the gun-grabbers will settle for nothing short of onerous suppression of private gun ownership then we JUST SAY NO; and, tell the public that the gun-grabbers’ insistence on criminalizing all of us is non-negotiable.
      – – – Stopping the acquisition of guns by dis-abled criminals and crazies is a fool’s errand. Smuggling and clandestine manufacturing will immediately displace leakage from the regulated market to the black-market. Whatever society spends on stopping this leakage is probably wasted; it would better be spent finding and prosecuting possession by dis-abled criminals. Government isn’t really interested in the dangerous work of pursuing hardened violent criminals. The gun-grabbers are only interested in pursuing the law-abiding gun owners making them into technical criminals. We will not comply.

    • Hardliners might consider false negatives to be something of a happy accident, to the extent that the government’s own (according to them) unconstitutional apparatus fails in its infringement objective.

  4. The NRA mobilized to defeat the Brady Bill, then after it passed launched litigation in multiple states. It helped to fund Printz v. United States all the way up to SCOTUS. While SCOTUS did strike parts of the Brady Law, it let most of it stand.

    The Brady Law is constitutional, according to SCOTUS. I don’t know what more the NRA, GOA or anyone else can do about it. It’s not going anywhere.

    I’m all in favor of GOA exposing Brady for what it is, but I don’t want the NRA tilting at windmills and losing all its credibility in the process. Division of labor, people. It works.

    • If it has been found constitutional by SCOTUS, the answer is the same as it is for many other rulings somebody doesn’t like. In this case, begin with repeal! Vote the bastards out until it is repealed. Either simultaneously or after the repeal, amend the Constitution so that overeducated dumbasses can understand what it says. Add another 27 words to 2A if necessary, it still won’t be as cumbersome as ACA. Otherwise, just down the road another brain damaged mutt will foist off another stupid law that takes decades to get rid of.

    • It’s one thing for the NRA to decide not to die on the hill of trying to repeal the Brady Bill. I can certainly understand the strategizing involved there.

      Last time I opened an NRA magazine though, it had a big spread in the middle *bragging about* the Brady Bill. Not just claiming that the NRA had made a bad bill less bad (which I would commend them for) but making it sound like they actually *approve of* the background check system.

      Actually approving of it is a whole lot different from them deciding not to try to fight against it right now. Unless their stance has changed from “we like it” to “we don’t think we can win that battle right now though we wish we could,” the NRA is culpable here.

    • Thank you for educating us on the history so we can remember the lessons learned.

      Like SAF sticking to funding good attorneys on important cases (Peruta), vs trying to lobby and play politics in the cloakroom (Manchin-Toomey), when NRA is way ahead on that learning curve.

      And the state groups raising grassroots support, like CO recalls, that freated national support, from all others, including NRA helping them with $$$ on beating back Bloomie.

      An Army of Davids, and “HORIZONTAL INTEGRATION” per The Rise of the Anti-media, workkng together, not against ourselves.

    • 34,000 still looks like a big number of deterred/defeated bad guys. i do not read everything, everywhere but seems the stats on millions of bad guys deterred/defeated by armed civilians are not highlighted enough.

      • Real bad guys were not deterred nor defeated, they were armed before the sun went down. Meaning they committed a few more felonies in one day, what’s the problem? If we get a system that is effective enough, the real bad guys will just start one home, invasion after another, stealing guns, money and drugs, until they have what they want or need. I’m not certain what they want, what they need is two to the face.

      • You just need to look at the goals of DOJ, and you’ll understand. Not that the figures on background checks have been better under any other administration, the whole idea is just stupid, needs to be repealed. NFA first, though!

      • They’re too busy coaching protesters on how to protest and entrapping the feeble minded into almost becoming terrorists to go after illegal and straw buyers.

  5. There is one issue I would lime to point out, that anyone who is for background checks would say:
    There may have only been a small number of legitimate denials, but we can’t really know how many felons didn’t bother in the first place because they knew they’d be denied. If there were no background check at FFL’s, how many prohibited persons would just go there for on-sale wonder 9’s instead of stealing or buying on the street? That’s a genuine question, by the way.

    • My response is that the background check *by itself* isn’t the main issue (for me).

      It’s the registration that goes along with it.

      Drop the 4473 and then we’ll talk.

      • It’s a good question. I am essentially an absolutist. I still go back and forth on background checks.

        I am still unsure on how the Feds have any authority to regulate guns in any way. Oh right commerce clause…

        • That one clause has corrupted the entire meaning of the constitution.
          What I would give for a time machine to warn about the dangers of it as it was being written…

        • ever since 1964 US vs. Heart of Dixie Motel, i have been waiting for the left to understand that the entire constitution can be voided via the commerce clause….which is why the clause was so contentious among the founders.

        • So what if we funded a firearms charity that gives away firearms to those in need? Would it still be commerce? What if we all manufactured our own?

      • VERY GOOD OBSERVATION (caps intentional). two issues in all this: national registry, how to translate stats to emotionally acceptable counter gun control presentations.


      • There is no need to drop the 4473, just open its use to everything from credit reports to dating sites, so that it and the NICS check have nothing specifically to do with firearms. The fact that its use is so severely restricted is what makes the resulting registration scheme, illegal as it is, so obviously the real goal.

        • I agree with you LarryinTX. The 4473 form is by far the most serious issue. Specifically, the 20 year retention period. All the ATF would need to do is gather up all the 4473 forms from all the FFLs in the country and optically-character-recognized. They would have the names of most of the frequent-buyers. Among all the other campaigns we need to drive for reducing the retention period from 20 to 10 or 7 or 5 years. Most FFLs would probably not purge their old records promptly. Therefore, whatever the legal minimum, most FFLs would keep a few more years on file. That should cover most legitimate traces. Then, if a collection of all the 4473s on file were threatened, the FFLs could have a weekend shredding party to the bear legal minimum retention period. Simply the prospect of such a shredding party would probably head-off any attempt to collect all the forms.

    • Such things come down to two major points: Is the government action constitutional and, if so, is it a good idea. I’m not convinced at all that background checks are constitutional, regardless what SCOTUS says. That aside, are they a good idea? Depends how you measure such a thing.

      We already know that criminals are getting guns. We also already know that the overwhelming majority of them get them from non-FFL sources, such as friends/family, black market and theft. Some actually do get them at retail, but they weren’t criminals at the time, so the NICS didn’t flag them.

      The numbers appear to reveal few prohibited possessors blocked by NICS, which your question leap frogs by asking how many are deterred from even attempting to buy from an FFL. Since there is such an abundance of guns in the hands of criminals, howsoever illicitly acquired, it appears to me that even if they’re blocked/deterred from FFL purchases, it’s largely irrelevant as they’re still readily able to obtain firearms from numerous other sources. So the system seems irrelevant with respect to its supposed purpose.

      Now, it’s real purpose, I believe, is to create a backdoor gun registration scheme, which it does serve as. It also conditions people to accept additional restrictions on their firearms rights. Additionally, it imposes a lot of criminal liability and regulatory compliance burden on FFLs, which in turn reduces the number of FFLs and raises the cost of doing business for those that remain. That in itself is detrimental to the firearms community. Finally, the entire security theater charade diverts resources from more useful law enforcement functions, while ensnaring the occasional law abiding guy in the system and transforming him into a felon via squirrelly “actual buyer” wording.

      Overall, I’d say get rid of NICS. It’s at best useless and at worst devious.

      • I agree with everything you wrote. The FFL NICS check simply diverts illicit demand to the black-market. THAT, however, mildly works in favor of the PotG. It is analogous to the laws prohibiting sales (transfers) of alcohol or tobacco to minors; and requirements to check ID. No one harbors a serious illusion that the Alc or Tobacco laws are effective; nevertheless, you couldn’t get anywhere in America with a campaign to rescind these laws. Politically, I think we are in the same position with NICS checks at FFLs.
        – – – Imagine having a convention of all the gun-owners in the US; would they adopt a resolution to drop the NICS check for FFLs? I doubt it. So, if the general public gets the drift that gun-owners are by-in-large content with the FFL NICS check, it would be swimming against the current to try to rescind this process.
        – – – With respect to the FFL BC, we would be much better off spending our effort working on the States to allow FFLs to skip the NICS check on showing of a State-issued CWP/FOID. Federal law allows this and about 22 or so States take advantage of this allowance. The BC via CWP/FOID reduces the risk that the ATF’s contractor (who fields the FFL inquiries) is surreptitiously slipping the ATF a daily back-up tape of inquiries.
        – – – A much bigger risk is the 20-year retention period on the 4473 forms. If the ATF gathers all these forms and optical-character-recognitions these forms they will have a pretty reliable list of all the frequent buyers for the past 2 decades. We should work on cutting that back to 10 – 7 – 5 years.
        – – – The UBC thing is a big risk; or, a small problem. Depends on how its implemented. We must stubbornly refuse to submit to clearing every “transfer” thru an FFL. That will be a transfer-tax, paperwork, inconvenience, and we will all be in violation. Easy pickings for prosecution.
        – – – Yet, we have a PR problem loosely referred to as the “Gun show loophole”. The PR problem is NOT confined to gun shows. Any time a couple of guys meet out behind the bar[n] and sell a gun there is – arguably – a perception that this is not adequately regulated. I’m sure that most gun owners will refuse to sell a gun to someone they have reservations about. Yet, we have a hard time explaining how it is that we can be sure that there aren’t a few cases where less-than-scruplous gun owners will sell to just about anyone. That is a public-perception problem for us.
        – – – Let’s examine how it is that we deal with this public perception problem with respect to alcohol and tobacco transfers to minors. We make it unlawful for anyone to transfer alcohol or tobacco to minors. What might be the analogue for guns? How about we make it unlawful to transfer a gun to a dis-abled person? How could a transferOR know whether a transferEE is a dis-abled person? Well, how about, if the transferEE demonstrates that is is BCed, the transferOR can’t be held liable. The transferEE might demonstrate that he is BCed by showing his CWP/FOID; by producing a printed certificate he generated by BCing himself on the internet; or, by the transferOR BCing the transferEE on the internet. Showing a CWP/FOID leaves no database record. The production of a printed certificate might leave a database record of the BC, but not how many copies of the certificate were printed. The shopper might print a dozen certificates and go shopping for 90 days.
        – – – Temporary transfers (loans) should not be subject to a BC. For loans, I’d prefer a “known-or-should-have-known” standard. If you loaned a gun to your brother and your brother was a felon, you probably knew or should-have-known and would be vulnerable to prosecution. If you loaned a gun to your neighbor and he turned out to be a felon, you are probably able to defend your ignorance; nevertheless, if it was a loan then you should be able to remember which neighbor you loaned it to.
        – – – I think the PotG are – on balance – better off using the NICS database and BCs as a means of demonstrating that WE – the law abiding – are NOT the problem. We are the good guys who wear the white hats and we are cooperating with some BC regime that strives to separate legitimate commerce/loans of guns from the black-market. And, because we are the good guys (see the white hats) we insist on being treated as law-abiding citizens exercising our rights. We demand respect for our rights to: carry; magazines; our choice of color an features; liberty to exercise our rights without fear of becoming the next victim of zealous prosecution for an infraction of some silly regulatory scheme (that doesn’t work anyway.)

    • Valid question, Nigel. But, why not support a law which will also affect purchases from car trunks or thefts? Like, if you are a prohibited person in possession, we will kill you! Or, at least REALLY imprison you for 30 years, no parole. Drop the silliness which only inconveniences law abiding citizens, and impose restrictions on actual criminals? Shoot, we have huge terms for nice kids in possession of pot, for goodness sake, how come criminals with guns are ignored?

  6. Opposing basic background checks is a losing proposition politically IMO. Despite their royally messing up the PR in response to Newtown (Wayne LaPierre’s press conference then the ad attacking Obama), I thought that the NRA was pretty brave for standing against universal background checks in addition to the assault weapons ban and magazine capacity limitations.

    To many people who would be opposed to the AWB and magazine limitations, universal background checks probably sounded reasonable. At the time, it did to me, and I was surprised and wondered why the NRA was so opposed to UBC as well. This led me to do additional research where I learned the problems with UBC. Hopefully others who were curious did the same.

    To oppose the Brady Bill however at the moment is not politically workable I’d think.

    • The question in my mind is whether the NRA has made the same call as Kyle as it’s just not a battle that can be won–or whether they actually approve of the Brady Bill. The last printed matter I saw from the NRA on the issue made it seem like they actually approved of the bill–they wouldn’t repeal it even if they had the power to do so.

      Until they change that stance, there is no way they are going to get a cent of my money.

  7. Someone should FOIA NICS for its yearly budget. Then you can really have a cost associated with it.

  8. The tragedy is that the FBI now has the names of 6 million people who have an interest in gun ownership and that information is truly none of their business.

    • I don’t like the idea of the Federal government possibly having a list of gun owners; however, under present circumstances, it’s not among our biggest issues. All they know – assuming the Feds have violated the law and kept copies of the inquiry back-up files on all/many days – is that somebody bought a gun of an approximate type on a certain date. What disposition he might have made of that gun since that date they just don’t know. If they collate the data they can build a list of frequent buyers; but, that still isn’t especially helpful given the large number of gun owners in the US. If 3% of Americans owned guns it would be feasible to roll them up; if 30% own guns, they will be pretty hard to roll-up.
      – – – A bigger priority is to reduce the 20-year retention period for FFLs to keep their 4473 forms.
      – – – I’d prefer to see the NICS check re-institutionalized. Now, the ATF farms out the contract to field inquiries from FFLs to a private contractor. The ATF “owns” the relationship to that contractor. If the ATF twisted the contractor’s arm we have no reason to assume that the contractor wouldn’t give the ATF the file of names and addresses who were inquired on each day. Suppose the law changed and the ATF were mandated to farm-out the contract to field FFL inquiries to one-or-more industry organizations such as the NRA or NSSF. Those industry organizations would – in turn – engage a computer company to perform the service. Now, the sub-contract would be controlled by an industry organization. (I’m compelled to quote FDR: “Yes, those guys are SOBs; but they are OUR SOBs”.) It would be much less likely that the ATF could get a sub-contractor appointed by NRA/NSSF/etc. to leak files of daily inquiries.
      – – – Now, suppose several industry organizations; say, NRA and NSSF both sought appointments to provide service to FFLs. Perhaps State FFL dealer organizations would also seek appointments; or regional co-ops of State dealer organizations. The FFL inquiries would be divided up among 2 – 4 – 6 – 8 different sub-contractors competing on cost and service. Now, the skeptical among us could imagine the ATF infiltrating one or two subcontractors and getting some daily inquiry files. But, what they might be able to get their hands on would be only a modest fraction of the total data flow. (Google the “BIDS system” for the original conception of such a scheme and its advantages.)

  9. Trying to argue an “absolutist” position on the 2A is politically a non-starter. Whether the absolutist position is “true” or not is not the issue. If you can’t get a majority of: SCOTUS; Congress; the States’ legislators; or, the voters to agree with your view of the truth then you can’t get off the starting block.
    – – – The right secured by the 2A is “the right of the People to keep and bear arms.” What that right IS today is what that right WAS in the 1790s. The precise metes and bounds of that right were never articulated at the time of ratification; they didn’t need to be. Everyone understood what those rights meant then. And, sure enough, in the 19’th and 20’th centuries politicians began to infringe upon those rights. Why should we be surprised?
    – – – We hardly question today that felons and the insane could be deprived of their 2A rights. (Acknowledgments to the few absolutists who DO challenge felons and mental-illness disablement.) We ought to pause to remember that these disabling statuses didn’t have the same meaning in the 18’th century. If you were convicted of a felony you would – most likely – be hanged; if you were not, you were probably forgiven. Would you have been deprived your 2A rights if you seemed to be a well-behaved chastised felon allowed to live? There wasn’t much in the way of insane asylums in the 17’th century. If you were a bit eccentric you might be encouraged to stay close to home and leave your guns at the tavern at the edge of town. Would you be deprived of your guns? If you were habitually violent, do you think society would tolerate your misdemeanors? Would they take your gun? Until somebody does some confirmable research on these questions, I don’t accept any flat presupposition about what the answers were in the 1790s.
    – – – SC REQUIRES that your carry gun be loaded with hollow-points. Is this an infringement? Or, a reasonable regulation in the interest of public safety? NJ PROHIBITS non-police from loading their carry guns with hollow-points. (Practical impact is on retired/out-of-state police carrying under LEOSA, armed couriers and the like.) Is this an infringement? Or, a reasonable regulation in the interest of public safety? I’m not sure what the answers to my questions are. I do know that either SC or NJ is mistaken; and, I think it must be NJ. What is the important question here? Whether either law is an impermissible infringement? Or, what is the impact upon a traveler carrying in East-coast States?
    – – – If a State adopts a law defining and prohibiting brandishing, is that an infringement? How about laws implementing the 4 primary rules of gun safety? We could probably all think of a number of regulatory impositions that boarder on our certainty/uncertainty on the meaning of “infringement”.
    – – – A blanket – take no prisoners – defense of absolutism sounds absurd to mainstream voters. They will take note of their gun-owner neighbors, many of whom will express few objections to some regulation of guns. What do the uncommitted voters take from this division within the gun community?
    – – – We have plenty of issues to work on that are vastly more important than absolutism. National right-to-carry; a reasonable means to restore 2A rights; reversing the blanket PTSD disablement of veterans; 20-year retention period for 4473 forms; gun-free zones; magazine limits; State registration schemes; high fees for CWP/FOIDs; onerous training requirements. Never getting someone’s idea of a pure respect for the 2A is the enemy of the good-enough right to keep and bear arms without onerous constraints.

  10. I’ll play devil’s advocate.

    Anti: OK, so there weren’t many convictions. So what? Because of the background check, felons aren’t trying to buy guys from dealers anymore. Isn’t that a good thing?

    Pro: Uh…

    What should the pro say in response?

    • A) the NICS check stopped that particular sale, but if the person stopped was indeed the prohibited person that NICS thinks they are, no one stopped that person from going on to buy a gun in any of the same places that people trade in illicit drugs and stolen goods.

      That only 13 convictions were obtained from 76,000 or so NICS denials leaves two possibilities:
      – Through their inaction, DoJ is enabling more and worse crime, by allowing nearly 76,000 criminals to walk on an easy felony conviction, every year.

      -or that, annually, a federal criminal history database is improperly identifying nearly 76,000 US citizens as being felons or other prohibited persons.

      It is shameful that an anti-gunner sees no problem with treating gun owners like they’re a convicted sex offender, but how would they feel if they were the subject of such a massive error?

    • bill
      a) we already know that 8/10 crime guns are straw purchase and unrelated to background checks
      b) those 72,000 are mostly false positives and the true positives are often REPEATS because the federal government will not prosecute the perjury on the form

    • There isn’t any great response. The BC issue is one where we have taken just a 1/2 measure to regulate transfers. We regulate transfers at FFLs but not private transfers; the so-called gun-show loop-hole (having nothing in particular to do with a gun-show). We can, and SHOULD, argue that regulating transfers is essentially a waste of effort. Felons will get guns in a black-market no matter what we do. Maybe a few crazies are stopped from buying guns at FFLs and can’t find the black-market. Yet, the whole NICS inquiry and paperwork is an expense that doesn’t accomplish anything. Our difficulty, after making this argument, is that the public’s appetite is for some level of regulation on just about everything. They don’t expect perfect regulation; but, they want something that is pretty-good. It’s a feel-good issue for them. Getting the public to acquiesce to rolling-back the BC at FFLs is politically unrealistic. If you buy this analysis, we are back where we are; the FFL NICS check is just a 1/2 effort. So, the Anti’s argue for U-BCs. The public figures that if the BC system is up-and-running for the FFLs it’s a simple matter of extending it to private transfers. Here, we have our work cut-out for us. We have to explain that gun-owners lend and give guns to friends and relatives like housewives go to their neighbors to borrow a cup-of-sugar. We are NOT going to submit to a U-BC scheme that makes most of us criminals because we didn’t jump-through-the-hoops when we loaned a gun or gave a gun to a friend or relative. That’s what the Anti’s want in pushing U-BC; i.e., to make all peaceful law-abiding gun-owners criminals because they failed to make a required jump-throgh-the-hoops. We CAN and we WILL stop any such U-BC. Likewise, the Anti’s want a gun registry to come out of U-BCs. We are NOT going to let that happen either. So, the voters have a choice which they need to communicate to their legislators: No BC on private transfers whatsoever; or, we PotG design the system of BCs on private transfers. The Anti’s won’t be satisfied; but, they will never be satisfied. We PotG aren’t going to design an air-tight BC system for private transfers; but, the FFL BC isn’t air-tight either. We CAN negotiate, but it’s going to be a BC system WE can live with. And, we expect something for our cooperation; e.g., National Reciprocity; Silencers and SBRs off the NFA; etc. Guns, and the 2A, are OUR property and OUR right. We want the last word in how we will be regulated. If the Anti’s don’t like that then how about WE the PotG decide how to regulate newspapers and broadcasters?

      • the entire point is FEEL GOOD. if you propose anything that makes people UNGOOD BELLY FEEL you are in a hopeless fight. the tipping point has been crossed. children like playing on the freeway, and will not tolerate you standing there yelling “get the hell out of the street”. facts and logic cannot stand in the face of feelings. not sure how to do it, but POTG must find a way to make an emotional appeal that will allow people to feel good among their friends. the gun grabbers do not ever (nor have ever) cared about stopping gun crime they just do not like people having ugly things, and if the criminals cannot be thwarted, well, then so be it. just concentrate on taking away the bad things from people you can reach, bully, intimidate, coerce and control….the law abiding populace. some years ago, ted nugent went before a congressional committee about gun restrictions. he blatantly stated there were (at the tinme) 10,000,000 gun owners who create no threat to the public. his words were, “leave us the hell alone!” did you read about that? did congress change their drive for gun confiscation? thomas paine was alleged to have said, “arguing with someone who has renounced reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

        • All good points. BCs are 99% no more “feel-good” measures. We want to re-direct the question of gun-crime to effective measures (felon-in-posession, plea-bargaining, etc.) The Anti’s want to keep the discussion on BCs. (Anti’s don’t so much mind felons in possession; they can’t abide law-abiding gun users.) We (PotG) have a political-tactics problem. How do we solve it?
          – – – Imagine that it were legal to give or sell alcohol or tobacco to a minor if the transferOR did not have a dealer’s license. So, society perceives a problem with underage drinking or smoking. Shall we argue that the solution to the problem is to rescind the law requiring licensed dealers to card customers? Shall we argue that there is no purpose served by making it illegal for a non-licensed person to sell or give alcohol or tobacco to a minor? Shall we argue that it is the exclusive job of the police to track-down minors in possession? Law abiding drinkers and smokers have no individual responsibility to take care that they do not traffic in these substances? Are minors rationally deemed to be in control of their anti-social impulses? Kind of a tough sell. Politically, it would be an UP-hill struggle.
          – – – BCs on private sales (and loans) are just one of many issues we have to defend against. We need to pick our shots. Do we want to appear to be responsible/irresponsible on one issue when we have other issues to deal with?
          – – – We recognize most of the problems with U-BCs as designed by the Anti’s. Why concede the details of a bill to regulate private transfers to the Anti’s? Do we want the Anti’s to draft the legislation and then debate THEIR text? Do we lack the imagination to draft our own text of a BC bill? A set of provisions we could live with?
          – – – What we want is to be left to engage in benign activities with little to no inconvenience. We don’t NEED to be free to traffic in guns to identifiable felons. IF there are any among us who are making their living trafficking in guns to felons ought to keep their mouths shut; they are making the Anti’s case.
          – – – A private-transfers BC system must avoid making us criminals for benign transfers. We can’t figure out how to do that? Are we so lacking in imagination? How about a bill that would make it unlawful to transfer ONLY to a dis-abled person? If you make a transfer to a person who enjoys her 2A rights, no-harm/no-foul. That’s the way it works for alcohol or tobacco. Give/sell a beer or cigarette to an adult and there is no problem. Do it to a minor, you violated the law. Is this hard to understand?
          – – – Now, what’s left? I assume you are not LOANING guns to people you don’t know. Occasionally, some of us SELL a gun to a person we don’t know well. All we need to do is create a safe-harbor that allows us to sell to someone who is (somehow) BC’ed. If he passed the BC we are clear; if we (carelessly) sell to him without a BC, we have committed a (harshly-punished) misdemeanor.
          – – – How to BC a guy we meet out behind the bar[n]? How about he shows you his CWP/FOID? How about we make the NICS-check system available to the public via the internet? Or, that an individual can BC himself on the internet and print a certificate? At a gun show the sponsor of the show could print certificates for attendees. Outside a gun-show, an internet-challanged buyer could get a certificate printed at any local police station or notary public.
          – – – Big issue here is the paperwork. It makes no sense to require paperwork on a loan. For a private sale, creating the paperwork isn’t so much the problem as retaining the paperwork. A private party can’t be expected to keep paperwork for 20 years; or even 5 years. Does the public want a BC on private sales? Or, does the public want paperwork on private sales? Are we trying to stop sales to felons? Or, merely create a paperwork violation after the sale to a felon has occurred?
          – – – The ATF can’t be bothered chasing all (but a few) FFL customers who turn out to have a “Deny” that comes back late. What would cause the public to imagine that the ATF has the time to chase late “Deny” responses on private sales? The best that might be hoped-for in U-BCs is that prosecutors can pin a violation on intentional traffickers. Any trafficker who straw-buys at an FFL and then has a crime-gun traced to him stands a high risk of being indicted for selling a gun to a felon who would not have passed a BC between the FFL sale date and the crime date.

          • grabbers simply want no one (private citizen) to have a gun, for any purpose. that is the impenetrable line of resistance. more children die in plastic bags than by gunshot (talking about non gang communities), more children die in auto accidents, than by gunshot, and on and on. “but we need all those things; nobody needs a gun.” even publishing news events where a BG is stopped, the grabbers will tell you that isolated incidents mean nothing (even millions of isolated events don’t mean anything). if the police cannot prevent murders, well that is just the price of living in a gun-free, safe america. after all, we cannot stop all the bad guys, all the time; just the way it is. i asked my neighbor if i could borrow his lawn mower. he said no, he was making spaghetti. i asked why making spaghetti prevented me using his lawn mower. he replied, “because when i don’t want to lend you my lawn mower, one excuse is as good as another.” the issue is to present an acceptable proposition that only the second amendment requires some sort of permission to exercise, and even non-gun owners suffer as a result. how do we build the emotional case that government intrusion into the second amendment will directly result in further, damaging intrusion into the life of people not of the gun (they like government intrusion that either has no perceivable effect on them, or punishes someone they don’t like). the argument that once citizens cannot fend off government with weapons, nothing prevents a tyrannical government from enslaving the populace has no meaningful connection to way too many people. think of how much of the population believes that israel should ignore the islamist pledged to to wipe them out. the majority of our country truly believes bad things only happen to people not of their class/acquaintance.

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