Previous Post
Next Post

MAIG is at it again, trying to convince people that dangerous weapons[1] are going to fall into the hands of dangerous people[2] leading to more violence, mass shootings, blood in the streets, crop failures, cats and dogs living together. Or something. Their latest release (FBI Data Show Gun Background Checks Still Undermined By Information Gaps Six Months After Senate Probed Flaws) starts out, “Many states and federal agencies are still failing to share records about dangerous individuals with [NICS]” . . .

The update comes six months after gun violence survivors urged a Senate committee to improve the system at a congressional hearing on the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. The shooter[3] had a history of disturbing behavior and a drug arrest record, but passed a background check before buying the guns[sic] he used to kill six people and wound 13 others …

While the antis go on and on about how they aren’t really against all guns and all gun owners, close reading of their statements will often give you glimpses of their real agenda. The shooter had a history of disturbing behavior and a drug arrest record, but passed a background check looks quite reasonable on its face[4], but think about it for a moment.

Although arrested, he was never actually convicted of any crime, drug-related or otherwise. I guess MAIG believes that we peasants should all be considered guilty until proven innocent. Second his disturbing behavior, while sufficient to get him removed from college never actually led to his being adjudicated a threat to himself or others.

MAIG continues to explain just how many states and federal agencies are failing to provide the required records to NICS (mentioning that the VA has provided almost 100% of the federal records; see here for why that might be a problem) before suggesting their fix for the “problem”:

Leaders of the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition urged Congress to pass the Fix Gun Checks Act (H.R.1781/S.436), which would increase incentives for states to comply with federal record reporting targets and require background checks for all gun sales.

Again, for those who don’t believe that such checks are worthless, wasteful, insulting and unconstitutional, fixing gun checks probably sounds like a good idea. But as always, the devil is in the details. So just what are this bill’s details?

Well, one of the first items to catch my eye was in Section 101(b) Penalties. Basically it says that if states don’t toe the line, they’ll lose out on some federal largesse. It sets out specific goals and specific penalties which are applied even-handedly across all states.

Or, not. There is a weasel clause in section (3) which permits the AG to significantly reduce the penalty for states that convince him they’re trying really hard to comply. So who here thinks that this provision wouldn’t be used as a club to punish states that piss off the President or AG? Anyone?

[1] Is there any other kind of weapon?

[2] If they are so dangerous, why aren’t they behind bars?

[3] Kudos to MAIG for not using the shooter’s name; let him rot in obscurity

[4] Not to me since I believe that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. National leaders for centuries have used the ‘evil dangerous’ foreigner or threat (outside or within a kingdom) to focus the sheeple’s attention away from domestic real problems (and failures of leadership) and to motivate the sheeple to take action as the leaders desire.

    MAIG is much like the PR Agency for mayors serving to keep the struggling serfs from owning arms for defense (or to kick the rulers out of their fine palaces) and to keep the serfs from focusing on the real issues they face such as the growing police state, destruction of the buying power of the currency, growing ranks of the unemployed and homeless, health care crisis, failing infrastructure, etc.

  2. ‘Background Checks’ represent yet another Disarmement Lobby red herring.No intelligent crook intent on violent crime is going to Cabellas for a purchase,and the stupider felons need only find someone with a clean record to pull a straw purchase-an act which is already illegal per Federal law.

    The intent behind a background check is to establish a socially approved ‘walled garden’ around the 2nd Amendment.IF at&t doesn’t want you to download a certain app,they flip a switch.If the Feds one day find it in their interests to slow down or stop civil gun purchases,they flip a switch.

    • I wish people would quit dragging out the “violent criminal is not going to be stopped by a background check” line. It is as tiresome as the old “think of the children” one. No one who has half a brain believes that the background check is going to keep guns out of the hands of violent felons, particularly since many of those felons use guns that can’t be purchased by an ordinary person such as post 1985 auto weapons as well as guns with the serial number removed.

      No, instead the purpose of the background check is to reduce the flow of guns to people who might be dangerous with them. Examples include people who have a history of domestic disturbances, felony assaults, or mental issues. Many of these types of people are not hardened criminals and as such would have a reasonably difficult time procuring an illegal weapon if they are denied access to a gun through the usual channel.

      I’m not comfortable with the idea of maintaining records of purchase – I would prefer that a check is made when someone wants to make a purchase and the check does not include any information on the type or quantity of guns purchased, but I certainly have no problem with a background check being run before handing over a potentially dangerous package to someone.

      Sure – we can make the argument that you don’t need a gun to hurt or kill someone, but let’s face it – if I’m a nutjob, and walk into a room, I can kill a lot more people with gun than I can with a knife or baseball bat. Guns are tools that make doing manual things more efficient. While you may be able to smack one or two people with a bat before the others jump on you or stab a half dozen, you can easily double that body count with a gun, particularly if you bring some extra ammo.

      • I wish people would stop referring to any argument they don’t like as “old” or “tiresome”.

      • Your argument assumes the background check system is an effective deterrent against crime.

        Its not.

        “No, instead the purpose of the background check is to reduce the flow of guns to people who might be dangerous with them. Examples include people who have a history of domestic disturbances, felony assaults, or mental issues. Many of these types of people are not hardened criminals and as such would have a reasonably difficult time procuring an illegal weapon if they are denied access to a gun through the usual channel.”

        Let us look at the island Formerly Known as Great Britian. Their system of gun control is the goal of the MAIG group:forget background checks, one has to go to NFA-type levels of government scrutiny to own a .22LR rifle . Yet Raoul Moat in 2010 acquired a shotgun three days after being released from prison, a sentence he earned from domestic violence charges .He later used that weapon to shoot three people. As a reminder their gun laws are exponentially more restrictive than our own.

        No piece of paper can stop someone from stealing, borrowing, or trading for a gun outside of the ‘normal’ channels of commerce. If the NICS system says no, they’ll go somewhere else to get a gun. Im not talking about buying from Fat Tony in an alley either-relatives , family, and close associates make great people to either help buy a gun or to steal one from. A rejected 4473 can’t stop someone from using a gun they bought years ago before being locked up.

        Still think the Brady Checks can save us from the Huns?

      • “…stab a half dozen, you can easily double that body count with a gun…”

        And? One could double that body count by plowing into a crowded crosswalk or even a parade with a large van or truck. One could double that one with ~$50 in matches (smokeless powder would be even stronger), a few lengths of galvanized steel pipe and some caps. One could probably even beat that one by poisoning some water supplies.

        I’m not knocking you. I understand. Guns are inherently scary. (I don’t care how comfortable/confident you are with guns and their safeties, a healthy dose of fear keeps you disciplined) It makes perfect sense to want to keep them away from scary people. But that doesn’t make it logical.

        The biggest fallacy I encounter with arguments against being rid of anti-gun measures currently in place, is the apparent blind eye that’s turned to the crimes already being commited. We have background checks in place right now. Crazy people are already getting guns. Criminals are already getting guns. Drug addicts are already getting guns. Nothing we’re currenlty doing is actually disarming anyone who’s inclined to commit crimes. With the vast majority (one might even argue ALL) of gun laws currently on the books, nothing is actually being accomplished. But still the argument persists that by getting rid of the laws that aren’t, arguably, doing anything at all, we will somehow make it easier for scary people to get guns.

        • Let’s not forget that the worst crime in American history was committed with box cutters and the element of surprise. The second worst (unless I’m forgetting something) was committed with a moving truck, some fertilizer, and diesel.

          If you have a little knowhow, you could probably do a lot more damage with what’s available at your local Walgreen’s than you could with an AR and a dozen mags.

    • The intent around the background check requirement is exactly what they say it is. It’s to prevent unfit and dangerous people from getting guns that way.

      Straw purchasing could be eradicated. I’ve shown you how.

      That would leave theft as the only other source of guns for criminals. Safe storage laws and holding gun owners responsible when one of their guns gets into the wrong hands would help that.

      • I took a look at that post. It doesn’t, in any way stop straw purchases; it just means that you now have to report the gun you purchased for someone else as stolen.

        Besides that, what evidence do you have that guns acquired through Straw purchases are commonly used in violent crime?

        Heck, what evidence do you have that guns stolen from individuals are commonly used in violent crime?

        Shipments of fully automatic assault rifles (mostly AK-47s) are somewhat regularly seized at the border into the US. What law is going to stop organized criminals from acquiring firearms by importing them?

        • Of course there’s a way to get around it, but how many straw purchasers are going to keep doing it knowing they’d have to answer those questions. The pros who buy many guns couldn’t get away with that. Maybe the one-time amateur could.

          • Did it ever occur to you that you’re like the drunk looking for his keys under a streetlamp because the light’s better? While no law-abiding citizen condones it, straw purchasing from gun dealers is statistically irrelevant. Why don’t you have a look at Baltimore’s success in fighting gun violence in our 2pm post?

        • What evidence do you have that there are organized professional straw purchasers?

          Organized criminal groups simply import Fully-Automatic Assault Rifles that fell off the back of a truck in Eastern Europe. Or they buy handguns that have been circulating for a while. Or they have their military members (the Army’s currently trying its hardest to limit gang infiltration; they’re having some minor success*) let some M-16s and RPGs fall off a truck.

          *The US Military, which performs a much more detailed background check on new members than any proposed for Gun Owners, has trouble keeping Criminals out.

          • Use your head, Dan. Don’t ask for evidence rather than agreeing to something that we all know goes on. That turns the discussion tedious.

        • See Mike, that’s the thing. Being that I am not well connected in the Criminal Underworld, I don’t know that there are professional Straw Purchasers.

          • I don’t either really. I’m just trying to figure this stuff out. I’d separate the guy who buys guns regularly for gangsters from the college kid who buys a one-off pistol for his older brother with a record. That’s what I mean by professional and amateur.

            • In that case the college kid is a felon. Same crime as the straw purchaser buying for a gang banger. No need to separate those two, is there?

        • “I’d separate the guy who buys guns regularly for gangsters”

          Mike, I don’t know that this guy exists, you haven’t provided any evidence for his existence.

          I suspect that gangsters get their firearms imported, since they have pretty easy access to fully automatic weapons.

      • By the way, Mike, I found some stats for you re: Straw purchases.

        From the ATF’s Don’t Lie campaign website:
        “Less than 8.5 percent of criminals obtain their firearms from straw purchases.”

        “According to the ATF, the average “time to recovery” (the time span between the initial purchase of a firearm to the time that it is used in a crime) is more than 10 years. This tells us that criminals are using older, recycled firearms, not newer firearms bought from licensed retailers. So, unless you believe that criminals are buying firearms only to use them a decade after the purchase, it is clear that straw purchasing is not a common method for criminals to obtain guns.”

        • That must be one of them “90% of the guns traced” things.

          How could they possibly know what the number is?

          I figure we need to divide the guns in criminal hands up into three source categories.

          1. straw purchases
          2. private sales
          3. theft.

          Straw purchases has to account for more than 8%.

        • According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, as reported by the ATF’s anti-straw purchase campaign (which I neglected to link in the last post, sorry).

          “According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 40 percent of criminals obtain their firearms from friends or family and another 40 percent obtain their firearms from illegal sources on the street. Less than 8.5 percent of criminals obtain their firearms from straw purchases.”

          40% of Criminals get their guns from Criminals. Another 40% of criminals get their guns from friends/family in some way, quite possibly asking to borrow it. Criminals do have that annoying tendency to lie.

          I don’t know what methodology the ATF used to figure out the number of Straw Purchases that it’s touting in its Anti-Straw Purchase campaign, but something tells me they’re not going to be particularly conservative.

          • That’s your problem, Dan. You accept anything that supports your argument without thinking about it.

            “40 percent obtain their firearms from illegal sources on the street”

            That’s not one of the sources. ORIGINAL sources of guns that end up with criminals are only three. Once a gun thief has stolen a gun, regardless of how many of his homeys he passes it to, it still counts as a gun that was stolen.

            We’re looking at the point at which the gun went from legal to illegal hands.

        • Then you missed legal purchases completed before the person was a criminal. You missed illegal importation from other countries. You missed illegal manufacture. You missed lost guns found by criminals.

          You picked three. There are 4 more that I picked off the top of my head.

          And if you want to accuse me of picking and choosing evidence, you have to present some one of these days.

          You can’t claim that you don’t need to present evidence then turn around and chastise me on the quality of mine.

          Anyway, if the ATF doesn’t consider those guns Straw Purchases, I think they probably know what they’re talking about, being that the ATF spends most of its time putting FFLs under a microscope looking for irregularities… like Straw Purchases.

          • Now you’re on to something, Dan. In fact I thank you for supporting my other theory about hidden criminals. Of course that’s another major category.

            I’d dismiss your other ideas as insignificant. We need limit ourselves to the major sources. Now there are 4.

            You’ve inspired me to do a post on this. It’ll be based on logic and common sense, so you probably won’t agree with it. Keep an eye out.

            • I think you’ll put an eye out with your own lack of logic. Or something like that. I mean, WTF is a “hidden criminal”? As opposed to a criminal with the word “CRIMINAL” on his shirt? Someone without a criminal record? Someone who hasn’t been caught? What? Seriously. What in the Sam Hill are you talking about?

              • Are you seriously asking me that? You haven’t seen my description of this idea of mine several times already? Are you getting like Dan now with the tedious repetition?

                You said it yourself. Hidden criminals are all those who legally own guns, break the laws, but haven’t yet sustained a felony or a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.

                Stretching the definition, I also include all those mental cases like Loughner and Cho.

                My point is it’s not a simple world of good guys and bad guys like you try to make it. The bad guys are clear to everyone. But among you good guys, there are the hidden bad guys.

                I figure when you include everyone who believes in “bad rules be damned,” as well as the drug users and alcohol abusers, the rageaholics and the mental cases, we’re talking upwards of 50%.

                Does that clarify my idea for ya?

        • Mike, let me help you with something. You keep using the word “Logic” and in the words of the great Indigo Montoya, “I do not thing that word means what you think it means.”

          From Wikipedia, Logic:
          “Logic (from the Greek λογική logikē)[1] is the philosophical study of valid reasoning.”
          ” It examines general forms that arguments may take, which forms are valid, and which are fallacies.”

          Ok that helps a little, but let’s go deeper:
          “Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs.”
          -Hey there, what are facts doing there. I thought Logic and reason meant you don’t need “Facts,” right Mike?

          But let’s try going a different direction and checking out arguments:
          “In philosophy and logic, an argument is an attempt to persuade someone of something, by giving reasons or evidence for accepting a particular conclusion.”
          Oh no, Evidence. What’s that doing there? Mike, you don’t think Arguments need evidence, so why does Wikipedia say otherwise?

          “The general structure of an argument in a natural language is that of premises (typically in the form of propositions, statements or sentences) in support of a claim: the conclusion.”
          Let’s see what a premise is, shall we?
          “In a typical deductive argument, the premises are meant to provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion”
          And how do you guarantee truth? Do you take your opinion or do you take empirical evidence?

          Cause if you get to count your Opinion as a guarantee of truth, then so do I (unless you have something I don’t have that gives your opinions the force of truth; a Papal Seat, perhaps?) and I can have a lot of fun if I get to count my Opinion as a guarantee of truth.

  3. While I agree that like any anti-2A organization, MAIG can’t be trusted with something as simple as getting me a cup of coffee let alone properly parsing facts and other information about guns, I don’t necessarily disagree with idea of the idea of including some level of mental competence reviews in the background check for potential gun owners.

    In the case of the Arizona shooting, as I read this, the author takes issue with the suggestion that MAIG makes calling for mental health records being made part of the background check process and his contention is that unless and until someone is actually adjudicated mentally incompetent, they should not be denied access to a gun. I’m sorry, but that is almost as ridiculous a statement as what the antis regularly come up with. Here’s the problem. There are most certainly people out there who are on the edge mentally and who, when they snap may go on a shooting rampage if they have access to guns. I think that it could be argued successfully that many of the people involved in mass killings over the past few years were not playing with a full deck upstairs.

    I think that potential mental health issues should very much be considered as part of the process and it should not require formal court adjudication or as an alternative, all potential gun owners should be required to undergo periodic mental screening before being allowed access to guns. You can’t really have it both ways – either you accept the fact that medical documentation showing the potential to cause harm is sufficient to restrict gun ownership or you require everyone to be screened periodically. I do not accept the fact that we have to wait for a time bomb to go off before we take action.

    While footnote #4 above is a cute soundbite, let me give you a personal example of someone who may not need a custodian but should not be trusted with a gun. I have a cousin who was diagnosed as bipolar. As long as he was on his medication, we have a perfectly reasonable and productive citizen. When he decided to go off his meds, things changed. With his diagnosis and condition, he would not have been subject to any formal adjudication nor would he have been confined to a mental institution as his condition was completely controllable with medication. He was legally allowed to purchase a gun.

    A few years ago, his sister was killed in a car accident and he went off the reservation. He stormed into the hospital and demanded to see her body. When the staff tried to calm him down, he pulled his gun and fired several shots to make his point. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but that was luck that time. The point is that given his mental state, he should never have been able to purchase a gun.

    I understand though that there is a long slippery slope once we start defining who can and cannot own a gun, but we also have to be realistic about one thing – despite what many in the 2A community fervently believe, the second amendment means what the courts choose to say it means, not what we as gun owners say it means. Today, there is a one vote pro-2A majority in the Supreme Court. One more Obama appointment and this could change. If it does, the passionate 2A supporters will be left with two choices – either accept it or prepare to take up arms. I dread the thought of what would happen if the latter path was chosen.

    The best way to protect our rights is to continue to educate our fellow citizens on the meaning and benefits of the second amendment. Suggesting that certifiable loony toons should not have restriction placed on their gun rights merely makes us sound like far-right nutjobs and gets our opinions and teachings relegated to loony land in the minds of the body politic which does not help our case.

    • Great example… eeeeexceeept… how many people have bipolar disorder and have been successfully controlling it for years, with no issues whatsoever? Are they all to be punished by limiting their rights because your cousin, who has the same disorder, went off the rails?

      OK, so maybe you don’t want to tar all bipolars with the same brush. Maybe only if they “show signs” of being unstable. Maybe only if they go off their meds do you limit their rights. But, maybe they all go off their meds sometimes, and then it’s a question of degree. How many times do they have to go off their meds before you limit their rights? Once? Twice? An even half dozen?

      The problem with all of that is it’s based on a subjective judgement. Currently the statement is “adjudicated mentally defective” or words to that effect. That’s a binary situation, either you have been or you haven’t. There’s no consistent and provable way to predict who is going to come unglued. It’s all subjective, based on a sliding mark, and therefore prone to misuse or abuse or simply incompetence.

      Similarly, the “history of domestic disturbances” you mentioned in a previous comment. What constitutes a history? We already have laws that prevent you from buying/owning/possessing a gun if you “have been convicted of ‘x'” or if you’re the subject of a restraining order, etc. What constitutes a history? Yeah, I know the story of the guy you know is slapping his wife around, but she won’t admit it, so there’s nothing that can be done. But in this day and age, where rolling your eyes at your spouse can be considered “mental abuse,” and where a non-physical argument that sees the cops get called (by a neighbor, perhaps) can easily be classified as a “domestic disturbance,” where do you draw the line? Would you consider it acceptable to have your right to purchase a firearm limited because your busybody neighbors have called the cops a few times because of the screaming arguments you’ve had with your s/o? They (neighbors or cops) don’t know anything about the mind-blowing sex you have after the fight, all they know about is the argument, and suddenly you have a “history of domestic disturbance,” and the local cop disallows your purchase based on that.

      Subjectivity is a dangerous thing. It doesn’t have to be malicious, it can simply be incompetence or an uneven application of the rules. But it’s still dangerous.

    • “…despite what many in the 2A community fervently believe, the second amendment means what the courts choose to say it means, not what we as gun owners say it means.”

      I’d argue that the 2A means exactly what it means DESPITE what courts rule it to be. The courts could say that the first amendment only protects certain people, or that sunflowers are purple, that doesn’t make it so. Interpretation may make something lawfully mean something, but not truthfully. And many people are only willing to accept the latter.

      I’d also argue that any attempt at mental competency checks is as fertile a ground for abuse as one could get. In today’s political climate, with the public sheep the way they are, an administration could define a certain way of thinking including but not limited to “questioning the government” as a sign of mental incompetency, and it’d be widely accepted.

    • And what about the movement to pathologize dissent and non-conforming behavior, especially in children. Anti-authoritarian tendencies and behavior is more likely to be labeled ADD/ADHD these days than what it really is; rebelling against perceived illegitimate authority. If we say you can only have a gun when the doctors, who are very authoritarian, say you are mentally healthy, that’s the proverbial slippery slope we don’t want to explore.

    • Sorry about your cousin. By your own admission, though, he couldn’t be trusted without a custodian.

  4. Okay, do we want real background checks or not? I have no problem with the Feds checking my background do you? Let’s OPEN up ALL THE FILES including those records that are sealed by the courts and medical records. Let’s open up those court records and those psychiatric records. There are many potential dangerous people under care of psychiatrists that are able buy weapons of mass destruction and there is no way of knowing until they commit a violent act. For example John Hinckly Jr. who shot President Reagan, Patrick Purdy who shot school children in Stockton California, and Mark Chapman who killed John Lennon. Now these are just a few of many mentally ill people who can legally buy a firearm because the psychiatric records are not part of FBI background checks. If we are going to do it let’s do it. No exceptions for anyone.

    • Background checks?

      Heck, forget about the Brady System. Only wusses mess around with online databases and flawed state data entry processes.

      Lets just skip the niceties and mandate that anyone who wants to buy a gun has to hold a Top Secret U.S. Government security clearance. We can put those lazy ATF agents to work interviewing people’s references going back to grade school . Every five years you get to complete a security clearance renewal to own a firearm. After all, how can we be REALLY certain that people who want to own guns aren’t just hiding their issues or taking advantage of state failures in buraucracy?

      Now when you have to list everything you have ever done in the last 10 years on paper, you can say that’s a background check.Except even the lauded U.S. government’s security clearance process screws up. Does former FBI agent Robert Hanssen’s case ring a bell?

      Either we have recognition of fundamental civil rights, or we do not. In any case we need to make a decision as a society to support one side of the argument or the other, instead of being “lukewarm” about the matter. I personally think that we should let the 2nd Amendment stand as the codified law that it is, but it would seem I am outnumbered by those who think civil rights are a threat to public safety.

      • Ha! +1
        While I beleive in constitutional carry or at minimum shall issue, I remember the hoops I had to jump through for my TS. I think folks who go through that should get a CCW automatically. And yes I have read the files on Reagan and Hanssen.
        It is a chance you take when you talk about liberty and equality for all. Yes there are people who will slip through the system regardless of how well you think you have implemented it. But it is the greater good. What we are seeing is gun control advocates clinging to a few bad apples as poster children to try and prove a point. Yet I think we can say objectively that the vast majority of folks who do or could hold a CCW would be fine and enhance our over security to themselves but others around them.
        Just sayin…

  5. Quite a few people commit crimes without firearms or with any prior criminal history. How does MAIG proposed to reconcile that problem? Or don’t they?

Comments are closed.