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The NRA thinks the FBI’s background check system sucks. “The system is only as good as the records that are in it,” NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre asserts, before listing the mass shooters who passed NICS. “If you cast a net and the fish swim through the holes, you don’t need a bigger net. You need smaller holes.” Yes, well, the federal firearm background check system is unconstitutional. And ineffective (by Mr. Lapierre’s own admission). And yet . . .

Mr. LaPierre goes on to take credit for establishing the instant background check system in the first place. “NRA supported it. NRA got the votes. And NRA got it passed.”

I understand why the NRA takes this line. They can’t very well say “Oops! We were wrong.” If nothing else, the majority of Americans support the security theater that is the background check system. So they – and the National Shooting Sports Foundation – are left arguing that the pols need to “fix NICS” rather than abandon it.

How does that work? How can you tout the background check system and then argue that it shouldn’t be expanded?

The NRA jefe ends his diatribe by mooting other ideas to stop firearms-related crime: put armed security in every school (rather than repeal the federal ban on legal carry in schools), fix the broken mental health system, enforce federal gun laws, prosecute dangerous people when they show up to buy a gun and “for God’s sake put every prohibited person into the system.”

If we let the feds decide who is and who isn’t a “prohibited person” – such as the Obama-favored initiative to include Americans on the Terrorist Watch List or, say, the 40 million Americans on anti-depressants – we lose. Maybe not now, But eventually.

Dump the background check system? Not in my lifetime. Argue for its “improvement”? Oy vey. 

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  1. Yep. The NRA is just another gun control group, that violates what should be the first amendment instead of being the second. Any “back ground check” before exercising a right makes it a privilege.

    They’re just not as extreme as MDA.

    • Except that the NRA has a very good system for educating children on firearm safety. Which is leaps and bounds over MDAs policy of trying to remove them from sight so they become this mystical forbidden fruit.

      • You make my point. They’re just not as extreme as MDA

        But the NRA continues to promote the statist idea that government control and restriction of a right is right and appropriare.

        That is far more dangerous to our freedom than a blantant gun grabbing group like MDA.

        • Er… that’s a quite a stretch.

          Saying that someone is for the opposite of what they stand for, because they’re not as committed to the cause as you, is poor logic. (IE: That guy in the gym doesn’t lift as much as me, so he’s totally against bodybuilding)

          Why don’t we try and describe this situation with a little more precision:
          All organizations are on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 represents the support of complete Statist Tyrrany, and 10 represents the support of complete, unrestricted freedom.

          On the issue of guns, You are a 9.5, the NRA is a 8.5, and MDA is a 1.5. (the numbers are my approximation, but you get the idea.)

          Even if you want to argue that the NRA is more like a 8.0, lumping the them in with MDA still equates to launching an attack on your very big, very combat-effective ally in the middle of a firefight.

        • The NRA is not perfect and their biggest problem – in my opinion – is that they just don’t communicate well enough or consistently enough. They also conflate gun rights with a bunch of other conservative “stuff” – some of it BS – that has nothing to do with the 2A and just serves to alienate millennials.

          But a bigger threat to our rights? Uh no. If you don’t like them then do something better. The NRA has been scaring and forcing otherwise spineless politicians into actually defending and supporting the constitution (you know, like what their oath says) for years. That is what we need them to do.

        • Sorry Ethan. But you can’t be 8.0 out of 10 pregnant.

          Nor are there grades of what makes a right. If you need a permit to practice a right, it is not a right, it is a privilege, period. Black and white, no 50 shades of gray.

          And if a Civil Rights orginization says they are there to defend my rights, I expect them to defend my rights, not my privileges.

          So just because the NRA is less statist than MDA, doesn’t make them any less statist. Black and white.

          The point is, the NRA is member driven. If enough members weren’t willing to bend over and kiss the feet of government and demand that their second amendment rights are that and not privileges, we would not be having this discusdion.

        • And to Ethan and Achmed.
          The NRA has had a shake up like this fairly recently. Before the old guard at the NRA was overthrown, they were even more statist than they are now.

          So there needs to be another revolution
          and the current statist light board members need to he tossed out and real civil right defenders need to be put in place.

        • Thomas,
          There is a line between zeal and ideological suicide via absolutism. You cannot be 8/10 pregnant, but you can be an organization that fights for 8 out 10 issues. Your comparison does not represent reality.

          While I will always support pushing the NRA to get a more accurate understanding of the Constitution, we must be careful not to cut off our nose to spite our face.

          We must always be pushing the cart further and further up the hill – but we must never set the cart on fire because its not moving fast enough.

        • I disagree. I start from the place of absolutism. Then I make incremental steps to get to that place.

          Because, unless you have a base, a Guage to determine what the goal is, then it easy to get lost in forest and just settle for a lesser shade of gray.

          So to me, you are arguing that you can be happy with only being on one knee while you lick your masters boot, instead if being on both knees.

          Or we can know that we will never settle for anything less than true freedom, standing on both feet, servant nor slave to no man.

        • Thomas, I have to disagree. Going for the whole enchilada from the beginning is poor tactics. It pretty much guarantees failure.

          Until about 2010 TN was a may issue state, and not much issuing was going on. In 2010 the legislature passed must issue, took the entire system away from local sheriffs, and put the whole system under the state. There were lots of restrictions, but at least we had must issue. Every year the legislature eases restrictions – we now have permitted open carry and campus carry on state campuses.

          The goal, of course, is Constitutional carry. In 2010 only VT was CC. If we, in 2010, had insisted on CC, and said nothing less was acceptable, we would still be may issue. Using our current permitted approach we will eventually get to CC.

          Personally, I consider NFA ’34, GCA ’68, and the Hughes Amendment to be unacceptable infringement. They aren’t going away all at once, but we can start chipping away at them. Getting suppressors and SBR’s out of the NFA is a good start.

          WLP and the NRA would probably like to roll back federal gun laws to pre-1934 levels, when you could buy a Thompson sub-machinegun from the Sears catalog and have it shipped to your house. If they even give hints that that is the goal, however, the antis will have a field day portraying the NRA as dangerously insane.

          More than forty states are now must issue, and five are CC. Every time a may issue state passed must issue local media promised blood in the streets. The bloody streets never materialized. Five states are now CC and the promised bloody streets did not materialize. By taking small bites we are turning the tables on the antis.

          The antis want total confiscation, but only Schumer and Feinstein actually say so, and most “reasonable gun laws” supporters regard them as fringe outliers. Even the Demanding Mons, who want confiscation, won’t come out and say so. They want to use incremental steps toward that goal. WLP, the NRA, and we POTG are turning it around and going incremental right back at them.

      • Ethan , that nose is cancerous so it is appropriate to lop it off. Please, NRA, stop trying to help… because it’s not. We don’t need appeasers. We need fighters who won’t compromise the principles of Liberty.

    • Any self proclaimed civil rights group which advocates background checks (and de facto registration) for said civil rights is no friend of liberty.

    • Any “back ground check” before exercising a right makes it a privilege.

      Totally agree.

      Also, NICS gives the gov a registry of gun owners and decides who is a “prohibited” person. Historically, they just haven’t been competent enough in respecting individual rights to entrust them with this kind of authority. No thanks.

    • “The NRA is just another gun control group, that violates what should be the first amendment instead of being the second.”

      No, it isn’t. In fact the NRA is the single most effective bulwark against the pervasive reach of progressive gun-control initiatives. That said, the NRA has been around long enough that it has plenty of warts and scar tissue. It was working political deals in defense of gun-rights before most people on this, or most other gun-rights forums, were a gleam in their parent’s eyes. If you look at the NRA’s legislative deal making over the decades you’ll undoubtedly find some that worked, some that didn’t and some that sure seemed like a good idea at the time. In this, the NRA is like a dowager empress who’s lengthy presence is both byzantine and fearsome. At times the NRA has seemed downright weird while at other times it has been stunningly effective. But, given the nature of this current round of gun-control, it seems clear to me that this is not a time for navel-gazing—we’re in a fight for the next history of our nation and the NRA’s the best weapon against gun-control we’ve got.

      • There is always time for navel gazing. The worst atrocities in history have happened because we didn’t “have time for navel gazing”. The NRA is the lesser of two evils. But to not acknowledge that the support of NICS by the NRA is a complete and utter violation of our inalienable rights simply guarantees that violation will continue.

        The support of NICS by the NRA is EVIL. I don’t use that word, nor the capitals it is in lightly.

        Just because the NRA is our EVIL orginization does not change that fact. And until enough of the dues paying members admit to this truth, and get involved in changing this fact, it will only continue.

        • ” . . . and some that sure seemed like a good idea at the time . . .”

          I trust that you did read this?

    • in your point any background check does not make it a right makes it a privilege is wrong. the background check is to check if you have the RIGHTto own the weapon, the main problem of the extra background checks is there is more than enough now to figure out if you have the right to do so but yet they do not in force the laws on the books to get rid of the gun violence, myself I have no problem doing a background check to get a gun

      • …the background check is to check if you have the RIGHTto own the weapon…

        If you have to seek the government’s permission before you exercise something, it is not a right but merely a privilege. The right to keep and bear arms is inherent to all people, preexists the US government, and is constitutionally protected against any infringement by the government.

        Simply put, We The People did not enumerate authority to the government to infringe upon our inherent right to keep and bear arms; and We The People reserved to ourselves all authority not explicitly enumerated to the government. Therefore, the government does not have the authority to deny We The People the right to keep and bear arms.

  2. A computer (system, such as the NICS) is only as good as the human who enters the data,

    Hire more people, keep NICS open 24/7, get the best technology, throw as much money at it as possible, and it will still screw up.

      • Indeed, it and all other similar attempts are unconstitutional. There’s a simple litmus test for this: if you can start placing legal limitations on 2nd. amendment gun ownership, why can’t you also start placing legal limitations om 1st amendment speech rights? Oh, yeah, that’s already happening too.

  3. You can’t Take away the constitutional rights of a citizen because he’s on antidepressants give me a break. That would be over half the country. What needs to happen Is they do need to fix the holes in the net But that should only be For serious mental health risk not from a mom that has a little depression after giving birth to a child, Or an individual on a mild anti anxiety medication. That’s getting into personal doctor records and those records should only be released to NICS If They pose a threat to themselves or to others.

    • I know of at least one state that already bans firearms for anyone on any kind of anti-depressant or psych meds. Even non-psych meds that might have psych side-effects. The progs would love to do that everywhere.

      • 1. How does a state ban firearms ownership by a certain individual?
        2. How does a state know who is on antidepressants?

        This whole idea is SCARY!

    • … [medical] records should only be released to NICS If They pose a threat to themselves or to others.

      Everyone who owns a firearm or does not subscribe to the Progressive vision of utopia poses a threat to “others” … as far as the people who want Progressive utopia are concerned. Thus even your standard will screw us over.

    • “… If They pose a threat to themselves or to others.”

      IF they pose a threat to others why are they not immediately being put under a professional’s care? If they are so dangerous that they can’t have a gun then why is it OK that they are out on the streets?

    • So Big Jim, I guess statists gotta state.

      I see people like yourself as someone that has been in prison so long, you’ve become institutionalized. The prison of needing permission from the state for everything you do.

      You have become so used to the idea of needing permits and licenses for any significant action in our modern world, that the idea of something as fundumental as the bearing of arms without permission of the state is inconceivable.

      Oh well. As our Founding Fathers wrote, this is also the norm of history. The state grows bigger, as the people go from a place if freedom and self authority to the pathetic place of begging for permission for the most basic of rights. Which is what the second amendment represents.

      The basic right of being able to protect your life with an effective tool without needing permission from your masters. Because, after all, that is the definition of a master and his servant or outright slave.

      A servant begs permission from his master for the ability to effectively defend their life.

  4. The finer net argument is dangerous. That is easily translated into a larger set of criteria that defines a prohibited person.

    • “Redirection” arguments are always a bad idea. “Don’t expand NICS, fix it! …Well why not fix and then expand?” “Don’t ban Assault Weapons, most crimes are committed by handguns anyhow! …So we should ban both Handguns and Rifles?” Redirection with someone intent on an incremental win only gives them fuel to take another increment.

  5. Well, as I just posted under the gun show loophole article …

    Would it be righteous if government required a background check — which requires driving to a federally licensed entity and paying them a fee — before doing any of the following:
    (1) Speaking
    (2) Publishing
    (3) Attending worship service
    (4) Petitioning government for a redress of grievances
    (5) Assembling peaceably
    (6) Exercising our Fifth Amendment right to remain silent
    (7) Asserting our Fourth Amend right to be secure in our personal property
    (8) Purchasing vegetables of our choosing
    (9) Playing golf
    (10) Being intimate with our spouse

    If it is wrong for government to require background checks before exercising all of the other rights in that list above, they are wrong on firearms acquisition and possession.

    And I haven’t even touched on the endless possibilities for government to abuse implementation of background checks. For example government could severely under staff background checkers and bring firearm sales/acquisition effectively to a halt. Or government could define almost any “condition” to be a “prohibited person”.

  6. How about we implement the same type of arrangement for voting? In order to vote, you must fill out a form so that the government knows you want to vote, you then submit to a background check to verify that you are a citizen, then you must pay a fee, attend a class, and demonstrate that you can pass a civics test prior to being allowed to vote.

    • Also, if you’re a felon, have ever smoked marijuana, are adjudicated mentally deficient, or are in arrears on your child support payments, you don’t get to vote.

      But if your’e a felon, you can just show up to the polling place anyway, because they can’t ask you if you passed your background check, since that would be a violation of fifth amendment-protected rights.

      • Don’t forget personal protection (restraining) orders … being the subject of a personal protection order would bar you from voting as well.

    • It reduced the unemployment rate of the country because of all the new Federal Employees that had to be hired to make the system work.

      Yeah, OK, I’m reaching…. I got nothing.

    • The background check system accomplished two things:
      (1) It increased the number of federal “law enforcement” agents.
      (2) It increased the number of voters who will always vote for Big Government.

  7. It’s not a terrible message,

    They did lobby for the instant check system after the stupid Brady Bill.

    It’s calculated to make them look reasonable to a wide swath of impartial and misinformed people – in other words people without actual principles who just accept a “goldilocks” solution and kneejerk support “moderate” solutions.

    What do we expect here? Do we expect the NRA leader to simply argue “Background checks are basically dumb, we have Second Amendment rights, the vast majority of guns sales are perfectly innocuous and to good people, and anyway criminals don’t care about background checks”? I might make those arguments in person but I’m not sure they should. Looking reasonable and like they’re trying to work to solve a perceived problem is not a bad strategy, and trying to educate people in a 2 minute spot is sort of doomed to failure.

    Anyway if you really look into the Pew poling more and more people realize that most of the anti-gun positions are BS anyhow.

  8. I won’t speak poorly of the NRA given what Obama has done, the American citizen needs all the help they can get. BG checks, though theater, do offer a primary deterrent. Since the selling of firearms as a business require a FFL, the BG check serves to protect the Gov’t, a CYA situation so to speak, understand? The problem with NICS and what Obama is doing is the retention of data.

        • The bullshit is that background checks have saved lives.
          John Lott is spewing bullshit to you?
          Fact: People have been killed waiting for approval to get a gun.
          Fact: Background checks have succeeded in reducing the number of good people owning guns.
          Fact: Fewer good people owning guns create more victims.

  9. To all you NRA bashers. If not for them you would have already lost a lot more freedoms than undergoing a background check.

    • Bullshit. If the NRA would have fought with true integrity for actual Liberty, we wouldn’t have nearly the battles to fight today. They whimped out. They compromised. Or, worse yet, they calculated the best way to continue their organization was by not winning the war. I don’t know which it was but they did Liberty no favors by appeasing. It would have been better to let the progressives go full-on so the people would know the stakes and could then fight it in the beginning. The NRA often gives the appearance of validity to the enemies of freedom.

    • That’s not going to shut me up. As an NRA member, I am of the opinion that we miss the point on this argument.
      They missed the chance to articulate the harm in background checks not to mention the failure.

  10. This is my suprised face. The NRA doubling down on infringement… again. The NRA needs to abandon this tactic if they want to truly support the individual right to keep and bear arms. Trying to link the validity of the natural right to keep and bear arms with crime rates and other such things is dangerous to Liberty. I don’t know about y’all but even if crime rates go through the roof, I’m not giving up the exercise of my right to keep and bear arms. When the holes in the NRA’s net are tightened, they will only succeed in making me and many others into felons.

  11. Yeah, the NRA is baaaaad. If the NRA hadn’t collaborated with the .gov, those bills introduced by the Demons in 2012, like Manchin-Toomey and Feinstein’s AWB, would never have passed.

    Wait. They didn’t pass. Because while the SAF was collaborating, the NRA was fighting.

    All this anti-NRA vitriol proves that pigs really do eat their own.

    • If you mean the NRA is the pig then I would agree with you. The NRA, intentionally or not, bought the progressives time to indoctrinate the public through mass media and the education system.

      • Your point (I’m being kind here) seems to be that if only the NRA had rolled over in 2012 and let the Demons pass Manchin-Toomey and Feinstein’s AWB, we wouldn’t be having to fight off the gungrabbers now.

        Don’t Bogart that joint my friend. Pass it over to me. Because I want some of whatever you’re smoking.

        • A post without substance is unlike you. But, I guess if somebody is going to Uncle Tom for the NRA, it’s bound to happen.

        • A well-to-do looking older man walks up to a smoking hot young woman at a party. He whispers in her ear, “Will you sleep with me for three million dollars?” She thinks about it for a moment and softly whispers back, “Yes.” He then whispers, “How about for ten dollars? “She shoves him away and indignently exclaims, “What do you think I am?!?” He replies, “We’ve already established what you are madam. Now we’re just negotiating the price.”

  12. How does that work? How can you tout the background check system and then argue that it shouldn’t be expanded?

    …. thats like saying Im opting for a safety on my gun… so i’m open to the full Monty.. field stripped, parts stored 500 yrds separate from ammo, all locked away from the nearest breathing human…All because i want a safety?

    It works Just fine if you don’t get stupid and run the issue off the rails…

    • There is no rational exit plan for this NRA strategy. What, one day they’re going to all of a sudden say we were wrong and background checks are in infringement? The NRA, because of the stance they’ve taken, have limited themselves to accepting infringement. I can’t see how they can get themselves out of the corner they have painted themselves into by compromising.

  13. Yeah… we need Chris Cox to replace Wayne Lapierre. We need to be fighting for NO background checks, not just fighting expanded background checks. If background checks makes sense, how do expanded background checks not make sense?

    They’re useless anyway, the felons who pose a danger are psychopaths, psychopaths are extremely persuasive and manipulative, and they will ALWAYS be able to get a straw purchaser.

  14. MEH…I’ll send some $ to the NRA. Pie in the sky ain’t workin’…flame all you want. Yeah I want perfection and no “unconstitutional” checks. But I’m old and know it will never happen. WHATEVER!

    • It’s your $10. Why would anybody flame you for that?

      I have a problem with the organization, not necessarily the people in it. I used to be an NRA member myself. I have no doubt that there are many liberty minded people who are members of the NRA. I know quite a few who are.

    • Agree with Water Walker. NRA runs hot and cold, but overall it is better than ivory towers and it is the 400 lb gorilla against the gun grabbers. I like the GOA, but it just does not have the throw weight the NRA has. SAF runs hot and cold as well.

      • Thanks Tom. I haven’t gotten excited about presidential politics since 1972. Now I care. And it’s mainly about GUNS. I hope my guy gets in(Ted Cruz) but I won’t cry like a little girl if he doesn’t. My only other absolute is JESUS. Not the NRA,GOA,SAF or various and sundry pro-2A groups…

  15. ok, NRA is bad, and it is gone tomorrow…but I still do not wish to live in a world like the wild west where differences are settled by gun battles (see Mexican border towns)…i do not want those proven to use guns for harm being able to obtain them ever again (they abused their right, so they loose it). That is how i feel. Have background checks ever prevented those who have proven themselves to use guns to hurt others from obtaining a gun, legal or otherwise? Are there any solutions?

    • Apparently, you want freedom without any responsibility and risk. It doesn’t work that way. The reality is that if you are going to be free, you have to also accept some responsibility and risk. People in Mexico have their rights trampled on even worse than here. That’s what you are seeing along the border.

    • Yeah because the”Wild West” ruined this country.
      Your idea of having enough unarmed victims out there for the bad guys to attack making you feel much safer.
      This Wild West myth is old. The problem with the frontier is that it was remote and criminals could flee the country.
      Every free man and woman should be allowed to arm themselves unregulated!
      Education is the key. Not infringement.

    • The problem in the “Mexican border towns” is the law abiding citizen of Mexico are not allowed to keep and bear arms. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns is not just a cute bumper sticker, but the way that things work out in the real world

    • but I still do not wish to live in a world like the wild west
      I do, as the Wild West was 3X safer than our civil society populated by modern men who never need a gun.

    • JJ, if you really believe they are helpful for anything, you should join the crusade to amend the constitution so that they could be legal, since simply ignoring it, instead, is speeding down the road toward tyranny. What you say? There is no such amendment drive, and there never has been? Sir, you have your answer as to what NICS is for.

    • jjimmyjonga,

      As others have stated … if a felon is so dangerous that we do not trust him to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer, then we don’t trust that felon to refrain from stealing a firearm, purchasing a firearm from someone’s automobile trunk “illegally”, nor purchasing a knife, hammer, or machete from the local hardware store.

      In other words, if a felon is so dangerous that we insist on prohibiting him/her from purchasing a firearm at a dealer, then that felon should still be in prison where he/she cannot harm anyone on the outside.

      • I agree with all of that, but it’s not the system we have. Our prisons do a poor job of reforming people. We continue to let convicted felons out, either on parole or with their time completed; they continue to have high rates of recidivism. Do we really want to restore their unrestricted right to keep and bear arms? You know how the antis love their double standards. If we do, then they will wave the bloody shirt and scream about how we support allowing dangerous people to purchase guns legally. They will conveniently ignore the fact that it’s their policies that are letting non-reformed felons out of prison in the first place, and their electorate will buy it just like they do every other ridiculous policy.

        As far as I’m concerned, background checks are a necessary evil since we as a society refuse to keep the felons locked up. Even if it doesn’t stop them from getting a gun, it keeps them from getting one legally in many cases. That helps placate the gun grabbers and people who are on the fence. If we let all those felons buy guns legally, then we add fuel to the antis’ fire.

        Give me a policy where the felons stay in prison and I’ll be happy to abolish the background check system. Until that time, fixing it and not allowing it to become a defacto registration system is in our best interest.

        • We already know Obama doesn’t respect the Constitution. Do you?

          Just because the federal government is violating rights doesn’t mean we have to agree with it and roll over. The solution you’re calling for is for the government to continue violating rights of the individual. Government will never change any of its problems in the system if we keep enabling it. Besides it’s not ethical for us to support government violating the Constitution and depriving individuals of their rights. All I see in what you wrote was, it’s not going to negatively affect me so go ahead and screw the other guy. In this case, you are willing to sacrifice untold tens of thousands of other people’s rights just because it doesn’t affect you. Not to mention the disastrous effect acceptance of this unconstitutional behavior of our federal government will have on future generations. It’s selfish, myopic, hypocritical, and unethical.

        • Do we really want to restore their unrestricted right to keep and bear arms?

          Do you really think that enacting unconstitutional laws that purport to infringe upon their right to keep and bear arms is going to prevent them from obtaining and bearing arms?

          Violent felons gonna felon. They’ll do it with or without guns, regardless of any laws in place. If you’re a violent felon, you commit violent felonies, with or without guns, despite laws that are in place. It’s what you do.

        • @ John in Ohio and Chip Bennet

          All I’m saying is this: if we let everyone outside of prison have unrestricted access to guns, then we need to keep the felons in prison. We aren’t keeping them in prison because roughly half the country blames themselves for the felons’ mistakes and can’t bear to keep them there. The background check is a compromise with that reality. Most Americans would agree that it is unethical to let people with a documented history of violence be armed.

          So yes, I’m willing to live with the NICS because I don’t think we can win any argument where we have to explain why we let convicted and released felons be armed, when those felons have such a high rate of recidivism. If you have a convincing argument – for the average person, not a committed gun rights supporter – I would genuinely like to hear it. I mean that with all due respect and no sarcasm. I don’t think we can win the argument, but I wouldn’t be unhappy to be proven wrong.

          Edit: And no, I don’t believe that background checks keep criminals from getting guns. But I’m dealing with politics here, not reality. The two are usually at odds.

        • All I’m saying is this: if we let everyone outside of prison have unrestricted access to guns, then we need to keep the felons in prison.

          Everyone outside of prison already has unrestricted access to guns, with or without background checks, or any other laws. If someone outside of prison (heck, even someone inside prison) wants to get a gun, they can and will do so.

          The background check is a compromise with that reality.

          The “compromise” works like so: law-abiding people are burdened in the exercise of a constitutionally protected right, and those who are not law-abiding are not burdened in any way whatsoever.

          That’s not much of a good or useful compromise.

          Most Americans would agree that it is unethical to let people with a documented history of violence be armed.

          And intelligent Americans will recognize that it is impossible to prevent people with a documented history of violence from being armed.

          If you have a convincing argument – for the average person, not a committed gun rights supporter – I would genuinely like to hear it.

          The argument is quite simple: the lawless are not constrained by laws. No law, including background checks, will prevent criminals from obtaining firearms. Thus, such laws only serve to burden the law-abiding, while doing nothing to hinder the lawless.

        • @ Chip Bennet

          I don’t disagree with any of your points, but it’s not me that you have to convince. We are playing a game of political chess with the antis, and the target audience is the people who are undecided or apathetic on gun rights. The goal is to win them over, or at least not galvanize them against our side. You’re using logic and making intelligent points, but much of the target audience deals in emotion instead. Just look at the article on this site about the accolades Obama got for crying during his speech. We can’t rely on logic and provable results, or on the average voter being informed and intelligent.

          In my opinion, the original NICS is a savvy move on our part. It lets people feel like we are doing something, even if it doesn’t actually prevent criminals from getting guns. It satisfies a moral urge to not sanction allowing the violent to get guns (if they want them, they have to obtain them outside of the law). It helps shield us from the aspirations of the civilian disarmists. When they say we don’t care about gun deaths, we can point out that we supported the NICS and that it does stop sales to convicted felons. When it fails to stop criminals from getting guns, it’s a convenient whipping boy for us. When they say we need more gun control laws, we can say enforce the ones you have and make the NICS better. Yes, we pay for it with some paperwork, some bureaucracy, some false positives, and some compromise with the absolute principles of the US Constitution.

          If we do away with it, we lose all the benefits. The antis will easily be able to paint us as uncaring about who can get guns just so we can avoid some paperwork. They can go on the attack every time a criminal hurts somebody with a legally purchased gun. All of this will come with calls for more gun control, and we may lose more than if we put up with the NICS. I am opposed to over expansion (adding Social Security and VA benefits recipients, etc.), turning it into a defacto registration system, or other forms of abuse, and I will fight those. But I still don’t see a better option.

        • You’re using logic and making intelligent points, but much of the target audience deals in emotion instead. Just look at the article on this site about the accolades Obama got for crying during his speech. We can’t rely on logic and provable results, or on the average voter being informed and intelligent.

          I don’t deal in emotional arguments. I can’t do it; it’s a shortcoming. I only deal in logic. If we must win over the other side with emotional arguments, someone else is going to have to make them.

          That said: I’m not willing to relinquish my claim to my natural rights on the basis of someone else’s emotional arguments. The entire concept that the exercise of an individual’s natural rights is subject to a test of utility against some claimed societal good is itself an emotional argument. My individual liberty to exercise a natural right ends only where that exercise causes harm to, or infringes the exercise of rights of, another individual.

          That’s why courts don’t – and likely will never – properly apply judicial scrutiny to laws that restrict the right to keep and bear arms: because every such law would fail that scrutiny, regardless of level. Applied properly, background checks would fail even scrutiny at the rational basis level.

        • Chip,

          Your comments are internally contradictory.

          “Everyone outside of prison already has unrestricted access to guns…”

          “The “compromise” works like so: law-abiding people are burdened in the exercise of a constitutionally protected right…”

          A non-prohibited person who buys a gun from a friend, neighbor, or off Craig’s List commits no crime. Thus a law abiding citizen who objects to NICS should obtain their firearms from the populous.

        • Internally contradictory? Hardly.

          Ironic, perhaps, in that they highlight the perverse fact that scofflaws, unconstrained by laws, have unrestricted access to firearms, while the law-abiding are burdened by laws that are utterly ineffective at accomplishing their stated intent.

  16. Background checks only unlock the door for anyone in control of the system to cherry-pick who can easily defend the lives that individuals are responsible for.

    You’re telling me that someone can be convicted of manslaughter, serve 2 years, and buy a gun; but someone can take an eagle feather home (violating the Eagle Protection Act) and never be allowed to own a gun again?

    Okay, I understand what you’re telling me. I won’t call you names; I’ll just fight that agenda tooth-and-nail.

  17. As I’ve said many times, if someone is deemed “too dangerous” to own a gun, then they’re too dangerous to be roaming the streets.

  18. The NRA is great. They will never be the utopia gun owners want. It is never going away. Just like those cameras that everyone wants on the police, street corners and cell phones. We lost our privacy. That is the price in the 21st century.
    The instant background check is here to stay. It is part of the 21st century. You are never going to go back to 1890 when a newly released multi murderer from prison could go buy a gun using the money he got by killing and robbing the first person he came across.

    Or perhaps you can get your wish as thousands of “non violent ” felons are released early from California prisons and they can then go buy any gun they wish.

    • So “shall not be infringed” is some unobtainable utopian idea now? See how the NRA appeasement has worked on people? This is one of our own making that comment. You’re right though, if too many people think like you do then we will never be able to truly exercise the individual right to keep and bear arms. Stop making excuses for the NRA or any other group that claims to be for the right to keep and bear arms but actually compromises the solid ground of our natural right.

    • “You are never going to go back to 1890 when a newly released multi murderer from prison could go buy a gun using the money he got by killing and robbing the first person he came across.”

      Today? What would stop him? I’ll bet over 10,000 firearms have been stolen in the past 24 hours, and 10,000 thieves are anxious to convert those guns into cash for drugs. Do you think they are going to insist on going to an FFL and getting a background check on a purchaser, before delivering stolen guns? WTF DO you think is going to stop that released criminal who just robbed and killed someone to get a gun, from getting a gun? Two things might! Not being released, ever, after multimurder, and in the course of robbery and murder being shot dead by the intended victim. Background checks don’t affect the probability of the first, and work against the possibility of the second.

  19. The NRA keep doing very dumb things. Actively fighting against certain legal cases and causes that don’t pass “moderate” muster is not the same as simply voicing dissent. Between this, meddling in silly right-wing pies (ie. describing the left as “godless” to the chagrin of any pro-gunner who isn’t a conservative Christian), and the post-Sandy Hook “blame video games” charade, they continue to leave me hesistant to send them money.
    HOWEVER, those complaining in this case that the NRA are just “settling” and shouldn’t even support background checks are failing to see the forest for the trees. Erosion of our rights did not happen overnight. It would seem the NRA is aware of this, and are playing a “long game” of their own to restore our rights slowly, so that, just maybe, the gun grabbers are the frogs in boiling water rather than us.
    I just wish that the NRA would stick to what they’re good at (gun rights) and better market something the “left” loves–diversity. There are many, otherwise left, non-Fudds out there who may not think they have a voice in the NRA’s current structure.
    Perhaps it is time for another “overthrow” that installs Colion Noir as VP.

    • There is no way out of this long game that the NRA has chosen. They can’t very well decide one day that the Constitution means what it says when they have instead backed a compromise solution. On top of all of that, in 30, 50, 100 years from now and beyond, attorneys in court cases will use the writings of the NRA as proof that it is okay to violate “shall not be infringed.” We do this now in court. We look at the writings of those in the past to try to come to a conclusion on what words mean and to what extent the 2A covers. Not only is this NRA strategy a trap that cannot be escaped, it will damage future court cases in the long game!

      Frankly, I think the majority of those who support the NRA strategy are well meaning but foolish. However, I also think there is a core statist group that wants infringement at some level. The Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about felons living in society, mental illness, excetera. But, the same people who insist that the NRA strategy is the only way to go are usually the same people who do not profess a deep understanding or support of “shall not be infringed.” They shriek at the thought of unlicensed carry or tremble at the thought of former felons keeping and bearing arms. Often times they are attorneys , especially former prosecutors. Other times they are law enforcement or some other agent of government. Some understand “shall not be infringed” and are afraid of it. Instead of simply admitting that, they resort to subterfuge on themselves and everyone else. You see, they really don’t want “shall not be infringed” to be the law of the land. They sell a load of bullshit by claiming the long game or this is what we need to do right now. I say to them the same as I say to any other anti-gunner, change the Constitution or shut the hell up. These people are no better then the rest of the antis. They squawk about Obama ignoring the Constitution while they themselves do the same thing. They have an agenda and it isn’t compatible with the Second Amendment or the natural right to keep and bear arms. A small core group of cowards and hypocrites are really what’s driving this disastrous faux strategy.

        • And, if government gets the hell out of our way and lets us take care of our own safety, the first time might just be a death sentence for the criminal. Our government has no authority, either on paper or ethically, to interfere in our ability to defend ourselves in day-to-day life. Reform needs to happen in self-defense laws and “shall not be infringed” needs to be respected by the federal government. This isn’t “pie in the sky” thinking. This is the intent and substance of living in a free society. Seriously, I think too many people nowadays are afraid to be free and they want the rest of us to share in their fear. If we don’t, they are intent on forcing it upon us. But, that is not what the Second Amendment says.

      • To John in Fantasyland…err Ohio

        If the NRA is your enemy then have a lot more in common with Obama and Hilliary than I do. You are good at running off your mouth, but how do you actually fight for your right to keep and bear arms?

        • Got nothing but insults, eh? I do very well fighting for all rights. I have been doing it for a long time.

          So, if you got the insults out of your system, how does the NRA come back from that cliff of some infringement in the long game? How does the NRA ensure that their compromises today aren’t read into case law decades from now as acceptable infringement?

          If you have answers, I’m listening.

  20. You absolutists really crack me up. All or nothing! Down with anyone that compromises! Meanwhile most of the progress on 2A rights is being made by those you would brand traitors or at the least collaborators. The extreme right view is just as appealing to people (you know, all those voters and politicians) as the extreme left view of people like Bloomberg.

    I get your point, really I do. Unfortunately your goal is every bit as much an ivory tower pipe dream as any liberal utopian fairy tale. Back in the real world where we all actually live, progress is made by being reasonable, flexible, and always watching your back. Gun rights didn’t get where they are overnight, and to expect anything but incremental change in the other direction is a pointless quest. Anti 2A stuff is coming, period, end of story. You can put your energy into screaming about ideology, or you can put that energy into finding politically viable ways to lessen the blow.

    • What is your definition of an absolutist?
      It wasn’t the absolutist that brought us to this point.
      It was your squishy forbearers that slowed the absolute leftists to tip the scale.

      • What is your definition of an absolutist?
        It wasn’t the absolutist that brought us to this point.
        It was your squishy forbearers that allowed the absolute leftists to tip the scale.
        Edit function is FUBAR

    • You absolutists really crack me up. All or nothing!

      Yes, sort of like the absolutism exoressed in “…shall not be infringed.”

      Down with anyone that compromises! Meanwhile most of the progress on 2A rights is being made by those you would brand traitors or at the least collaborators.

      You mean, sort of like this?

      “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

      The other side has no interest in compromise, and neither do I. In the end, we win, or they do. There is no middle ground, because unless stopped, they will not stop until our rights are denied completely.


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