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 Russian gulag (courtesy

It bears repeating: the FBI’s  National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is an infringement on, and danger to, Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. This point seems to be lost on the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). “On Thursday Nov 21st 2013, Jake McGuigan, NSSF Director, Government Relations, State Affairs, testified before the State of Rhode Island’s Joint Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force,” their presser proclaims, “which is studying that state’s lack of compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). McGuigan told panel members, “federally prohibited people should be in the NICS system.” So, if Uncle Sam decides that it’s a good idea to . . .

prohibit anyone who’s been committed to a mental hospital from purchasing a firearm, the feds will have that info ready to go. Oh wait. That’s already established law; have a look at question 11f on ATF form 4473 (if you haven’t already done so dozens of times). I don’t suppose the industry lobby group has ever studied the political abuse of Russia’s mental health system to terrorize, imprison and eliminate (as in murder) dissidents. If the NSSF is historically aware, do they reckon it can’t happen here?

Check New Jersey’s mental health standard. The Garden State’s concealed carry permit application asks “Have you ever been attended, treated or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental  institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric conditions?”

What if the federal government follows NJ’s lead and decides that anyone who’s taken or is taking antidepressants shouldn’t be able to buy or indeed own or have access to a gun? That’s one in ten Americans. Not to mention the fact that this mental health demonization is bound to discourage mentally ill people—many of whom own guns—from seeking treatment? Talk about your law of unintended consequences . . .

The NSSF’s FixNICS campaign (a.k.a., “stop the crazies from buying a gun”) is nothing more that pro-gun agitprop. If NICS included the name of every American who’s ever been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution it would do nothing whatsoever to stop mentally unhinged people from committing atrocities.

Of course, that’s not the reason the NSSF is aiding and abetting lawmakers’ desire to be seen to be “doing something” about psycho-killers after the unfathomably horrific Sandy Hook slaughter. The FixNICS campaign motivated by the firearms industry lobby group’s desire to appear to be on the side of the angels. Or, if you prefer, to shake-off the idea that their members are death merchants happily supplying spree killers with weapons for mass murder.

FixNICS is also about preventing the feds from expanding background checks to all firearms sales. You know; we should FixNICS before we think about expanding it. Which is, you may recall, NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre’s position on the post-Newtown drive for universal background checks. Wrong. We should kill NICS before it kills us.

Our FixNICS effort is gaining ground. Several state legislatures have passed measures to improve the reporting of all records on prohibited persons, including adjudicated mental health records to NICS.

Still, it is a bit jarring when an anti-gun organization (with which we will continue to disagree on pretty much everything all the time) basically validates our arguments on correcting NICS. We will leave it to the commentators, such as’s S.H. Blannelberry to point out that rare (but meaningful to policymakers) convergence of thought, as we continue to work on behalf of our members’ best interests.

While I love, support, cherish and honor the American gun industry, in this case their “members’ best interests” are not those of freedom-loving Americans. Or, if you prefer, if my enemies are for it, I’m against it. Period.

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  1. The NSSF does not support us and does not speak for us. It’s the lobbying arm of the manufacturers and dealers. The same manufacturers — like Ruger and S&W — who couldn’t sell us out fast enough when Bill Clinton came after our gun rights.

    The same NSSF rejected Manchin-Toomey only because it would be a burden on the dealers, not because it infringed our rights.

    Don’t trust the NSSF. Not even a little.

    • That is basically what the liberals want to call the NRA, because it is a convenient label. It is actually true of the NSSF but I guess they don’t have the same media profile.

      Such a bizarre coincidence the NSSF is headquartered in Newtown, CT and their membership benefited so greatly in the panic that ensued as a result of events in their backyard.

    • Don’t forget that the existence, let alone Bureau status of ATF is 100% on the NRA. Deciding to dance with the devil it knew rather than letting Bonzo-the-Alzheimer’s-chimp defund the Agency and let all this “gun checking” nonsense be rolled into the FBI…

      • Can you please expound on that? I’ve not heard anything of the NRA helping the ATF keep from being rolled into the FBI.

        • Back in the day, Ronnie was going to defund the ATF and roll their functionalities into the FBI. The NRA was lobbying for this initially, but at the last minute, decided that they “knew” the ATF (in it’s weakened status at the time) so they told Raygun to let the ATF live.

          Search the archives of this site, there was a nice article on how Bonzo was one of the most anti-gun Presidents in history.

  2. Give them enough leeway and they will eventually say little Timmy’s Attention Deficit Disorder means he can never own a weapon. If not that, then consider how many young people today are considered to be “on the spectrum” of Autism.

    I’m not entirely familiar with what a felon has to go through to get their right to bear arms reinstated, but it seems to me it should be a streamlined process if they have done their time. Really I don’t know how it helps anyone that people who have done their time continue to be considered second class citizens. If we didn’t do that the rate of recidivism might not be so high.

    • if they have done their time.

      If they have done their time AND any probation or parole period AND made financial restitution to their victims (which they never do) AND re-established themselves in the community by working and living crime- and drug-free for a period of time AND they weren’t violent felons in the first place.

      Otherwise, let them remain as defenseless as were their victims. They can use a dose of humility.

      • There is more than one kind of felony. I absolutely agree that violent criminals and thieves should undergo a probationary period before getting their rights back and make restitution if applicable.

        But when you bring drug testing into it, well… What if they’re not a junky? How many black men have been denied their right to bear arms because they got caught slinging? Does that stop them from carrying? Some of them don’t even use the stuff.

        Honestly I don’t believe drug prohibition is good policy. My father smoked Cannabis on ambush in Vietnam and was decorated for his performance and personally interviewed by Elmo Zumwalt, to discuss the methodology of how they were ambushing the VC. The Navy also gave him meth and they would drink too, huge amounts of Coors. He was the First Mate on a river assault boat that ferried ARVN special forces and SEALs as part of MACV-SOG.

        Drug abuse is a horrible thing, but in many ways it is driven by underlying mental health problems and scarcity. There is such a thing as casual and responsible use and the PC crowd who says there ain’t has never been behind the wire. I don’t expect government policy to change, but most people who have lived know it is a load of crap. It is not really a big deal, since drug tests are stupidly easy to beat anyway. I used to work in a testing facility and I have seen records of people beating the system repeatedly before slipping up and case managers suspecting it was going on without proof. This was urinalysis, mouth swabs can really only catch active crack smokers.

        Personally I think the state should stop wasting time and money trying to stop people from getting high. But they actually see it as a source of jobs, so… it ain’t gonna stop.

      • A Free man is a Free man. Once the punishment is completed, no “streamlined process” is called for according to the constitution. Maybe we should start using it?

        • Who says the punishment is complete, or should be, once released from prison? Lots of crimes carry legal consequences post-imprisonment. Stock swindlers are banned from the financial industry. Crooked cops get banned from law enforcement. Child molesters can’t live near schools. Drunk drivers have the breathalyzer attached to their ignitions. Ex-cons of all sorts have a zillion conditions attached when they’re out on parole.

    • “Give them enough leeway and they will eventually say little Timmy’s Attention Deficit Disorder means he can never own a weapon.”

      And therein lies the contradiction: Little Timmy joins the Army, is taught to shoot by Uncle Sugar, goes overseas, and is issued a weapon. HUH?

    • I’m really getting tired of the whining about how felons have served their time and should get their guns back. EVERY time I hear that, no matter how often, I’m going to demand whomever’s advocating it to declare publically that they’re 100% cool with ex-con pedophiles working as teachers in their kid’s school. After all, they’ve served their time, right? Why deprive them the right to earn a living?

  3. I don’t know that it would do much to stop crime, but I’d actually be okay with universal background checks — if all that was checked was the person buying. No info about the gun itself (the type of gun is irrelevant), just checking the buyer’s ID against a database of prohibited felons for an instant yes or no answer.

    How you’d make sure such a system was universally followed without tracking/recording the buyer’s and seller’s activities, I don’t know… But if it could be made to work, it could be an acceptable compromise. No more de facto federal registry, intrusive questions, or time-consuming paperwork, which is good for gun owners; and a more or less universal check to help keep violent felons from buying guns, which (to the extent it actually works) is good for everyone and checks off an item on the gun controllers’ wish list.

    That would be more like an *actual* NICS fix than what the NSSF is trying to do.

    • Uh-huh. And if you know anything about IT, the files are regularly backed up. So an unpurged copy of the records exists somewhere…

    • “…I’d actually be okay with universal background checks — if all that was checked was the person buying.”

      Checked for what? And why? I have said before and I repeat here, again, The Second Amendment makes no provision for the federal or any government agency to establish, maintain and monitor a list of persons who are PROHIBITED from exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected Right to Keep and Bear Arms!

      The very existence of a list of persons and a government agency that uses it to determine, by whatever criteria, that someone may NOT buy a firearm, is the very definition of infringement of the RKBA, which is EXACTLY what the Second Amendment says they are NOT allowed to do.

      • Except that there’s that pesky militia clause… And the fact that the government (on behalf of the people) is allowed to punish criminals as long as due process is observed. Not just allowed, either — it’s one of any good government’s absolutely essential tasks.

        As for what’s being checked, that’s a debate in itself, but the bare minimum (and I’d consider it the maximum as well) would be violent felonies. Armed robbery, murder, forcible rape, etc. In addition, I’d say that once they’ve served a probationary period that is as long as their prison sentence was, they’re in the clear again.

  4. Requiring a background check before purchasing a firearm is effectively a requirement that one must prove one’s innocence before exercising a right. The idea of “guilty until proven innocent” is not only antithetical to the idea of a free country, but it is bound to fail, as it will not stop the criminals; it will only interfere with the law-abiding persons.

    We don’t perform background checks on journalists before they exercise their right to free speech and freedom of the press. We should not do the same for those exercising their right of self-defense.

  5. Anyone who can’t be trusted with a firearm shouldn’t be trusted to walk the streets freely, whether the cause of their untrustworthiness is mental illness or felonious behavior. Of course figuring out who can and can’t be trusted is a little easier said than done.

  6. They will eventually see that this is a Fool’s Errand.

    That’s in spite of the fact that the NSSF and SAAMI helped draft the 1994 AWB, beginning their nefarious work in 1989. 😉

  7. “Pulling a Ruger” (Although they are much better these days with some 21st century management!)

  8. Parole can place restrictions on your movement, you may need permission to go out of state or county. Yet we don’t have border checkpoints (well California does, but that is for agricultural contraband).

    The problem with background checks is precisely that for the sake of the minority prohibited, you require a test for the majority who aren’t. Might as well start asking for a check at state border. Parolees might be fleeing!

    It is sufficient, when someone has lost the exercise of his rights for a crime he has committed, that it is a crime with a weighty punishment for him to possess such.

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