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If you’re a “low-information voter” who supports universal background checks (UBCs) avoid reading reports on the subject. Even the most fervently pro-disarmament media outlets are having real trouble making the case for UBCs—once they explain what that actually means. And how they would “work.” To wit this from “Even under the new restrictions, [Aurora, Colorado spree killer James] Holmes might well have been able to buy guns because he was not diagnosed as mentally ill until too late. But he dramatically illustrates why America needs a foolproof system for separating those who have been officially classified as mentally ill from weapons.” Huh? You want to run that by me again . . .

Holmes was exactly the person who should have been confined and whose record should have been transmitted to the national background check database. More, as soon as the doctor reported his “homicidal” tendency, the law should have required police to seize — yes, seize — all of Holmes’ weapons.

Nope. Still not getting it. Especially not the foolproof part of the program. Doesn’t Holmes’ case prove that the existing background check system doesn’t work for gun store sales?

And what does that failure have to do with “strengthening” background checks to include private sales? While we puzzle over that piece of the puzzle, how does the News reconcile this:

The gun lobby has conjured the fantasy that expanding checks to cover the 40% of weapons sales that now escape them would lead to a national gun registry and, from there, to governmental seizure of weapons. This is propaganda by paranoia.

with this:

Despite the screamingly obvious need for thorough national background checks, Schumer has been negotiating for weeks with Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who says he supports background checks — except he wants a system that would immediately destroy the records.

After a gun sale was consummated, there would be no way to verify whether the buyer had submitted to a background check. So why should buyers and sellers go through the hassle?

Schumer is pushing for a searchable database so authorities can trace a gun found in a crime back to the point of sale, where the background check could be verified. But the gun forces recoil from this basic law enforcement tool without regard to the lives hanging in the balance.

I’m confused. Is a federal gun registry the NRA’s paranoid fantasy or a basic law enforcement tool? I’m going with C: universal background checks are a way to enable further gun control leading to eventual confiscation. Which is A without the paranoia.

And anyway, isn’t the reason to “go through the hassle” (thanks for acknowledging the infringement on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms) to stop people like James Holmes from buying guns? So, if it doesn’t work now . . .

By the News’ own admission, “The National Rifle Association and, if you can believe it, even crazier gun crazies appear to be winning the day.” Call me crazy, but I like the sound of that.

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  1. I think they should have seized Holmes, not his weapons. I know it’s been said before by many but, if you can’t be trusted with a gun maybe you can’t be trusted to be loose amongst us.

    As for the NRA and the crazies winning the day. America would be better off if we did. Anybody seen as a crazy by the anti’s is saner than the average bear.

    • If instead his serotonin re-uptake inhibitors had been seized instead – and the “mind-interface” Ph.D program he was in shut down because of general shadiness – isn’t it equally possible the shooting would have never occurred?

      First-person shooters on mind-cripping psychiatric pharmaceuticals – TOTAL IMMERSION in warped fantasy until the player feels totally absorbed into a new reality? YEAH, THAT sounds like a great idea!!!

      Kindly allow me to suggest that if anyone at TTAG were “diagnosed” and put on the same alphabet soup of mind-warping drugs – READ THE SIDE EFFECT LITERATURE! – and encourage to immerse in violent game environments – it may not have a happy ending either.

      • Dude, where do you get your information? I have no love for the pharmaceutical companies due to their practices, but do you even know what SSRIs do? How they function? Or what serotonin even is?

        • Since some people who take SSRIs are crazy, I would expect some of them to do something — you know — crazy. This connection seems to have escaped Mr. Burke, who blames the medication. Which is like saying the penicillin causes infections.

        • He doesn’t seem to understand neuroscience or video games either.

          The first company to bring “total immersion” gaming to market will make zillion$ and zillion$ of dollars.

        • i get what you saying that the drugs are not necessarily the cause, however ive noticed a huge increase in the doping of kids over the last 20 years. anyone who thinks putting 2nd and 3rd graders on ritalin and aderol etc. and moving up through zoloft and every other option as they get older doesnt severely affect the mental development of said person is blind. i dont know what the answer to this is but itd be nice to know what these mass murder types past is like to better understand the affects…

        • @john, blaming SSRIs is just another way of avoiding personal responsibility. Blame it on society. Blame it on racism. Blame it on poverty. Blame it on the devil. But don’t blame anything on the scumb@gs who do bad things. Oh, no. That would be wrong.

          Adam Lanza killed those kids because Adam Lanza was an evil pr1ck and he wanted to. He didn’t have a breakdown. He planned it, probably for months if not years. End of story.

        • As i’ve said it before. They’re not batshit because they’re on drugs, they’re on drugs because they’re batshit crazy.

      • Hrmm… I don’t recall ever saying ssris are the only thing that causes spree murders, nor am I blaming them solely. Yet ssris ARE one of the many causes of violence and suicidal/homicidal outbursts so maybe next time you should step down off your pulpit and at least try to interpret some data pertaining to the causes of such acts.

        but I guess what you are implying is someone who is on an ssri is incapable of planning a mass murder AND carrying it out because they were inhibited by a drug? cause I mean thats never happened before right? Seems to me you’re just out trolling with your self righteous accusations.

      • So do you hang out with Jim Carrey when he campaigns against vaccines because they made his stupid wife’s baby’s retarded?

    • This. People who have shown themselves to be a danger to others should not be free to harm others. It’s ridiculous that we let violent criminals out of jail because “Well, the arbitrary number came up so they’re free to commit more crimes!”

    • It’s an opinion piece. They don’t really get to hide behind the thin cover of journalism the other articles do.

      Still dumb.

  2. Once purchase data is on file it is a simple step to use that data to track down gun owners to make contact for further restrictions such as registration or confiscation. Simple as that.

    The State of CA has already shown that despite promises not to use DOJ data to track down a class of gun owners, if expediency calls, all bets are off and that information will be used by the government against those who provided it either willingly or unwillingly due to Health and Safety Code or Penal Code mandates..

  3. Maybe I am paranoid, but I do not believe any of the gun grabbers care one bit about Sandy Hook, Aurora Colo. victims or the people being gunned down in the streets of Washington DC or Chicago or anyplace else. They want our guns so they can control us. Of course they do a pretty good job of controling us now but I think things would be much worse with an unarmed populace.

    • According to an authority,

      “They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet.”
      Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

      “A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.”
      Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

    • The victims are simply another tool in the grabbers tool box to be taken out and used when needed in furtherance of their citizen disarmament efforts.

      The more tools, the better.

  4. They’re both anti-2A, but you keep calling the NY Daily News, “the Post”.

    either way, yeah… how did that make it past the Editor??

  5. The fact is, as has been shown many times in other circumstances, that no matter how many restrictions are placed on it nor how how loudly it’s proclaimed that “We’ll never use it that way!” if the data is available, someone will eventually come up with an exigency strong enough to rationalize breaking down the chinese wall. Once that happens the first time, the creep begins, and that wall is just a little bit weaker with every successive use, until it may as well no longer exist. It may take years, or it may take weeks, but nature runs to entropy, and the fall is inevitable.

  6. When is the pres going to start talking, I need a good laugh. Wayne should have never let up on the pricks when they howled about the cheif grabbers kids getting special armed protection & the White House fool stands in front of the cameras trying to take guns, Randy

  7. When people use the disparaging phrase “tabloid press,” they’re talking about the Daily Snooze. Okay, maybe the NY Times, too, but especially the News.

  8. A stunning lack of critical thinking. “Even under the new restrictions, [Aurora, Colorado spree killer James] Holmes might well have been able to buy guns because he was not diagnosed as mentally ill until too late.” Well, DUH! He was able to buy guns for the simple reason that he had not been adjudicated mentally ill or subjected to an involuntary commitment as a danger to himself or others–and nothing in the current bills, which only expand the class of persons subject to a background check, would have or could have changed that fact at all. Moreover, those “officially classified” as mentally ill cannot buy guns under the current system. And without throwing due process right out the window, no changes in the background check system will ever change that circumstance; but this is in fact what the author suggests: the mere accusation that you are crazy is sufficient grounds for the police to seize your firearms. Did the author not consider the implications of such a suggestion?

    And then there is this whole thing about tracing. What is the point of being able to trace a gun? All tracing can accomplish is to find out who last engaged in a recorded sale of a firearm; it proves nothing about who had it at the time of a shooting. If a gun is stolen or lost, tracing will tell you absolutely nothing.

  9. What these gun grabbers fail to grasp is that while a universal gun registry would in fact serve a benefit to law enforcement, those benefits are not worth the liberty that would would have to give up in exchange. Here is the analogy I give when debating reasonable but uninformed people.

    Want to know how to stop a mass shooting from ever happening again? Want to know how to stop the next Lanza or Holmes before they strike? Let law enforcement have access to everyone’s Google searches. If that data were available, we could easily create an algorithm that would accurately identify these guys before they strike (seriously, we could). Companies do stuff like that all the time for marketing purposes. All you have to do is give up a little bit of privacy, and all our children could be safe.

    Would the majority of people agree to such a plan? Hell no! We would rather keep our Google searches private than save the dozen or so lives, even children’s lives, that will be lost to the next mass shooter. We accept that inevitable tragedy because that’s the cost of freedom. But where your average gun grabber would never yield his Fourth Amendment rights, somehow we’re child-killing monsters for refusing to surrender our Second.

    The needs of law enforcement is not a trump card that justifies what ever policy these gun-grabbers desire. The cost of a registry (i.e. the threat to liberty) simply doesn’t outweigh the law enforcement gain. For me personally, the intolerable risk of a registry is effect it would have the next time a local municipality starts unlawfully seizing guns in an emergency (like Katrina). The last thing we need is to provide them is a checklist.

  10. Why bother with the NY Daily News? The “quality” of their journalism is well reflected by this piece from today:
    Written by an expert on the Constitution, politics, and freedom: the once-competent sports writer Mike Lupica.

    The full headline is “Sen. Chuck Schumer and Commissioner Ray Kelly stand for gun control against the idiots who fear the few”

    The “few” being the majority of American citizens, who support gun rights. The “idiots” being the politicians who actually consider the opinions of their constituents.

    Just remember that the “culture” at the NYDN is most akin to a bacterial culture.

  11. Until the late 70’s and 80’s there were state hospitals where the insane could be kept for everyone’s safety. Now these people are on the streets (or populating prisons). Medication is the treatment instead of removing them from society. Psych meds? I take the word of a schizophrenic patient who told me “if I take the meds I get to talk to you (meaning me, his nurse). If I don’t take the meds I get to talk to God. Which would you choose?”

  12. Expanded background checks will be abused.

    First instance of abuse is where the background checks are used to create in illegal national gun registry.

    The powers that be… can also lower the bar so that a person with a small misdemeanor for a bar fight back when they were in college is considered a prohibited person. In some states / cities excessive speeding or downloading a lot of music can get you a felony charge. Felonies are no longer restricted to violent crimes. How long before spitting on the sidewalk prohibits you from owning a gun?

    Domestic violence is being stretched to include just grabbing someone’s wrist or shoving someone out of your way as you walk out the door. Something as minor as a wrist grab can be used deny a person their Second Amendment Rights. No end to the amount of abuse that background checks will eventually lead to.

    In NYC if you have a gun permit, the police randomly call your house and ask your family members if you every display any signs of stress or great anger… and then pick at that. The wrong answers by your family will get your permit revoked.

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is to prevent future tyranny.

  13. Lest we forget this was the same rag that ran the “Shame on U.S.” headline with photos of the slain Sandy Hook children after the latest attempt at a Federal AWB failed.

    To me the problem isn’t that news outlets are biased, it’s that so many readers take their news source of choice for face value.

    I watch a lot of FoxNews, but I also realize that they blow smoke about 60% time. I read Drudge, HuffPo, Daily Beast (and TTAG of course) and I try to keep in mind that every writer, every editor, has some agenda of their own no matter how unbiased they try to present themselves.

    Americans need to be intellectually curious and pursue stories from multiple avenues. If a story or editorial seems to be missing key info or doesn’t present sound reasoning, it’s because the writer wanted it that way. Trust nothing without further verification.

  14. It’s pretty slimy to justify more gun laws on the basis that the feds fail to enforce existing ones. Then to call for laws they admit won’t stop the very evil they claim the laws are for. After those fail, which they are certainly intended to do, they will be calling for yet more laws, and finally confiscation. One can almost discern the outlines of a plan.

  15. Once the author uses the 40% number you know that he’s either irresponsibly uninformed or blatantly dishonest.

  16. Go talk to your friendly neighborhood LEO. He’ll tell you that “a searchable database so authorities can trace a gun found in a crime back to the point of sale,” is a solution in search of a problem.

  17. First they complain that we don’t have background checks for private sales, so Coburn offers them a way to get it done, which they reject because there’s no way to verify the background check was done for a particular weapon.

    But let’s say we don’t shut them down at this point as obvious liars and try to humor them further. There exists a mathematical beastie known as a secure hash function. You feed it in an arbitrary amount of data and it spits out a number of fixed size, say 128 bits. If the hash function is secure, there’s no way to reverse the process and find out what data you started with short of brute-force trying every possible combination – but if you already know what’s supposed to go into it, you can easily check that the result matches what was expected. What this boils down to is that rather than giving the feds the name of the seller, make and model of weapon, etc., we can feed all that information into a hash function and send the result. Then when the seller claims he did indeed perform the background check as required, they put his SSN + some information on the weapon and confirm the result matches a hash code sent to their system for a check on the buyer.

    My main concern with that is putting together enough entropy to feed into a hash function such that it would be impractical for the government to simply brute-force every entry in the database on their own time.

    All this is academic of course, because proposing such a system would only serve to expose that what they’re after is a registry, not an enforcement mechanism.

  18. One could argue that the message of ignorance and fear, lies and propaganda published by the New York Daily News is far more damaging in the long term than any gunman. Therefore, the agency’s rights to free press and free speech should be infringed – nay, revoked – in the name of public safety and our universal right to live without fear of criminally destructive speech.

    … To borrow a bit of gun-grabber logic, anyway. 🙂

  19. No Robert, Holmes’ case does not prove that the existing background check system doesn’t work for gun store sales. It proves that the existing reporting (or lack thereof) of psychological information by providers to law enforcement is broken.

    And when NYS officials take away licenses (and thus weapons) from citizens owing to new reporting of psychological issues, the outcry starts “see, it was all for confiscation!”

    We can’t have it both ways, asking the government to look into mental illness, but not wanting to back it up. If psychological disorders trigger violence in some, do expect further enforcement against those with issues, and that of course will come at the cost of some privacy rights. No easy solution to any problem.

  20. The government can’t legally confiscate an individual’s guns without jumping through the hoops of due process.


    Anyone who advocates that this should happen is a traitor, both to the Constitution and to his fellow citizens.

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