As is the course, after every highly publicized mass killer incident, pretty much every anti-Second Amendment talking head comes out of the woodwork calling for us to “do something.” That “something” often wears the face of so-called “universal background checks.” In this post, I’m going to attempt to educate readers on the current state of background checks, and what “universal background checks” really are. After all, a study shows us that 90% of all gun owners favor said “universal” background checks. At least that’s what CNN would have us believe. Of course, that study was conducted of 192 people, so at least 90% of those folks did. I find it hard to believe that represents all of America since I don’t know anyone in my ever-expanding circle of gun-toting friends who are in favor of them. And I know at least 192 gun owners…
Current Background Check Law
As of this writing, October 21, 2017, if you want to buy a gun at a gun store, from a dealer at a gun show or from a dealer online, you will fill out a Form 4473 and you will undergo a background check. Period. Just last weekend, I was at a gun show and my friend bought a new gun. He had to undergo a background check. Right now, approximately 90% of all gun sales are done with background checks. I know Mrs. Clinton keeps touting the 40% no background check number, and our illustrious former President likes to say that it’s harder to buy an apple than a gun. Both of those statements are absolute lies. And they know it. The 40% number comes from a study done in the 1980’s years before the national background check system was implemented. And yet, they keep using the same old lie over and over. As for the apple, I haven’t had to fill out a form, show my ID and wait 10 minutes for NICS to clear me to buy an apple. You?
Since I moved back to America a couple years ago, I’ve bought a few guns. I’ve bought them at gun shows. I’ve bought them from online dealers. I’ve bought them at gun stores. You know how many of them required background checks? All of them. Because that’s how it works.
Now sure, I could have bought that cool little Beretta Stoeger Cougar from the private seller at the gun show over the weekend without a background check. But I’m pretty sure he would have not even talked to me if I looked like I was a prohibited person. Why? Because it’s a felony for him to sell to a prohibited person if he reasonably should have known such. Is it possible I could have fooled him and slipped my slimy little fingers through the evil “gun show loophole?” Sure, it’s possible. But we don’t make public policy decisions based on the illegal actions of a few individuals.
If you don’t live in, around or near the gun culture, you won’t really understand this, but I do and you’ll have to take my word for it. The vast majority of the 10% of non-BGC (BackGround Checked…I’m getting tired of typing that out) gun sales are between fellow gun guys swapping items in and out of their collections. That and criminals selling them out of the trunk of a car in gang-ridden ghettos. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Personally, I have a no-sale gun policy. I sold my first gun a long time ago, and I regret that decision to this day. So I never sell a gun I buy. But I know a lot of people who buy a gun, shoot it for a while, then when something else catches their eye, sell a gun or two to get the new hotness. Sometimes it’s a guy who buys 3-4 lower priced guns and decides he wants one expensive one, so he’ll sell off the cheaper ones to raise funds for the new one. He may sell those to friends at the range, in his shooting club or a guy at work. Those are the undocumented gun sales DiFi and Uncle Mikey Bloomberg are so scared of. I have no idea why.
“Background Checks Did Nothing”
Those aren’t my words, those are the findings of a new study that looked at the “universal” BGC laws that are in place in WA and CO. Now, I’ll tell you up front that I think the study is highly flawed. They are measuring the wrong things, and drawing the wrong conclusions. But, the bottom line is that these laws accomplished nothing. I put a link there so you can read the article yourself.
The researcher started with the supposition that mandatory BGCs would mean there would be an increase in BGCs over previous years. It doesn’t look like he controlled for any of the dozens of variables that would increase or decrease BGCs, but we’ll gloss over that like he did. He came to the conclusion that there was no increase because people decided to simply ignore the law and the State did nothing.
Now, I’m not a nationally recognized gun-violence researcher, but I’m also not an idiot. The entire premise of this study is flawed. He makes the assumption that previously law-abiding people suddenly become scofflaws because they don’t feel like doing BGCs when they sell a gun to a friend. To be fair, I’m sure some did—mainly because it’s a stupid law, pain in the ass, not to mention it’s going to cost you $40-50.
However, he ignores the concept that in general, law-abiding people are law-abiding people. He ignores the fact that those with handgun carry permits (gun owners, who likely buy and sell guns on occasion) are more law-abiding than the police as a group. Yup, we all just become felons because we don’t feel like complying with a stupid law—except for the myriad of stupid gun laws we already comply with every single day. Right…
What more than likely happened is far more simple. People just stopped buying and selling guns privately. If the whole BGC process adds $40-50 to the transaction, that often puts the price of a used gun to within spitting distance of a new one. So why buy used when you can buy new? It also means both parties must take a trip to the gun store for the BGC. This is a dangerous situation because many of us can’t enter a gun store without buying another gun, and we once again need to justify another purchase to our spouse. Some also ignored the law. Either way, it didn’t accomplish much.
The biggest problem with “universal” BGCs is that they are completely unenforceable. First, the Sheriffs in CO and WA have said they will not make it a priority to enforce the laws. Why? Because they have neither the time nor the funding to do so. And, they’re busy doing actual policing work—arresting criminals and such. Moreover, how are they going to enforce a law on a sale they don’t know is happening? Say you come shooting with me, really admire my rifle and want to buy it? And let’s assume I’m actually willing to sell it. How is anyone going to know you bought it? Unless you use it in a crime, and they can track the serial number back to me, no one will ever know. And even tracking a gun by serial numbers is hard. Ask states like New York which has been recording serial numbers of gun sales for years–that information has not been used to solve a single crime!
Second—and this is a real question, I’m not baiting you—do you honestly think that a criminal, selling guns out of his trunk to other criminals is suddenly going to start carrying around a stack of 4473’s and have the NICS number on speed dial when he sells a gun to a gang-banger in the ‘hood? Really? They are already committing a stack of felonies as it is; do you think they care about one more of your silly laws? I’ll answer for you; no, they don’t. OK, maybe I was baiting.
The only thing a “universal” background check law is going to do is inconvenience people like me—law-abiding gun folks who like to buy and sell guns because we like guns and we like shooting different guns. That might seem really weird to you. But, some of you like soccer and I honestly don’t know what planet you live on where that’s even remotely interesting.
Criminals don’t obey laws. That’s why we call them “criminals.”
But…But…But Mentally Ill People!
Ok, let’s talk about that. There was a big kerfluffle when President Trump rescinded Fmr. President Obama’s order banning Social Security Recipients who needed help with their finances from buying guns. The Leftist press went crazy screeching that HE JUST MADE IT EASIER FOR THE MENTALLY ILL TO BUY GUNS!!! No, he didn’t. Barry violated this small thing we used to cherish called due process. That’s a bigger issue and this post is getting long, so I’ll come back to that in another post.
Instead, let’s talk about the Left’s favorite bad boy, the Charleston Church Shooter (I’ll not use his name because he is pond scum and doesn’t deserve to mentioned by name here). Some have cried, “The FBI needed one more day to deny his purchase. But because of our overly-permissive laws, he was allowed to go ahead.” First of all, how do you know if he would have been denied if they had one more day? It may have taken a week, or a month for them to find that piece of information.
Second, do you know how many NICS checks were performed in May, 2015, the month he likely purchased that gun? Go ahead, take a guess. I’ll wait. 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? Not even close. According to the FBI, there were 1,590,980 checks in May, 2015. So 1 in 1.6 Million slipped though. Unfortunately, the results were tragic. I’ll not minimize that. As I said, the guy is pond scum and if it were up to me, he’d have been publicly hanged already.
However, as a percentage, that’s pretty low. Now certainly, there were likely a few more bad hombres that also slipped through. But given the fact that one and a half million law-abiding Americans are buying guns each month, and one or two bad guys make it through, I’d say we’re doing OK on average.
And before you go calling me heartless and virtue signal that I don’t care about the people who were killed in that heinous attack, I’ll say only this: Had one or two of the victims been allowed to carry a firearm in a church in South Carolina perhaps the perp would have been taken out sooner.
You see, anti-Second Amendment folks want to believe that they can pass a law and eliminate evil. I recognize that evil exists outside the bounds of law. I believe good people have the right to defend themselves against evil wherever they happen to be.
One Final Thought
I mentioned this in my post, If Guns Were The Problem, but it bears repeating—especially since I found the FBI NICS chart. For the last 10 years, the press has been reporting that there are roughly 300,000,000 guns in this country. However, from January, 2007 to December 2015, there were 181,119,535 NICS checks processed. While not all of those were new gun sales, I would bet the vast majority are. So let’s take out 25% as resales, and we get 135,839,651. That means we’re actually looking at more than 435 million guns in this country. And it’s actually more than that since this year there have already been more than 18 million NICS checks.
And, as I said in my previous post, the actual murder-by-gun rate is 0.000024%. Go read the post to find out how I get to that number. 100 Million gun owners, with 450 million guns and trillions of rounds of ammo and the gun murder rate is 0.000024%. Take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC and Baltimore (all cities with highly restrictive gun laws, by the way) and it drops to almost nothing.
As I’ve said over and over, all these murders are tragic to someone, even if it’s only the mother of the career criminal who’s life of crime caught up with him. I would never want to minimize the 58 who were killed by the shooter(s) in Las Vegas, nor the hundreds that were injured. However, 120 people were killed yesterday in car accidents. And the day before. And the day before that… Where is the outrage?
I understand mass shootings generate lots of emotions. We can’t understand why someone would do that. It’s evil, pure and simple. It’s also heartbreaking. But when we pause, take a breath and look at the facts—facts which don’t actually care about your feelings—we can see that by themselves, guns are not and have never been the problem. The actual problem goes much deeper, and it’s not something that is going away by yet another law on the books. Just think about this, OK?