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Old September 27, 2018, 10:27 PM   #1
Prof Young
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USA Today piece on background checks.

USA Today had an interesting piece on why we should scrap background checks.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opini...es/1351115002/

The author makes some pretty good points, but I think one thing is overlooked.

With background checks in place the "bad guys" at the very least have to make a criminal effort to acquire a gun. The bad guys aren't walking into guns stores and loading up because they know they will be caught. The degree to which background checks work as a deterrent can't be measured. So why would we scrap the checks?

Okay, I know I've probably riled some of you up. Let's hear it.

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Old September 28, 2018, 01:05 AM   #2
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The counterpoint is that if the bad guys can walk into a gun store and buy a gun, they don't have to steal it. Certainly, if a robber is breaking in to steal the family jewels and he sees a nice handgun on the bureau, he's likely to grab it while he's "on the job." But there are bad guys who go looking for guns. If they could buy them, some thefts might be averted because the bad guys could keep an extra charge off their rap sheet.
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Old September 28, 2018, 12:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
With background checks in place the "bad guys" at the very least have to make a criminal effort to acquire a gun.
If you're a "bad guy" meaning a prohibited person, then attempting to acquire a gun IS A CRIMINAL ACT!!!

And, if you think the bad guys are going to spend their "hard won" (stolen/illegal) cash on buying a gun at retail, I think you're mistaken.

Sure, a few idiots probably will, IF they have the money. But I'm thinking even the dumbest bad guys will pay $200 to some crackhead in an alley for a stolen gun before they will pay $6-800 or more at a dealer, even if there was no background check. That's what they did before background checks became law, and that's what they are STILL DOING, though the cash prices have gone up, over the years...

Quote:
So why would we scrap the checks?
Start by doing an honest cost/benefit analysis. And really look at what we get for the money spent, not what is claimed by proponents of the current system, and not at things that cannot be measured.

OK, I get that no system is, or can be, 100% effective and efficient. I'm not talking about people who "slip through the cracks", I'm talking about broad principles being lied about, downplayed, or just outright ignored.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the background check idea does not work, to a degree, what I'm saying is that the CANNOT work to the degree we were promised, and that even when it does work, the people running our government virtually never prosecute.

That record is clear. Tens of thousands of denials, only resulting in a few dozen prosecutions, and only around a third of those actually ending in convictions does not fill me with confidence that the system is doing anything worthwhile. The other side thinks denying firearms IS a worthwhile purpose, but strangely doesn't seem to care about the violation of law involved.

I personally heard the (then) sitting Vice President of the United States (Biden), when asked why the government so seldom prosecutes the crime of illegally attempting to acquire a firearm, he directly stated "We don't have time for that".

Here's a point which is usually either ignored or downplayed by background check advocates.

NO background check can stop someone who does not have a disqualifying background. Ever.

Time after time, we get told how the evil psychotic killer obtained their guns legally. Which is true, but tis said that way to imply the legal requirements are too lax, and conveniently leaves the fact that the evil psychotic killer was NOT an evil psychotic killer at the time they legally bought the guns, unsaid.

After a horrific shooting, 20/20 hindsight goes back and points at this, and that, and everyone recognizes NOW that "oh, that person should never have been allowed a gun..." "the system failed", etc.

Yes, there have been a very few cases where the system actually failed. But in general all the "failures" that result in some nutcase getting a gun and committing havoc happened because the system worked, and did exactly what it was built to do.

Background checks are prior restraint on a Constitutionally protected right. What other Constitutionally protected right is restricted in that way??

We're all considered "guilty" until the system approves us. Guilty until proven innocent is not the way the rest of our system is supposed to work, and generally does. I find the automatic assumption of "guilt" insulting.

Another point where background checks cannot ever do anything to prevent a "bad guy" from having a gun, (and we're ALL bad guys, automatically..) is when they already have a gun.


How does it protect anyone from harm to require a check to be run on a 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 15th, or 45th gun purchase?? (and everyone in between?)
It doesn't. It's a waste of effort IF the goal is as stated, to protect people from harm. The most it can do is see if the legal status of the purchaser has changed. That can ensure compliance with the law, but it protects no one.

SO, what we have is a system that can't, and never could do what we were promised, is going to have people who slip through the cracks anyway, and cannot even touch people who are not criminals, until after they commit a criminal act (such as a shooting). AND one where the government most often does not bother to prosecute when it is violated.

Add in the ever present risk that some clerical error can put otherwise blameless citizens on a "prohibited" list, and the hassle and cost that correcting that can take.

Balance all that (and more) against the $ the system takes to run it. Are we really getting a benefit for the cost??

Quote:
The degree to which background checks work as a deterrent can't be measured.
I agree. There is, and can be no data base of people saying "I didn't commit mass murder because there was a background check, and that stopped me."

SO, its something that can't be measured. And some people will go from there, saying "if it saves just one life...." then its worth it. But they can't ever point to the one life (or more) that it saved.

How about the other side of the coin? WHAT IF it costs "just one life"??
What if someone who was threatened was legally delayed or denied a firearm to defend themselves with, and is murdered as a result of not being able to defend themselves?

What if that person was your daughter??

I know that possession of a defensive firearm alone is no guarantee of success, but the lack of one, because the government denies it, goes a LONG way to aiding the success of the attacker.

SO, considering that both "saving a life" and "costing a life" are both equally unquantifiable, I'd say those arguments cancel each other out.

Also, there is the added complication of badly written laws below the federal level (currently). I know of one state which passed a background check law that was so badly written that the state law enforcement agencies have refused to enforce it (until it is further clarified). Been a few years now, and so far, that clarification has not been delivered.

So, we have a flawed system, which doesn't deliver quantifiable benefits, costs money to run, and ticks off lots of good people when it "glitches".

Is that a net benefit to us?? I don't think so.
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Old September 30, 2018, 04:36 PM   #4
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Make some good points . . .

44 - you make some good points.

Thanks for adding to the conversation.

Life is good.

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Old September 30, 2018, 07:06 PM   #5
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Look these people have there own market place, they don't need ours !!
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Old September 30, 2018, 07:37 PM   #6
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+1GW44

My understanding is I can buy a really cheap or really nice gun on 'the street' in Downtown Dallas (and probably the biggest city nearest each of you) for less than I'd pay at a legit establishment. I just may not get a choice of slide color, brand or paperwork, and their background check is to look over their shoulders, check the cash, then skedaddle.
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Old October 10, 2018, 08:40 PM   #7
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This is an old thread but back before the checks, when there was a form, I remember at least 1 person getting arrested after the fact when they were running forms and found that he lied. The police got warrant and picked the guy up for felon in possession plus lying on the form. All they gotta do is some spot checks to keep bad guys from buying over the counter, todays system is a waste of time.
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Old October 10, 2018, 08:46 PM   #8
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In 1967, anybody could buy a gun without a background check. Even kids if they somehow had the money. "Felon in possession" wasn't a thing. I don't recall it being a problem then; it's just a manufactured problem now.
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Old October 11, 2018, 05:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
In 1967, anybody could buy a gun without a background check. Even kids if they somehow had the money. "Felon in possession" wasn't a thing. I don't recall it being a problem then; it's just a manufactured problem now.
You didn't hear about it back then because we didn't have 24 hour all news channels and social media. I have always been around guns and was in college before background checks were started. I grew up and live deep in the mountains of Appalachia where most people have one or more firearms that most consider just another tool. Back in the "good old days", there were frequent incidents with guns but nobody thought much about it and unless it was a well known person or it was done in front of a lot of witnesses, it didn't even make the local papers. People did things differently in the mountains. Back in the 60s, a man in jest, dared my uncle to shoot the thumb he had sticking up. The fellow didn't know my nutty uncle had been a MP in the army and was a crack shot with a revolver. My uncle shot at and hit his thumb. Later, my uncle met the man at a 1 way bridge and when he stopped to let him come across, the man shot his windshield out with a shotgun and filled his face with birdshot. The police didn't do anything because my uncle wouldn't even tell them who did it because you don't do that in the mountains because you get even (which is what the man was doing to my uncle). There was never any mention of the 2 gun incidents by anyone other than those with direct knowledge. My wife's uncle died after he severed an artery in his leg when the gun went off when he was putting it in his pocket. It never made the papers. Injuries and deaths are down considerably from the 60s when I was growing up but it appears more now simply because of the publicity due to news and social media.
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Old October 13, 2018, 12:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
In 1967, anybody could buy a gun without a background check.
In 1933 anybody could walk into a store, plunk down enough cash and walk out with a MACHINE GUN!!! (or any other type of gun) OR, they could order it and have the US postal service deliver it to their door. The only paperwork involved was a sales receipt.

From 1934 on, doing that has been a Federal crime.

Wer'e SO much better off, today...aren't we????
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