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Why “Universal Background Checks” For Gun Sales Don’t Work



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Aww, FBI. You tried, and that’s what matters.

This is why Second Amendment advocates should be wary of  “universal background checks.”

Universal NICS checks–e.g., the idea that every single gun transfer, including private ones, should be performed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system–are always at the top of every anti-gunner’s wishlist. There are a couple of very good reasons why: The first is that it doesn’t smell all that much like infringement, so many Second Amendment supporters are willing to consider it. The second reason why the gun-haters love “universal background checks” so much is that it won’t work–can’t work, in fact, not the way the system is set up now–and is doomed to fail. And that, dear readers, is the point.

That’s a bold claim, I know, so take a seat next to me on the Bold Claim Time Machine while we travel back to the year 2007. Some oxygen thief decided to murder a bunch of innocent college students at Virginia Tech, and the nation was in shock and mourning. In the aftermath of the massacre, we learned that the murderer had actually passed a background check to purchase his guns, despite the fact that he had been adjudicated mentally ill. The NICS system failed, and immediately the cry went up to fix the NICS system. Specifically, it needed funding to update the system with all of the non-felons who are still prohibited from buying guns.

The NRA, and many gun owners, had no problem with that. It fell under the category of “enforcing existing gun laws,” as well as “honoring due process,” so the NRA actually backed the ensuing legislation. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. As of today, 13 years after the Virginia Tech Massacre, the FBI is still failing to complete hundreds of thousands of gun checks. Because the legislation around the NICS check was written to replace the “waiting periods” of the 1990s, if the check hasn’t been completed by three business days, the gun seller may legally allow the sale. There are more details about how that’s supposed to work and why it currently is not working at that link, which I encourage you to read in full. When you do, you’ll be reminded of something horrible:

The miserable little smoker’s loogie who murdered a bunch of Charleston, S.C. churchgoers in 2015 passed a NICS check despite the fact that he had a felony record that should have prevented him from purchasing a gun.

This brings us to the next logical question: If we already know that the NICS system hasn’t been fixed in 13 years despite near-universal support from both sides of the political aisle, why the dip-dyed Hell are people talking about adding more of a burden to it by forcing hundreds of thousands of new gun transfers through it? And here’s the logical answer: Because the point of the whole thing is for it to fail. The anti-gunners are waiting with bated breath for it to fail, and for some other toe-rag to slip through that background check and do something horrible.

Because once it does, they can declare the NICS check permanently broken and start with their real agenda: passing increasingly restrictive and burdensome legislation (which also won’t work to stop crime) until New York City-style gun control is a nationwide reality. Good ol’ Francis “Hell Yes, We’re Coming For Your AR-15s” O’Rourke may be out of the race, but the remaining anti-gun candidates aren’t any better. They’re just a little bit smarter about not saying what they really want out loud.




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