|Back to Home > Bulletin Board > Current Events > Topic: Background checks|
Posted - 4/4/2013 11:28:13 AM | show profile | flag this post
I keep hearing about how we need background checks for gun buyers. Well here are a couple of points for consideration. First, criminal background checks are already done. There have been over 160 million criminal background checks since 1998 with over 980,000 denials. I think this fact seems to get lost in the discussion.
Second, there is no way to screen for mental illness unless the person has a criminal record or has been committed to a mental institution. Medical records are private and that includes psychiatric evaluations/examinations. A psychiatrist cannot release information regarding a patient unless that patient has expressed a specific threat. Adam Lanza would not have been excluded from purchasing a weapon under any proposed background checks. In fact, I don't know of a single mass shooter that would have been.
Posted - 4/4/2013 2:24:13 PM | show profile | flag this post
You're right about the numbers....
but there are loopholes in the background checks.
In fact, 60% of the guns sold in the U.S. are not subject to background checks.
"Though commonly referred to as the 'Gun Show Loophole,' the 'private sales' described above include guns sold at gun shows, through classified newspaper ads, the Internet, and between individuals virtually anywhere."
The idea of "universal background checks" would require EVERY transaction involving a gun be given the scrutiny of a background check.
It would also likely eat into "straw purchases" -- where a person who CAN pass a background check buys a gun for someone who can't -- say a felon like the one suspected to have killed Colorado's prison chief last week.
The straw purchasers often resell guns illegally -- it was big business buying up guns in Virginia and selling them from the trunk of your car in New York City back in the 90s.
Requiring universal checks would put illegal gun dealers out of business -- or hold them responsible if they provide guns used in crimes.
On the rest of that, you are correct. And the mental health barrier is a subjective one made by a doctor who may not see a homicidal tendency. That's a crap shoot.
Though it is standard practice for mental health professionals to question known homicidal and suicidal patients about access to guns -- since they DO pose a personal and public health threat in those situations.
Posted - 4/4/2013 2:43:13 PM | show profile | flag this post
there is no way to screen for mental illness unless the person has a criminal record or has been committed to a mental institution. Medical records are private and that includes psychiatric evaluations/examinations. A psychiatrist cannot release information regarding a patient unless that patient has expressed a specific threat. Adam Lanza would not have been excluded from purchasing a weapon under any proposed background checks. In fact, I don't know of a single mass shooter that would have been.
The one commonality among all mass shooters is that they were all either:
1. Taking psychotropic medication
2. Withdrawing from psychotropic medication
The reporting on the last four shootings (Gifford, Aurora, Clackamas, Lanza), has made minimal effort to release the names of the medications that the shooters were taking. Why?
And if undiagnosed/untreated mental health is such a public health problem, where are all the untreated mental cases shooting up schools, malls, etc., that haven't been diagnosed/on meds? All those crazy psychos who have never, ever been treated/diagnosed running rampant shooting people all day, every day?
They don't exist.
The DRUGS CAUSE the homicidal ideation/behavior. [Google mark taylor, columbine, lawsuit.] This is a FACT. It's an adverse effect.
But it is funny how the mental health issue has suddenly DISAPPEARED from the discussion. The media is not touching it anymore.
Posted - 4/4/2013 2:47:19 PM | show profile | flag this post
And I know this is a difficult concept, major cognitive dissonance. But it's true. Look it up, there's plenty of evidence to support it.
Posted - 4/4/2013 3:15:52 PM | show profile | flag this post
"60% of the guns sold in the U.S.
are not subject to background checks"
That's a gross exaggeration...or an outright politically-motivated lie. Obama got three Pinocchios by using 40 percent. His number was predicated on a 19-year-old survey with a sample size of 251 people. The margin for error was calculated by the fact-checkers as 12 percent and they indicated that on the low end the numbers of those not subjected to background checks could have been around 30 percent.
This is one of the major problems with the statistics often cited repeatedly by the left wing. You people continue to use politically incendiary numbers even though they have been thoroughly discredited...taking advantage of the lack of sophistication and education of your constituents.
That is cynical in the extreme and totally unworthy of a professional journalist...which you claim to be. (I have my doubts...a professional journalist couldn't possibly be posting here 24/7 as you do.)
Posted - 4/4/2013 3:21:47 PM | show profile | flag this post
As regards straw purchases
It is given that criminals (and that's what straw purchasers are) don't obey the law. What makes you think they'd subject themselves to background checks? They'd simply find another underground source.
Your wholly idiotic statement that straw purchasers would be put out of business is laughable.
The fact that criminals don't obey laws is the principal reason that any gun law that can be proposed affects ONLY law-abiding firearms owners.
Posted - 4/4/2013 4:01:56 PM | show profile | flag this post
blackedtape; Not sure if it was your intent,
But you make very good points FOR a better new and improved background check system.
Your numbers sound correct; indeed; "In fact, background checks do work to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. According to FBI statistics, between November 1998, and February 2013, more than one million attempts to purchase weapons were denied as a result of federally-mandated background checks.
More than 58 percent of these denials were due to the applicant being “convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year or a misdemeanor punishable by more than two years.”
Another 10 percent were due to the applicant being convicted of a “Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence Conviction.” Almost 10 percent were fugitives from justice."
So of course, the system does work to a point. Do we know if any of those million potential gun buyers were a mass shooting on the way to a happening?? Of course we don't. Age old problem with the news biz--We never report on the plane that DIDN'T crash or the school shooting that DIDN'T happen.
The mental illness part of all this HAS been discussed, I don't know why anyone would say it hasn't. The confidentiality problem can be easily overcome. If a person wants to purchase a gun, they have to sign and allow their background to be checked. Period. That's it. That easy. Someone applying for disability benefits does the same thing all the time. You refuse to show you're a mental patient? Fine. You don't get the gun.
There is nothing wrong with making a weak law a stronger law. So a better background check would still result in Lanza killing his Mom and stealing her guns. I'll grant you that. But how many more killings COULD we prevent? And the gun show loophole(s) are a friggin invitation for abuse.
And also, the incredibly lame debate point that 'criminals don't obey the law...so let's not pass the law'....Jeez. Seriously?? We should disrobe ourselves of everything from speed limits to rape and homicide charges because speeders rapists and murderers don't obey the law anyway??
Posted - 4/4/2013 5:12:24 PM | show profile | flag this post
I don't think you can equate exercising a Constitutional right with applying for a federal assistance. I just don't think you can force someone to release their personal medical records, especially for a non-medical reason. You cannot force someone to prove they are not crazy. And doctors cannot be forced to release medical records.
Posted - 4/4/2013 5:25:52 PM | show profile | flag this post
They can pass all the laws they want
as long as they're aimed solely at CRIMINALS...and don't impact law-abiding firearms owners.
Law abiding firearms owners wouldn't be a problem for law enforcement even if they could own an Abrams tank or an F-16 or an RPG launcher. THEY SIMPLY DO NOT BREAK THE LAW.
And since criminals DO break the law the emphasis needs to be on enforcement, NOT more repressive laws.
But liberal politicians...being creatures highly sensitive to the opinions of their largely unsophisticated constituency...always seem to favor the heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all, easiest-to-implement-regardless-of-the-consequences "solutions" to demonstrate that they're "doing something." Nevermind that their "solutions" always impact the law-abiding but not the criminals.
Posted - 4/4/2013 6:11:08 PM | show profile | flag this post
Spot the logic ...
So been states (as fact):
"The one commonality among all mass shooters is that they were all either:1. Taking psychotropic medication 2. Withdrawing from psychotropic medication"
"The last four shootings (Gifford, Aurora, Clackamas, Lanza), has made minimal effort to release the names of the medications that the shooters were taking."
That's is your argument?
we don't know if the shooters were taking meds, and we don't know what. And we don't know if they were in withdrawal.
But you state as fact it is "a commonality"?
Lets just make broad and unsupported conjecture without evidence because it backs preconceived notions and theory.
Cheney and Bush would be proud.
It actually ranks up there with cruisers climate change denial in terms of pure backasswards logic, flawed reasoning, and absence of evidence or fact.
Posted - 4/4/2013 7:18:10 PM | show profile | flag this post
the "private sales" part of it all is a nonstarter..
for one simple reason..
it would be absolutely impossible to enforce effectively..
not unless there was somehow complete and total registration of ALL firearms.. and that will NEVER happen in this country..not without open warfare..
Posted - 4/4/2013 8:46:39 PM | show profile | flag this post
"NOT more repressive laws'
Yes hero cruiser, we have enough repressive laws! And you bravely want to see them enforced, even though they are repressive!
We don't more repression, just BETTER repression!!
It makes perfect sense, unless you say it out loud.
Posted - 4/4/2013 10:23:29 PM | show profile | flag this post
Let me get this right...
Background checks would only affect "law abiding citizens" and not criminals. But all of the recent mass killers have not had criminal records. So I think that means they would have an effect. Can't have it both ways. You can have your pistols. you can have your rifles. We just want to ban the ones that shoot 100 bullets in a few seconds. I can't believe anyone can't abide by that. There is no logic to your argument. You are once again saying if we ban one weapon, we are coming to take them all. That is paranoia, and paranoid people shouldn't have guns in the first place.
Posted - 4/5/2013 10:43:50 AM | show profile | flag this post
"It is given that criminals (and that's what straw purchasers are) don't obey the law. What makes you think they'd subject themselves to background checks? They'd simply find another underground source."
Are you sure you even understand the concept of a "straw purchaser?"
This is someone who CAN pass a background check. He won't find another underground source -- he IS the underground source.
Make him accountable for crimes committed with the gun he supplies and you're more likely to drive him out of business -- and dry up underground sources.
Posted - 4/5/2013 11:57:19 AM | show profile | flag this post
the idea of "criminals won't obey laws, so why have them" just doesn't fly.
We have laws against murder, but murders still happen.
Do NRA-types think we should get rid of our laws on murder because they don't work 100% of the time?
Of course not.
But a stronger background check law would give us greater power to prevent criminals from getting guns.
Posted - 4/5/2013 12:22:18 PM | show profile | flag this post
That's all speculation
and wishful thinking from someone who has a politically motivated drive to support the left wing's hare-brained...and unnecessary...gun-grabbing schemes.
More laws...especially reimplementation of one that did not work the first time...are not the answer. Enforcement of current laws IS the asnwer. The emphasis must be on individuals, NOT their firearms. But enforcement is not...and never has been...the strong suit of the left wing.
The "inherent goodness of people," dontchaknow. That along with the "privacy of medical records" and other weak-kneed surrender responses.
When it comes to public safety the "privacy of medical records" should be a non-starter. Besides mental health records would NOT be published in the papers...as left wingers cynically did with the names of gun owners...but would be confined to the NICS database for use only by authorized personnel for the sole purpose of approving or denying the acquisition of firearms.
Why is it left wingers approve of heavily armed nutcases running around freely in society and mowing down children and adults? But at the same time they want to ban firearms...which can do NOTHING by themselves but must be utilized by the nutcases.
It seems inherently logical to me: control the nutcases. Problem solved.
Posted - 4/5/2013 12:34:16 PM | show profile | flag this post
(A straw purchaser) is someone
who CAN pass a background check
You don't even know how to define criminality. Regardless of his/her ability to pass a background check, someone who transfers a firearm...or intends to transfer a firearm...to a disqualified person IS a criminal.
Posted - 4/5/2013 1:58:56 PM | show profile | flag this post
And we don't need any laws that make it harder to stop straw purchasers, we just need to better enforce the laws that do nothing to stop them!
There is no reason to check the background of someone purchasing a number of guns at a gun who then runs those guns to buyers who pass them on to criminals.
There is no reason to question that person for making repeated large scale purchases at gun shows.
We just need to spend more time enforcing the laws that don't work.
Good plan hero.
Posted - 4/5/2013 2:24:49 PM | show profile | flag this post
I just don't understand
Why this is not the 'No-Brainer' of all time. Please stop with the paranoid 'this could happen, slippery slope, gun-grabbing scheme, bullshit'. Common sense people. You do whatever you can to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and those who are a potential threat. Period.
Explain to me how a background check to BE a Walmart employee is perfectly acceptable--but a background check on a recently released gang banger wife beater to buy a gun AT Walmart is a step away from Obama storming your house to seize your .22
"I just don't think you can force someone to release their personal medical records," Agreed. But then no one is 'forcing' you to do anything. Last time I checked, buying a gun was voluntary. IF you want that, voluntarily, you should be willing to show the necessary paperwork. You HAVE to show SocSec card, and StateID, etc to work somewhere, drivers license, etc. You want to buy a (potential) murder weapon?? Then show me you're not a friggin threat to the my family and the neighborhood.
"And doctors cannot be forced to release medical records" Again, agreed. I don't want them to be "forced" either. But no one is "forcing you" to buy a gun. If you want to buy a new $1M Life Insurance policy, they're going to ask for your medical records. Don't want to give 'em up? Fine. No policy.
And...this constant drum beat that criminals won't go thru a background check STILL is incredibly inane. (We really have to stop wasting peoples time with all these 'kidnap crime laws', because kidnappers obviously aren't paying attention.)
(cruise) "They can pass all the laws they want as long as they're aimed solely at CRIMINALS...and don't impact law-abiding firearms owners." AGREED. And in that spirit--There is no way that any law-abiding firearms owner could--or should--oppose every incredibly super strict gun buying or ownership legislation. Everything from universal background checks to banning automatic weapons to limiting super mags to waiting periods to limiting how many guns per month. This is common sense. And if you're a responsible gun owner you should be FOR not against this type of law(s). IMO.
Posted - 4/5/2013 2:37:24 PM | show profile | flag this post
You need to reset your brain and start over from scratch
Nobody...NOBODY...is rejecting background checks. What's being opposed is all the stuff Democrats want to hang on the measure that implements background checks...e.g., firearm regsitration schemes, etc.
And Democrats...especially those in the media (coincidentally the same ones who post there)...try to hide or divert attention from those add-ons and will not admit they exist.
Posted - 4/5/2013 2:45:39 PM | show profile | flag this post
"This is common sense"
No, it's a WAY over the top emotional (not logical) visceral reaction typical of left wingers who despise and distrust Americans who want to think for themselves. Left wingers believe nobody can take care of themselves so government (read: left wingers) need to do that for them.
Further, guns have been one of the radical left's political rallying points for decades...despite being proved wrong on that issue over and over and over again. They think it's a winner for them politically but they get their asses kicked every time they bring it up. Obviously they're counting on public opinion changing...but it's shown no movement in that direction despite the VERY temporary blips in the wake of the horrendous mass shootings...incidents to which THEY THEMSELVES contribute with their adamant refusal to address the people issue.
The left wing is hell bent on throwing out the baby with the bath water.
Posted - 4/5/2013 2:58:55 PM | show profile | flag this post
cruise, NO, You need to keep up...
"Nobody...NOBODY...is rejecting background checks." Or did I mis-quote you??
LaPierre sure as shit is. NRA used to be for background checks, now they're against the whole concept. And the rest of what you just said is, as you put it, "That's all speculation".
Every time you throw out "gun-grabbing schemes" it makes you loo like a paranoid conspiracy nut. Keeping guns out of the hands of convicted criminals is most definitely NOT a gun grabbing scheme. It's friggin common sense.
"privacy of medical records" has nothing to do with anything. If you want to voluntarily buy a gun/murder weapon, you give up that right voluntarily. Don't want to do it?? Then don't do it. No weapon. It's as simple as that. (and if you don't want that job, don't give them your SS Card)
"It seems inherently logical to me: control the nutcases. Problem solved." (Or did I mis-quote you?) AGREED. And control the ex-felons, gang bangers, AND the obvious straw purchasers who buy hundreds of weapons for 'personal use'. Yea. Right. etc etc. How do you do that? BACKGROUND CHECKS.
Thanks for agreeing with me.
Posted - 4/5/2013 3:17:18 PM | show profile | flag this post
I agree with you when you're right
but you're DAMN sure not right on this:
"NRA used to be for background checks, now they're against the whole concept."
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The NRA...and ALL right-minded firearms owners...support background checks but don't want the hare-brained schemes Democrats are trying to append to the issue...a federal gun registry, permanent federal records of firearms owners, exorbitant (and unnecessary) insurance for firearms owners, restrictions on ammunition purchases, unnecessary banning of certain currently legal firearms, etc.
Hell, even the ACLU...a reliable Democrat ally...opposes the left wingers in congress on these issues.
Posted - 4/5/2013 3:42:41 PM | show profile | flag this post
but you need to understand the difference between a criminal and someone with a criminal record.
What I'm saying is that we need to require background checks on EVERY gun transaction.
And to hold the BUYER in each transaction liable for the crimes committed with the gun he or she bought.
That way, if a straw purchaser sells or gives away a gun WITHOUT going through a background check on the buyer -- that straw purchaser can be tried and convicted for crimes committed with the gun -- as an accomplice.
The structure to do that is not in place right now. In many cases, there's no way to trace the transaction nor to prove it was in fact a straw purchase.
The law right now leaves a lot of wiggle room for anyone supplying guns illegally.
The prosecution has to prove that the straw purchaser bought the gun with the knowledge at the time of purchase that he was going to give the gun away or sell it. But if he wakes up the next day and says, "Hey, I don't want this gun anymore," then he's free to sell it or give it away.
About the only way you can convict a straw purchaser is to have the person who winds up with the gun to turn state's evidence or to prove the buyer knew he was providing a gun to a felon -- as in a case where a relative serves as a straw purchaser.
Posted - 4/5/2013 4:08:08 PM | show profile | flag this post
That involves a federal firearms registry
and few, if any, NRA members or conservatives...and certainly not me...will support that. There are more than adequate investigative tools for law enforcement to use in such cases. They do not need a federal firearms registry.