Background Checks — A response

to Frank over at the self titled “Perfectly Frank” blog to  his comments on this post. I want to focus on background checks but as usual there is something that need to be addressed before we can get there.

Frank, I really appreciated your comment:

You seem to be a great deal more educated on gun control than I am. That was a theme I intended to convey in my original post. I want to get smarter on these subjects.

and that is why I do spend time and effort to respond to blogs like yours. I will be glad to continue the discussion which has been congenial so far. I only replied here because the formatting of links, which I like to include, is harder for me in comments. I am glad you want to ‘get smarter’ on these subjects because that is my goal — to get smarter on how ‘gun control advocates’ feel about certain issues. I started off responding to blogs, seeking to understand the issue and the implications. I benefited from great conversations with some but found many more ‘gun control advocates’ who are / were not interested in conversation or learning more. So your approach, tone and willingness to learn is refreshing.

Next up

If the number of legally owned guns skyrockets in this country while the number of accidental or malicious deaths plummet near zero, I’d be as happy as everyone else.

I would ask you to do a little research on the number of firearms sold recently and the number of firearm related deaths and injuries. I could give you those numbers but determining them yourself will give you more ownership of the data. If you need help finding sources, I would be glad to point you to the sources I commonly use or work that others have done.

Okay, now lets get into the meat of the subject which you brought up with this statement:

Perhaps once I do enough research, straw purchase laws won’t make sense to me. I tend to think background check laws do. I’d be curious to know your position on those. Personally I don’t think the goal should be to punish the legal owner of a weapon for the things that weapon is used for. It’s more a tracking thing I suppose. If we’re to try and keep firearms out of the hands of the criminals or the mentally ill, some tracking seems to make sense. Perhaps requiring that gun owners be licensed to own and operate a gun, makes more sense? We certainly have laws that require that for other categories of inanimate objects. Nobody would fault you if I stole your car and ran over a mall full of people, but we certainly require licenses for their operation and their registration.

I do have to say before we start that you’ve hit upon one of the most trite comparisons that never works out well for gun control advocates in my opinion. I’ll let the my response be what the wordmaster”Lawdog” wrote 8 years ago.

As I mentioned before, it is hard to separate out the law from how it is enforced and applied, it is definitely the case here with background checks. So let’s talk about background checks at retail establishments to start. First, there is the adage “time is money” – a background check on good days adds just a few minutes to the process but when there is a strain on the system, say “Black Friday” the wait time can be half an hour or longer. People I talked to reported in some cases having to wait over 2 hours for the store and the system to process their background checks. And when the system is shut down people can not exercise their rights

System outages are a major culprit. Numerous outages, such as the 4-day outage that coincided with the Million Mom March for gun control, have shut down the NICS for hours or even days at a time. When the system is down, neither Federal nor State background checks can proceed and gun sales cannot occur. According to FBI data, system outages amounted to over 215.5 hours of down time last year alone.

That was in the year 2,000 – basically 8.9 days the system didn’t work at all. Some states require the checks to be processed through their internal systems; which also suffer from the same problem.

So we have a system where literally our liberty, our ability to exercise a Constitutionally protected, Specifically enumerated right is dependent on the government. And a government willing to shut down that system at times. I find that unacceptable. By the way, I hope you noted who was in the White House in the year 2000 —  one of the best sayings about enacting a law is you get to write any law you want but just imagine your worst enemy using it against you. Sure you want to write it?

Next we have to look at “Does it Work?”

To understand the value of background checks it is essential to understand the source of crime guns. Several sporadic attempts have been made to learn how criminals acquire guns. For example, a 2000 study by the ATF found the following distribution of sources
Source                                           Percentage
Straw purchase                           47%
Stolen                                            26%
          Store                       14%
         Residence               10%
         Common carrier     2%
Unregulated private seller       20%
Gun shows/flea markets        13%
Retail diversion                        8%

From a 2013 National Institute of Justice memo (PDF alert) – nearly 50% of firearms are obtained through straw purchases — a person buying a firearm for someone prohibited from purchase. Do you really think that Wally  Wannabe Gangster is going to care that he is supposed to get another background check when he ‘sells’ the firearm to someone in his gang?  How about Gidget the Girlfriend to Mark Meth-head?
Don’t take my word for it; from the same memo-

A perfect universal background check system can address the gun shows and might deter many unregulated private sellers. However, this does not address the largest sources (straw purchasers and theft), which would most likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed. The secondary market is the primary source of crime guns. Ludwig and Cook (2000) compared states that introduced Brady checks to those states that already had background checks and found no effect of the new background checks. They hypothesized that the background checks simply shifted to the secondary market those offenders who normally purchased in the primary market.
(emphasis mine – Bob)

Let put that into practical terms. Chicago Illinois has a state requirement that all purchasers of firearms – private or commercial – must possess a state Firearm Owners Identification card. — Basically a license to even own a firearm; background check included as part of that process. Fort Worth Texas does not have such a requirement; private sales are the business of the two people involved.

Chicago has a homicide rate of 18.5 per 100,000 people. Fort Worth Texas — 5.7 per 100,000. Okay so that might not be fair because of size; how about Dallas Texas –12.4 per 100,000. So if Dallas and Fort Worth have much lower homicide rates; the question has to be asked, why?

And before we move on, I hope you caught the significance of this “this does not address the largest sources (straw purchasers and theft), which would most likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed.” – in other words, it is entirely possible that by implementing background checks we could increase the number of burglaries, robberies and thefts ! Talk about the law of unintended consequences. How many more people would be hurt because criminals are breaking into homes seeking firearms and finding the owner there?

And that brings us to other practical points — such as, what about those who already possess firearms?

I own – well let’s just say more than one and less than I want :) — but what purpose does it serve to conduct yet another check on someone who already owns firearms?   How about the people that don’t have access to a close gun store or licensed dealer — not all of our population lives minutes away from a 7/11 much less a gun store.

And how about family members; while we know some people will break the law because that is their nature, to assume that everyone will is very insulting. So why should a person have to get a background check done when getting a gift from a family member or friend?

Let’s turn to some numbers – again per the Bureau of Justice Statistics -(PDF alert) -there were 478,400 firearm related violent crimes. In 2011, the National Instant Criminal system (and isn’t that a fun thing to know — each and every time some wants to exercise their rights- they are suspected of being a criminal until cleared by the government) — conducted 16,454,951 checks, Even if every firearm was used by a different criminal and purchased that year; that means only 2.96% of the gun owners were involved in a crime. And we know how ridiculous that is!

Why do we know how ridiculous that is? Because the ATF is helpfully tracking information about how long it takes firearms to show up at crime scenes — the so called “time to crime” metric —

The 2013 report includes a state-by-state breakdown of types and calibers of firearms recovered and traced, source states, criminal offenses associated with the crime guns, time-to-crime, and age ranges of crime gun possessors at the time of recovery. Key findings of this year’s report include pistols as the most common firearm type recovered and traced, 9 mm as the top caliber recovered and traced, and 11.08 years as the average time-to-crime for crime guns recovered and traced in the U.S. and its territories.

11.08 years. Over a decades worth of actually stolen firearms, firearms falsely reported as stolen, etc are already out there (Let’s forget the fact that a decent machine shop can turn out firearms by the dozen easily). Criminals are aware of this, aware of the abysmal closure rate of crimes and are willing to risk it for immediate gratification. Oh…did I forget to cite the closure rates for crimes?
Let me do that now:

  • In 2010, 47.2 percent of violent crimes and 18.3 percent of property crimes in the Nation were cleared by arrest or exceptional means. 
  • Among violent crimes, 64.8 percent of murder offenses were cleared, 40.3 percent of forcible rape offenses were cleared, 28.2 percent of robbery offenses were cleared, and 56.4 percent of aggravated assault offenses were cleared.
  • Clearance data for property crimes revealed that 21.1 percent of larceny-theft offenses were cleared, 12.4 percent of burglary offenses were cleared, and 11.8 percent of motor vehicle theft offenses were cleared. 
  • Nineteen percent of arson offenses were cleared by arrest or exceptional means in 2010. 
  • 34.3 percent of arson offenses cleared involved juveniles (persons under age 18); this was the highest percentage of all offense clearances involving only juveniles.

This affects the goal of background checks in a major way – there a large chance a firearm used in a crime will never be recovered (can’t trace what you don’t have).

 

Well it seems Frank has replied, not here unfortunately, but on his own blog with a new post. One that includes this comment:

 

Through this reading and my conversations with Bob I realized something.  I’m not being as genuine as I should be and I should work to fix that. The bully was right and I’m asking Bob to defend concerns that are secondary to the real issue.

So I’m going to stop mincing words.

It is my belief that there should be far fewer guns in this country.  There should be a very limited set of people with access to guns.  For the most part, most guns are unnecessary and extremely dangerous.  They are a cowards weapon meant to intimidate or bully at their best and make it very easy to murder another human being from a safe distance at their worst. I have had the few guns I’ve owned over the years destroyed and I think most every other gun in the country should also be destroyed

Still trying to be amenable and friendly in tone (for the most part) with Frank. We can and should discuss the issue with the least amount of rancor possible.

Firearm Related Homicide Rate

As usual Bill Whittle really punctures the anti-rights cultists myths about how the USA has the most firearm related homicides.

.

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I would ask the antis if they could explain these two questions; why do other countries have such higher rates than America? And why do some cities in America have higher rates than others.

 

H/T to Greylocke

 

 

Turnabout is Fair Play….

or is the newest politically correct term supposed to be ‘equality’

Oh, and Boehner didn’t consult Obama:

Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress about Iran next month, a move sure to inflame the Obama administration, which is trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic.

Boehner later told reporters he did not consult with the White House about the invitation….

After the closed GOP meeting Wednesday, Boehner told reporters he didn’t need to consult with the White House.
“Congress can make this decision on its own,” Boehner said. “I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye. There is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president last night kind of papered over it. And the fact is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists, and the threat posed by Iran.”

Boehner inviting Netanyahu is big-time trolling. But even bigger, it may help Netanyahu in the run up to the March Israeli elections, ensuring that Netanyahu will be around for the remainder of Obama’s final term in office.

Update: I was wondering if Netanyahu would accept the invite, since it could be perceived by Obama as another poke in the eye. Yes. He. Did.

 

See President Obama, you aren’t the only one with a Phone and a Pen.

However the White House criticized the invitation as a breach of the protocol for when world leaders visit the U.S.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that usually leaders inform the White House before planning a trip to the U.S. He said the administration will decide a course of action after speaking with the Israelis about what Netanyahu will say in his address, the Associated Press reported.

The State Department also expressed displeasure, with spokesperson Jen Psaki telling reporters “traditionally” the administration would be informed by the world leader directly about a visit.

The Israeli leader has been a vehement critic of negotiating with a nuclear Iran. He and President Obama have endured a tense relationship throughout their time in office.

Where the President will not act, John Boehner will — wasn’t that something like you said Mr. Obama?

Is it just me or does it seem like President Obama has invited illegal immigrants to Washington more than he has invited some of our closest allies like Israel?

 

 

Senator Cruz Sums It Up

Pretty well covers my thoughts on the part of the State of the Union speech by President Obama.

 

 

I do love how people like President Obama sees absolutely no irony in trumpeting the call for everyone to have a fair chance; to succeed, to contribute equally but turns around and say “We are going to tax one group of people more heavily then they already are”.

Yeah, because one group paying the vast majority of taxes is really ‘fair’.

 

 

Well That Messes Up A Morning

Had a great blog post planned (not really was going to wing it) and needed to start the day early because a rush project.

Instead of getting into the office early, knocking out a quick post; I spent an hour or so dealing with a minor fender bender.  One of those low speed freeway collisions; two or three cars up from me, one decides to stop suddenly for no $@#% reason. Everyone Most Everyone brakes in time, I barely avoided the truck in front of me. Unfortunately the driver behind me didn’t, he hit me pushing me into the truck. I couldn’t tell if my hitting the truck pushed him into the car in front of him but it doesn’t matter; both of them drove off without even thinking of exchanging information.

My back bumper is messed up slightly and the other guys front grill had some parts come loose. Of course, when I go to exchange insurance information; his policy is expired.

And it isn’t his car.

And his name isn’t on the policy anyways.

Cops were called just to make sure everything was on the level and the other driver did produce an identification card; not a valid Texas Driver’s license though. I have contact information and the officer did inform me there was a valid policy on the car. Whether the driver is covered or not remains to be seen.

Guess I know what I’ll be doing in my ‘spare time’ for a while.

 

 

Monday Meandering Thoughts

Sports

Well, Green Bay let the game slip through their fingers. Seattle simply out played them in the last part of the game; when it mattered the most, the Packers couldn’t close the deal.

 

Entertainment

I missed much of the game – apparently tuning in just in time to see the Seattle come back – because She Who Lets Me Make Her Coffee Every Morning and I were out seeing the record breaking American Sniper movie. Along with just about every gun blogger and a large part of the country.
I wonder if the movie industry is going to pay any attention to these two little tidbits.

The largest R-rated four-day weekend ever. The previous record for the restricted rating was Hangover Part II which made $103.4 million over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in 2011.

 

Hmm, could it be that people are trying to tell the industry something about the types of movies they really wants ?

Sleeping in

Not this weekend. Normally get up on Sundays for church but some Saturdays I can get a few extra hours in; this weekend was one of the times I couldn’t. Was up, out of the house and setting up at the Gun Club at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. Having to make sure we get set up for Orientation class really early; some applicants got there before the club volunteers and the sheer number of applicants is starting to push our processes. We had another 34 new members attend Class. Despite the considerable investment in technology (more on that in another post), we still have the typical slow downs of getting people checked in, money collected etc. What worked in the past “Please show up 5 minutes before class starts” has now turned into “15 to 30 minutes before“. We still get everyone through the process in under 4 hours but sometimes we get really close to that 4 hour mark.

Wonder if the board would approve us moving the Orientation class to 1:00 p.m. just so I could sleep in a little longer on Class dates?

Media Coverage

This really struck home in two events this weekend; both happening in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex

Teenager dies in crash in North Richland Hills

A North Richland Hills teenager died in a crash Saturday night.

The crash happened just after 7:00 p.m. in the 5500 block of Snow Drive in North Richland Hills, according to North Richland Hill police Public Information Officer Jeff Williams. Williams says 15 year old Kendall Clark was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by her mother. The mother made a left turn and her vehicle was broadsided. Kendall’s mother is listed in critical condition in a local hospital. The driver and passenger in the second vehicle were treated for injuries at the scene but did not require hospitalization

And

Colleyville dad arrested for shooting daughter in the hand

A Colleyville man is in jail for shooting his daughter in the hand.

Colleyville Police say 53-year-old Steven Johnson was showing his gun to some friends who were visiting his house when it went off.

Officials say Johnson’s 10-year-old daughter was in the next room and was hit in the hand. The child was taken to the Baylor Emergency Medical Center but had to be later Care Flighted to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas for care.

She suffered a broken bone in her hand and was treated.

Johnson was arrested for injury to a child (a state jail felony) and was booked into the Keller Jail. He does not have a criminal history.

 

Notice any difference between the two reports? (My sympathies goes out to both families, especially of the teen girl who lost her life.)
Still not a lot of information on the traffic fatality but no reports mention speeding or failure to yield by the car that struck the mom’s car. That leads me to believe the Mom was likely at fault in the collision. Not one mention of her criminal history, not one mention of her being booked into jail.

The father who negligently handled and discharged a firearm? Oh, yeah — his past is being brought up and rightfully being changed with a crime for his actions.
Which negligent behavior will the antis focus on ? Of course the firearm related incident even though there was no loss of life; why well because “gun death“.

And what will the media continue to focus on days for days afterwards? Without a doubt the story that had no fatality. An anti-gun bias or agenda doesn’t have to be blunt; simply choosing which story to follow, which words to use  — notice the man is in jail for shooting his daughter but the teenager ‘died’ and the mom ‘made a left turn and her vehicle was broadsided’.

 

Hope you had a great weekend.

 

Work In Progress

Saw this e-book come through on one of get free Kindle book notifications that I subscribe to

Time Management: The Ultimate Guide On How To Stop Procrastination and Manage Your Time More Effectively
By Jason Smith
Learn How To Manage Your Time More Effectively and Optimize Your Time To Get The Most Out Of Your Busy Day Get This #1 Best Selling Time Management Book For A Limited Time Discount! If you are having a hard time finding that life-work balance or time to pursue things that are important in your life, this book will quickly get you.

 

Sounded like something that I need; so I clicked on the link. Only to be told

You purchased this item on October 26, 2014.

Yeah, it really does sound like something I need…..to read.

Not having a great Friday so far. Hope yours is better.