Background checks might not be the answer to gun violence

When the gun control debate first manifested and suggestions were being made, I was on board — hesitantly — with instituting background checks for firearm purchases.  On its surface it sounds reasonable, right? We should check to see if a potential gun purchaser is a felon (I agree) or has a history of mental illness.  However, I’m not so sure anymore that a check which goes beyond a criminal history is safe for the law abiding gun owner after reading a short piece from Points and Figures.

The way gun control advocates would say it, we’d have a simple background check to see if you were a convicted felon or had a history of mental illness.  Since most people haven’t, it seems harmless for the greater good.  Right?

Maybe.  Then again, maybe not.

How about if they won’t sell you a gun because you have exhibited a history of anti-government views?

Well, most Americans might say, “We like our government and radicals like Bill Ayers shouldn’t get guns.”.  Uh-huh.  What if anti-government views were interpreted to be views like mine-meaning I don’t like the way American government is today and would like to see it significantly smaller.

Is that anti-government?  It certainly is anti-big government.  To any government employee it’s anti-government.

Perhaps I would be denied the right to purchase a firearm.  Even worse, while it would be tough for them to confiscate the firearms I already own, the government could pull my FOID card making it impossible to buy ammunition.

[…]

Obama and the gun control posse are barking up the wrong tree because he knows once he gets something as simple as a background check in place, they can twist those words to mean whatever they want them to mean.

[…]

Lawyers aren’t there to interpret and write the law innocuously.  They are advocates for clients.  When lawyers work for the government, they advocate for their client.  They aren’t there to protect your rights-they are there to protect the governments right to infringe upon your rights.

I think a valid point of concern is being made here.  The government is notorious for its perpetual encroachment on the rights and liberties of its citizens.  Laws restrict liberties, not broaden them, and when they have enacted a restriction, they do not let it go.  So it only stands to reason that once universal background checks are in place, the disqualifying infractions will only become more encompassing and open to interpretation as the need arises.  It’s not too far fetched to envision a questionnaire designed to flag certain personality traits or political views which are deemed a “potential threat”.

Comments

  1. Arming every law-abiding citizen will be the answer to gun violence.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=161637

  2. Glenn,

    Are you a law-abiding citizen? I think you promote liberty from law.
    I think that you, as DogTags does, abide “government violence” but not law.

    When it cames to the issue, “Background checks might not be the answer to gun violence”, I think they won’t be because of many reasons. Some of the supposed-to-be “law-abiders” will resell guns to criminals or they will be robbed of them for criminal use. There are many loopholes by which criminals have access to guns.

    Nowadays, I think there is no practical way to reduce gun violence in USA to the rates of civilized countries.

    Of course, arming more citizens will increase gun violence since criminals (which are mainly citizens and don’t came from outer space) will have more access to them and they would be more likely to use them in order to, for example, not be shot in the back in the so called “self-defense”.

    • Isu

      “arming more citizens will increase gun violence”

      this is factually wrong. Over the past decades, gun ownership and the number of guns in the hands of citizens has increased significantly. During the same period gun violence has reduced.

    • Isu,
      Your claims are paranoia and fly in the face of reality. Did you even look at the article to which I linked?

  3. John.

    “this is factually wrong. Over the past decades, gun ownership and the number of guns in the hands of citizens has increased significantly. During the same period gun violence has reduced.”

    It isn’t factually wrong since gun ownership isn’t the only factor that leads to gun violence.
    It could have been reduced even more.

    In my country the gun ownership is very low and gun violence is also very low.

    “If the enemy is within range, so are you.” Murphy’s Law of Combat

  4. John,

    I’m not backing back from my statement, that will increase gun violence whereas other factors will decrease it. The overall result doesn’t affect my statement.

    • You said arming more citizens will lead to increased gun violence. The fact is that along with increased gun ownership has also come decreased gun violence.

      There are some towns in America which require all its citizens to be armed and they are some of the safest places to live.

      You are simply factually wrong when you say increased gun ownership leads to increased gun violence.

  5. Glenn,

    “Your claims are paranoia and fly in the face of reality.”

    On the contrary, your are the paranoic ones. The reality is that in our country we have much less gun violence without guns.

    It would be difficult for me to be gun violent due to lack of access to guns.

    “Did you even look at the article to which I linked?”

    I looked the foreword and so I imagined the content.
    Does it talks about opposite side effects?

    More gun ownership would mean, for example, more access for psychos to guns and therefore to public shootings.
    For example and talking hypothetically, in my country Lanza’s mother wouldn’t have been a paranoic “survivalist” and due to that and the restrains about guns, his son wouldn’t have had access to guns. To make damage, sure, but not to the extend he did in your country.

    • Isu,
      Your rank ignorance is showing again. How much gun violence is in Switzerland?

      You didn’t read the article because you were afraid of the truth. It is a scholarly study which was done several years ago, demonstrating conclusively that when concealed carry laws were enacted, in such places crime was reduced, and especially in the realm of multiple killings. The evidence is clear, but it goes against your anti-gun philosophy. Well, we wouldn’t want to confuse you with the truth, would we.

  6. Glenn,

    “Your rank ignorance is showing again. How much gun violence is in Switzerland?”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/14/chart-the-u-s-has-far-more-gun-related-killings-than-any-other-developed-country/

    According to this chart there are about four times more gun related murders than in my country.
    Thanks for an example that remarks my point and your ignorance.

    “You didn’t read the article because you were afraid of the truth. It is a scholarly study which was done several years ago, demonstrating conclusively that when concealed carry laws were enacted, in such places crime was reduced, and especially in the realm of multiple killings. The evidence is clear, but it goes against your anti-gun philosophy. Well, we wouldn’t want to confuse you with the truth, would we.”

    The evidence is that we have less violence with less guns.
    Our anti-gun philosophy works well, the fact is that your gun philosophy doesn’t.

    • Isu, the problem with your article is that the USA has more people than all those other countries!!!

      Switzerland, the last I knew, required every man to own a firearm. What is their rate of crime? According to you, if every man had a gun, then firearm related crime should be off the charts.

    • Isu,
      And one more thing: being a “developed” country doesn’t make it a free country. A huge number of those countries are socialist where the government is the nanny from cradle to grave. There is no freedom to own guns.

      DO you know why no foreign country will ever invade the USA? Because in addition to our military, we have the largest armed citizenry in the world!

      The reason we have gun-related crime isn’t because of the guns – it is because the law has no teeth.

  7. Background checks often don’t amount to a reduction in crime. Ever heard of straw purchases? It might be a bit more difficult to do at local gunshops, but at stores like Wal-Mart, it’s ridiculously easy.

    You go into Wal-Mart, check out a gun, and leave. The next day, send someone in to buy it, and they’ll likely have a different clerk than you did. Won’t be any questions asked. The people who work the gun counter are the same people that work the grocery section. They want to do their job and go home. They don’t want to bother people or scrutinize people.

    Straw purchases happen every day – and they’re easy to do at big retailers. Plus, people are selling guns in the classifieds all the time. I remember my dad sold a shotgun out of the classifieds before. The guy called, got the address, and came with the money and left with the gun. We didn’t care to see his license, to take his name, nothing.

    Who cares what sort of radical views the guy holds? Maybe the guy was a felon or a domestic violence offender? Who cares? Those people have just as much right to protect themselves as we do. I don’t abide by unconstitutional restrictions on the Second Amendment. Felon or not, if a person has paid their debt to society, they should be allowed to own a gun. And people say , “Oh, what about violent offenders?” Well, start putting violent offenders in prison for the rest of their natural-f*cking-life like they should be, then you’d have less to worry about, huh?

    If you murder someone, you should get life, automatically. It pisses me off to hear about someone who was parolled after 10 years. To hear about a rapist doing 7 years. A child molester doing 5. A kidnapper doing 10. Whatever. BS to that. Them people belong in prison for life.

  8. Glenn

    I was talking about ratios (and so the article), not about totals.
    Of course, in Switzerland, gun related crime ratio is higher than in my country.
    I didn’t say at any time there was a sole and direct relation between gun ownership and gun violence. You, John likewise, are making a strawman.

    The most of them are not socialist but capitalist countries, mine included. And, of course, we are free countries: we freely restrain the use of guns.

    Fear of your militia? Good joke!
    Then, why do you spend so much money in a crushing regular army? It makes no sense.

    Your law has no teeth because your law (directly or indirectly) allows criminals to be armed to the teeth.

    • Isu

      This is what you said:

      Of course, arming more citizens will increase gun violence since criminals (which are mainly citizens and don’t came from outer space) will have more access to them and they would be more likely to use them in order to, for example, not be shot in the back in the so called “self-defense”

      There is no strawman here. You say arming more citizens will increase gun violence. Those are your words. I say to that, that you are factually wrong because over the past few decades gun ownership (i.e., more citizens being armed) has risen and gun violence has declined.

    • Isu,
      The law doesn’t allow criminals to be armed. THAT is stupid. The criminals will remained armed not matter how many anti-gun laws your ilk pass.

      The problem is that the law should punish gun-related crimes with severity – but most often the criminals just get a hand-slapping and are back on the streets because of bleeding-heart liberals like you. They blame the criminal’s behavior on every psycho-babble excuse instead of assigning personal responsibility and putting them in prison until they are too old to remember what they were put in prison for!

      The law has no teeth because it is never applied, and the criminals know it. So there is no incentive to remain within the law.

  9. John,

    I also said:
    “I’m not backing back from my statement, that will increase gun violence whereas other factors will decrease it. The overall result doesn’t affect my statement.”

    You keep making a strawman misleading a particular influence on a result and overall result of all influences (for example, ignoring social welfare influence).

    By the way, I have seen a chart that shows gun ownership:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/
    Where is the “gun owneship” rise “over the past few decades?
    According to pollings, nowadays gun ownnership is lower nowadays, for example, two decades ago.

    • The number of households which owns guns decreased, but that is because large families living under one roof is declining. More younger people arent staying home, people divorce, etc. But even though the number of households increases, which means the number of households with guns decrease, the number of guns sold and owned is increased. Currently there are 310 million guns owned in the US, which is about equal with the population. So why isnt there more gun violence? Why does it go down dispite the number of guns?

  10. Glenn,

    I didn’t say the law, I said “your” law.
    Some anti-gun laws are effective: in my country it is difficult for crimininals to get guns. Besides bearing a gun would make them more noticeable and they don’t need them for self-defense. In your country, on the contrary and as Terrance said, it’s “ridiculously easy” to get them.

    John,

    “But even though the number of households increases, which means the number of households with guns decrease”

    There is no link. One can buy a gun for the new household or take one from the previous one.

    “Currently there are 310 million guns owned in the US, which is about equal with the population.”

    Which is not equal to say that everyone has a gun.
    A paranoid guy can buy several guns. I would bet that gun sale increase after the “Boo!” is mostly due to existing gun owners.

  11. I do not think that background checks are a bad idea. I’m worried about how the policy would play out.

    Right now, it is possible to find sites that show who sex-offenders in your area might be. I’ve seen ads for on-line services that list those with criminal records. It should be fairly simple in this day and age to record people with criminal records and even those certified as insane or too mentally unstable to trust with a gun.

    From there, if one with no criminal record, or not certified as a head case does not show up on a check of a site set up to show such information, the purchase of weapon or ammo should not be denied. In this way, no threat of the purchase being recorded by the state should exist and no law-abiding citizen should be recorded as a gun owner.

    The point here is to prevent purchase of guns and/or ammo by convicted felons and the insane, while not interfering with the right of the law-abiding to possess the weapon of their choice.

    Unlike Terrance, I do not believe that a convicted felon, even after having served his time, should be allowed to ever possess a gun. The question here is regarding the type of crime for which one was convicted and decide if any crime is of a type that would not be grounds for a lifetime ban. For example, there’s a big difference between embezzling and murder. The former might be allowed, though I would have no problem with any criminal forever losing the privilege of owning firearms. I should think that a truly repentant convict might find protection by surrounding himself with people of good character, rather than associating with other law-breakers.

    As to the mentally ill, protocols for determining who qualifies for certification needs to be developed. I would think that, like with the criminal, there could be types of mental illness that does not lend itself to violent behavior or psychotic episode of the level that results in lashing out in violent and lethal ways.

    Methods developed to reduce violence must require that the law-abiding are not forced to surrender liberty.

Any Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: