Sunday, November 9, 2008

What do WE think?

What do we gun owners think of the NICS check? That is the instant background check to determine if you are an eligible purchaser of a firearm made at the point of sale with an Federally Licensed Firearm Dealer.

After all, the idea came from the Brady's gun control group. But us gon owner like it because it does keep criminals from buying gun as easily. And it's an extension of the 1968 gun-control act that made categories of persons prohibitted from buying or possessing a firearm. Criminals, crazy people, people trying to violently overthrow the gov't, etc...

Gun enthusiasts were wary that the date from a check can be saved and used as a gun registry. And gun registries historically are the precursor to gun confiscations. But the law was changed so that the NICS info should not be retained by a goverment body. That feature was put in there to placate gun enthusiasts and soothe out worries. Of course, government might be saving that date, ANYWAY.

[And my state has a handgun and Sport Utility Rifle purchase form you have to fill out, so the State probably retains all that data in Maryland. But that's neither here nor there.]

But I'm asking what we Gun-Types think of NICS, because we generally don't mind it with the statutory limits on what can be done with the checks. It is a 'reasonable gun control measure' that we generally support for the most part. I'm not saying that ALL Right to Keep and Bear Arms types like it, but a good many don't see it as too high a hoop to jump through.


Is it because it helps legitimize OUR side? "Look, all of US were approved by NICS, and only a small percentage of US go on to commit crimes with the gun we buy, if we keep that gun. That percentage is even smaller for NRA members. And even smaller for people with Conceal Carry Permits. To put further restriction on US will diminish your returns if your goal is less gun assaults or homicides." NICS does indeed cut down on legal gun sales to criminals, forcing them to go to illegal means to obtain a gun.

That's a thought. The Brady's could insist everyone that wants to purchase a gun has to join the NRA and get a Conceal permit. Heh!

But why are we so on board with the NICS check, generally? Is it just too reasonable even to us?


Brad K. said...

I think the Federal Government has already been shown to use the NICS inquiries to trace guns and owners.

And I think liberals that don't approve of guns will be even less likely to feel bound to protect civil, constitutional, or individual rights.

We may not have feared the last administration, but the data gets passed on to others.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's "support" so much as "tolerate".

NICS is useless in terms of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. All it does is keep criminals from buying them directly from dealers. It doesn't keep them from stealing them, having their cousin Shawan who just turned 21 and so only has a juvi record by it for him, or buying them from the trunk of Jamal's car.

The plain fact is that the vast majority of people don't really care about what is effective and what isn't. The average person likes things like "security theater" because the inconvenience lends the impression that we're "doing something".

It makes them FEEL safer. And to the average person...feelings are truth.

IIRC, NICS was actually a compromise. The Brady's wanted mandatory waiting periods and registration. I believe that NICS was the compromise that the NRA brokered to prevent those things.

I think it's a waste of time, it adds bureaucracy and inconvenience for virtually zero benefit and is simply crying out for governmental abuse...but it's here and, although I think we could have a shot at changing its form (to, for example, something like the "BIDS" proposal), it's never going to go away...because it's perfectly OK to repeatedly let violent predators with multi-volume rap sheets off with a slap on the wrist and a stern talking-to, but heaven forbid someone FEEL like we're not doing enough to keep guns out of their hands.

DJMooreTX said...

I'd be willing to tolerate the NIC if:

-> The prohibition criteria were limited to violent felony convictions. Period. Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Orders should be right out.

-> Expired purchase data retention were poisonous; that is, any evidence developed using such data would have to be thrown out.

-> Trivial errors in dealer paperwork were not used as an excuse to shut down dealers.

It would be nice if there was any evidence at all it did anything to keep bad guys from buying guns. In the spirit of compromise, I'll settle for it not being a burden on legitimate buyers. However, "in the spirit of compromise" I expect to get something back, too, like unregulated open carry.

None of the above conditions being met, rip it out, and spit in the face of anyone demanding its expansion.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

There is some evidence it works to keep criminals from buying guns. Almost 80% of crime guns are obtained via straw purchases by family or friends, or from the trunk of a car from an illegal street dealer.

Jerry said...

You are being sarcastic? Aren't you?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

You're gonna have to elaborate, Jerry.

Earl said...

I work closely with a felon that was found guilty of selling firearms - and they didn't find him guilty of selling to anyone that didn't have a NCIS check.

He was found guilty of selling.. but he is proof positive that the law doesn't prohibit anything, and capitalism really does work, if you want it bad enough you will pay for it and someone will provide it.

Go back to the "will not infringe" which the NCIS background check has become.

DJMooreTX said...

NJT: "There is some evidence it works to keep criminals from buying guns."

You've cited evidence that the NICS keeps criminals from buying guns in legitimate gun stores, but that it does not keep them from buying guns elsewhere and using those guns in further crimes.

I want evidence that NICS actually reduces the rate of violent crimes committed with guns. (NICS took effect in 1998; Harlow's study only covered 1991 to 1997, ending right before the period of interest.)

I'm not saying it's not out there; I just haven't seen it -- and I'm honest: such data would indeed incline me towards accepting NICS, subject to my other two criteria.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I'll go along with that, DJ. And I don't want criminals buying guns in legitmate gun stores. Nor do the gun stores, or you, I imagine.And I'd like everyone committed of using a gun in a crime to get the time for the crime AND for illegal having a gun added to it. That's a federal rap, I think. I want to doule the number of people having a legal and more than halve the people with illgal gun by leaving illgal gun user in stir.

DJMooreTX said...

>>bangs head on desk<<

I just realized something that should have been obvious. I even pointed it out, but failed to catch the significance.

This study covered 1991 to 1997.

NICS started in 1998.

That means that either:
a) NICS was retroactively effective, or

b) Even without NICS, criminals avoided buying guns from FFLs.

This means that in order to justify its intrusiveness, NICS supporters must show that it has made a significant improvement in an already good situation.

Frankly, I doubt that's possible. I bet that most of the 20% of criminals buying from FFLs were generally law-abiding citizens who went off the rails, and would probably have slipped through any reasonably non-intrusive filter.

If so, NICS is a complete and total crock, which does nothing, not a thing, but get in the way of the honest.

Or am I still missing something?

(In related matters, see Clayton Cramer's article on Haynes v. U.S. (1968), which answers the question, "What's wrong with mandatory gun registration?")

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

NICS didn't exist. It wasn't instant. But federal background checks did before that, didn't they? They just weren't instant and involved a 1 week waiting period. Or so I thought.

DJMooreTX said...

Ah, right right right.

The hell of it is, I can't think of an easy way to determine if even that had any effect, because before then, the needed records weren't kept.

No, wait: we don't really care if felon bought guns in gun shops; what we care about is, did instituting background checks of any kind significantly reduce violent crimes involving guns?

I bet that you'd need a sophisticated statistical study to find that out, and I think that when you're talking about infringing that which shall not be infringed, the benefit must be strong enough to see at a glance.

This is suggestive, though: according to the Brady Campaign, the original Brady law went into effect in 1994, about midway through the study period. However, according to Harlow [p.3], "firearm use during crimes increased from 1991 to 1997". So my first glance impression is -- didn't do much, huh?