By: Teresa Mull
Nancy Pelosi has reintroduced H.R. 8, a universal gun registration bill she’s touting as “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.”
In a message to supporters, the National Association for Gun Rights sounded the alarm on this bill, saying:
If passed, H.R. 8 will:
*** OUTRIGHT BAN nearly all private firearms sales — requiring every gun purchase to be pre-approved by the federal government at YOUR expense.
*** FORCE nearly all firearm purchases to be registered through the Brady-NICS registration system.
*** CRIMINALIZE law-abiding Americans who want to sell firearms to close friends and neighbors unless Big Brother approves via their registration schemes.
In a speech she made on the Floor of the House of Representatives before H.R. 8 passed the House in February 2019, Pelosi said:
“Last night we were at the occasion to mark the 25th anniversary of the Brady Bill… 25 years ago, we enacted the Brady background check system, which has denied more than three million sales to potentially dangerous individuals.
“Yet the Brady Bill does not stop people from purchasing guns from unlicensed sellers without a background check at gun shows and online. We must pass H.R. 8 to close this dangerous loophole and keep our communities safe from gun violence. That’s what we are intending to do today.
“…It’s all about the children, the children, the children.
“We read about the tragic mass murders that have happened in our country. But we also have – and they stir us to action, hopefully. Here it’s been they stir us to a moment of silence, and now finally to action.”
But are background checks really effective? And would they have stopped the tragic school shootings we’ve seen in recent years?
Of course not. It isn’t about safety, or “the children,” as Pelosi claims. It’s about control.
Remember: gun control was in place when Nikolas Cruz (Parkland shooter) – and dozens like him – carried out their heinous crimes. Cruz passed a background check. So did, reported Breitbart:
“…the attackers at Las Vegas and Orlando, the Tree of Life Synagogue attacker (October 27, 2018), the Texas church attacker (November 5, 2017), the Alexandria attacker (June 14, 2017), the San Bernardino attackers (December 2, 2015), the Colorado Springs attacker (October 31, 2015), the Umpqua Community College attacker (October 1, 2015), Alison Parker’s attacker (August 26, 2015), the Lafayette movie theater attacker (July 23, 2015), the Chattanooga attacker (July 16, 2015), the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal attacker (Jun 17, 2015), the Muhammad Carton Contest attackers (May 3, 2014), the Las Vegas cop killers (June 9, 2015), the Santa Barbara attacker (May 23, 2014), the Fort Hood attacker (April 2, 2014), the Arapahoe High School attacker (December 13, 2013), the D.C. Navy Yard attacker (September 16, 2013), the Aurora movie theater attacker (July 20, 2012), the Fort Hood attacker (November 5, 2009), and the Virginia Tech attacker (April 16, 2007).”
The fact is, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) we have in place isn’t working. A huge majority of the time, the people being denied access to firearms are not criminals, but are law-abiding citizens who happen to share the same name as a criminal.
From the archives:
The bureaucratic errors inherent in NICS that create false positives negatively affect minorities the most because they are more likely to have similar names.
What’s more, NICS is more likely to punish military veterans, too, because 99.3 percent of mental health NICS names were veterans in 2012 according to research from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
Universal Background Checks Have Already Failed
When looking at states like Missouri, which had UBCs for handguns between 1981 and 2007, evidence shows UBCs are not the magic cure-all that gun control advocates make them out to be. Although the murder rate increased by 17 percent five years after this UBC policy was rescinded, five years before the law expired, the murder rate rose by 32 percent. Missouri clearly had a well-entrenched murder problem irrespective of whatever gun control laws were present, but the expiration of Missouri’s UBC law effectively slowed the rate of increase in its murder rate.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it authorize the federal government to create a background check system. On top of that, wrongful denials of gun purchases effectively represent the concept of a right delayed is a right denied. There is no constitutional basis for a background check system to delay a person’s right to own and carry simply because of a bureaucratic mishap. The Second Amendment does not say, “…the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, provided citizens pass a background check first.”
In sum, background checks have no impact on reducing crime. In worst case scenarios, they act as barriers to entry for many gun owners who could be denied their right to bears arms because of bureaucratic error (NICS) or because of high fees (UBCs).
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.