Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The United States of Guns: Background Checks and Three-Day Waiting Periods Don't Work

Those of us who fall on the side of sensible gun control should be worried; very worried.

Background checks and waiting periods don’t work; we found that out here in South Carolina last year when a murderer was “mistakenly” sold a gun that he then sued to murder nine people at a Charleston church. The 21-year-old charged — and, just so you know, his name will never appear on this blog — in those nine murders, was allowed to purchase a .45-caliber handgun at a Columbia store because federal authorities could not locate the arrest records within the three-day period; the murderer had a drug charge on his record that would have disqualified him from purchasing a gun.

In 2015, over a quarter of a million background checks were left incomplete after the federal government’s three-day waiting period, meaning that 271,359 guns were sold before the purchasers background check was even finished.

Bad? What’s worse is that when the background checks were completed it was discovered that 9,063 guns had been sold, in South Carolina, to people whom the FBI had determined after-the-fact should never have had a gun. But those nine thousand folks got their guns because the FBI could not complete a background check in time.

Now, to be fair, the FBI doesn’t know how many background checks actually resulted in a gun purchase, so there’s no way of actually knowing how many of those 9,063 people who weren’t checked before purchase actually left the store with a gun. But even if one person who should not be allowed to own a firearm was allowed to purchase one because it just takes too darn long to finish the background check, then maybe the background check and waiting period needs to be longer, huh? Maybe we should oh, I don’t know, make people WAIT until the background check is done, however long that takes, before selling a weapon.

And we do know how many people who do buy guns when they should not have been allowed because of the FBI's retrieval requests; the FBI sends a list of those folks to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms [ATF] and they go out and confiscate those weapons. In 2015, the FBI sent 2,892 such requests to the ATF, up from 2,511 requests in 2014.

Looks like more and more people, who shouldn’t have guns, are getting them.

Luckily South Carolina’s Congressman, James Clyburn, a Democrat because, of course, has proposed the Background Check Completion Act, which would prevent a gun from being transferred by a licensed dealer until the background check is finished no matter how long it takes.
“The latest numbers show the problem is not going away, but getting worse. Congress must pass my bill, the Background Check Completion Act, to close the Charleston Loophole and keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of people the law already says should not own them. The policy should be very simple: no check, no sale.” — Rep. James Clyburn
Doesn’t that seem right? You know, better safe than sorry; better safe, than dead.

Take a minute to get your Congressional representatives a shout out — find them HERE — and tell them that this loophole that allows people who should not have guns to purchase guns, needs to be closed.

One life saved would be enough.

4 comments:

Helen Lashbrook said...

Mr Clyburn's proposal seems very sensible to me, but how many Republicans will oppose it because of the bribes in their pockets courtesy of the NRA? Or even worse because a Democrat proposed it?

mistress maddie said...

I agree! If these people who want a gun for legit reasons, they should have no problem wanting to wait till the complete check is done, and the dealers should be more on top of things too.

the dogs' mother said...

We are going to have something on our ballot this fall.

anne marie in philly said...

I just e-mailed my rep. lucky for me he HATES guns!