FIX IT NOW!
After the horrific school shooting in Florida, Democrats and their allies in the media rushed to exploit the grief of children, blaming gun owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA). This tragedy was not caused by the millions of people who legally own guns for self-defense, nor was it caused by the NRA. But one cause is glaringly obvious: the background check system is full of holes.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was established in a 1993 law that forbids certain people from buying a gun: those convicted of a felony, addicted to drugs, or with a history of domestic violence or involuntary commitment to a mental institution. Gun buyers must pass the background check before lawfully buying a gun, but any computer database is only as good as the information put into it. The system has been in place since 1998 with the support of the NRA. Gun owners and the NRA have complained about the gaps in NICS for years, to no avail.
The monster who killed nine churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015 passed NICS because the FBI failed to discover that he had confessed to drug possession, which would have disqualified him.
The Virginia Tech killer passed two NICS background checks, even though a judge had found him to be a danger to himself and others. He was ordered by the court to get treatment, but his name wasn’t entered in the NICS database.
Prior to Nicholas Cruz killing 17 in Florida, sheriff’s deputies visited his home 39 times to quell domestic disputes. Cruz reportedly had a history of mental health problems, and school officials sounded the alarm about him for years. The FBI was warned about him, as were Broward County deputies, but they did nothing. He should, at the very least, have been unable to buy a gun.
In 2010, 80,000 prospective gun buyers were caught lying to the FBI to illegally buy a firearm, yet only 44 were prosecuted. This is a felony punishable by five years’ imprisonment and fines. Why hasn’t the DOJ cracked down on this? In addition, seven million felons have been left off the NICS database, and 38 states submit less than 80% of their felony convictions to the FBI.
Meanwhile, more that two million mental health records are missing from NICS. States have been slow to provide records, as have the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Defense.
The gun didn’t do it. Nor did the NRA. Mass murderers have free reign because the government that Democrats swear will protect us fails on every level, starting with the NICS. Its shortcomings have existed for as long as Chuck Schumer has been in office. Why haven’t our lawmakers insisted it be fixed?
There are many lessons to be learned here. First, Democrats will use any tragedy, and its victims, for political gain. Second, you can’t trust the government to protect you. The same people who seek to disarm us, powerful lawmakers like Schumer and Pelosi, have done nothing to fix the deeply flawed Instacheck system in the past twenty years. Think of that. They’re too incompetent or too indifferent to protect you, but they don’t want you to protect yourself.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.