Background Checks — A response

to Frank over at the self titled “Perfectly Frank” blog to  his comments on this post. I want to focus on background checks but as usual there is something that need to be addressed before we can get there.

Frank, I really appreciated your comment:

You seem to be a great deal more educated on gun control than I am. That was a theme I intended to convey in my original post. I want to get smarter on these subjects.

and that is why I do spend time and effort to respond to blogs like yours. I will be glad to continue the discussion which has been congenial so far. I only replied here because the formatting of links, which I like to include, is harder for me in comments. I am glad you want to ‘get smarter’ on these subjects because that is my goal — to get smarter on how ‘gun control advocates’ feel about certain issues. I started off responding to blogs, seeking to understand the issue and the implications. I benefited from great conversations with some but found many more ‘gun control advocates’ who are / were not interested in conversation or learning more. So your approach, tone and willingness to learn is refreshing.

Next up

If the number of legally owned guns skyrockets in this country while the number of accidental or malicious deaths plummet near zero, I’d be as happy as everyone else.

I would ask you to do a little research on the number of firearms sold recently and the number of firearm related deaths and injuries. I could give you those numbers but determining them yourself will give you more ownership of the data. If you need help finding sources, I would be glad to point you to the sources I commonly use or work that others have done.

Okay, now lets get into the meat of the subject which you brought up with this statement:

Perhaps once I do enough research, straw purchase laws won’t make sense to me. I tend to think background check laws do. I’d be curious to know your position on those. Personally I don’t think the goal should be to punish the legal owner of a weapon for the things that weapon is used for. It’s more a tracking thing I suppose. If we’re to try and keep firearms out of the hands of the criminals or the mentally ill, some tracking seems to make sense. Perhaps requiring that gun owners be licensed to own and operate a gun, makes more sense? We certainly have laws that require that for other categories of inanimate objects. Nobody would fault you if I stole your car and ran over a mall full of people, but we certainly require licenses for their operation and their registration.

I do have to say before we start that you’ve hit upon one of the most trite comparisons that never works out well for gun control advocates in my opinion. I’ll let the my response be what the wordmaster”Lawdog” wrote 8 years ago.

As I mentioned before, it is hard to separate out the law from how it is enforced and applied, it is definitely the case here with background checks. So let’s talk about background checks at retail establishments to start. First, there is the adage “time is money” – a background check on good days adds just a few minutes to the process but when there is a strain on the system, say “Black Friday” the wait time can be half an hour or longer. People I talked to reported in some cases having to wait over 2 hours for the store and the system to process their background checks. And when the system is shut down people can not exercise their rights

System outages are a major culprit. Numerous outages, such as the 4-day outage that coincided with the Million Mom March for gun control, have shut down the NICS for hours or even days at a time. When the system is down, neither Federal nor State background checks can proceed and gun sales cannot occur. According to FBI data, system outages amounted to over 215.5 hours of down time last year alone.

That was in the year 2,000 – basically 8.9 days the system didn’t work at all. Some states require the checks to be processed through their internal systems; which also suffer from the same problem.

So we have a system where literally our liberty, our ability to exercise a Constitutionally protected, Specifically enumerated right is dependent on the government. And a government willing to shut down that system at times. I find that unacceptable. By the way, I hope you noted who was in the White House in the year 2000 —  one of the best sayings about enacting a law is you get to write any law you want but just imagine your worst enemy using it against you. Sure you want to write it?

Next we have to look at “Does it Work?”

To understand the value of background checks it is essential to understand the source of crime guns. Several sporadic attempts have been made to learn how criminals acquire guns. For example, a 2000 study by the ATF found the following distribution of sources
Source                                           Percentage
Straw purchase                           47%
Stolen                                            26%
          Store                       14%
         Residence               10%
         Common carrier     2%
Unregulated private seller       20%
Gun shows/flea markets        13%
Retail diversion                        8%

From a 2013 National Institute of Justice memo (PDF alert) – nearly 50% of firearms are obtained through straw purchases — a person buying a firearm for someone prohibited from purchase. Do you really think that Wally  Wannabe Gangster is going to care that he is supposed to get another background check when he ‘sells’ the firearm to someone in his gang?  How about Gidget the Girlfriend to Mark Meth-head?
Don’t take my word for it; from the same memo-

A perfect universal background check system can address the gun shows and might deter many unregulated private sellers. However, this does not address the largest sources (straw purchasers and theft), which would most likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed. The secondary market is the primary source of crime guns. Ludwig and Cook (2000) compared states that introduced Brady checks to those states that already had background checks and found no effect of the new background checks. They hypothesized that the background checks simply shifted to the secondary market those offenders who normally purchased in the primary market.
(emphasis mine – Bob)

Let put that into practical terms. Chicago Illinois has a state requirement that all purchasers of firearms – private or commercial – must possess a state Firearm Owners Identification card. — Basically a license to even own a firearm; background check included as part of that process. Fort Worth Texas does not have such a requirement; private sales are the business of the two people involved.

Chicago has a homicide rate of 18.5 per 100,000 people. Fort Worth Texas — 5.7 per 100,000. Okay so that might not be fair because of size; how about Dallas Texas –12.4 per 100,000. So if Dallas and Fort Worth have much lower homicide rates; the question has to be asked, why?

And before we move on, I hope you caught the significance of this “this does not address the largest sources (straw purchasers and theft), which would most likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed.” – in other words, it is entirely possible that by implementing background checks we could increase the number of burglaries, robberies and thefts ! Talk about the law of unintended consequences. How many more people would be hurt because criminals are breaking into homes seeking firearms and finding the owner there?

And that brings us to other practical points — such as, what about those who already possess firearms?

I own – well let’s just say more than one and less than I want :) — but what purpose does it serve to conduct yet another check on someone who already owns firearms?   How about the people that don’t have access to a close gun store or licensed dealer — not all of our population lives minutes away from a 7/11 much less a gun store.

And how about family members; while we know some people will break the law because that is their nature, to assume that everyone will is very insulting. So why should a person have to get a background check done when getting a gift from a family member or friend?

Let’s turn to some numbers – again per the Bureau of Justice Statistics -(PDF alert) -there were 478,400 firearm related violent crimes. In 2011, the National Instant Criminal system (and isn’t that a fun thing to know — each and every time some wants to exercise their rights- they are suspected of being a criminal until cleared by the government) — conducted 16,454,951 checks, Even if every firearm was used by a different criminal and purchased that year; that means only 2.96% of the gun owners were involved in a crime. And we know how ridiculous that is!

Why do we know how ridiculous that is? Because the ATF is helpfully tracking information about how long it takes firearms to show up at crime scenes — the so called “time to crime” metric —

The 2013 report includes a state-by-state breakdown of types and calibers of firearms recovered and traced, source states, criminal offenses associated with the crime guns, time-to-crime, and age ranges of crime gun possessors at the time of recovery. Key findings of this year’s report include pistols as the most common firearm type recovered and traced, 9 mm as the top caliber recovered and traced, and 11.08 years as the average time-to-crime for crime guns recovered and traced in the U.S. and its territories.

11.08 years. Over a decades worth of actually stolen firearms, firearms falsely reported as stolen, etc are already out there (Let’s forget the fact that a decent machine shop can turn out firearms by the dozen easily). Criminals are aware of this, aware of the abysmal closure rate of crimes and are willing to risk it for immediate gratification. Oh…did I forget to cite the closure rates for crimes?
Let me do that now:

  • In 2010, 47.2 percent of violent crimes and 18.3 percent of property crimes in the Nation were cleared by arrest or exceptional means. 
  • Among violent crimes, 64.8 percent of murder offenses were cleared, 40.3 percent of forcible rape offenses were cleared, 28.2 percent of robbery offenses were cleared, and 56.4 percent of aggravated assault offenses were cleared.
  • Clearance data for property crimes revealed that 21.1 percent of larceny-theft offenses were cleared, 12.4 percent of burglary offenses were cleared, and 11.8 percent of motor vehicle theft offenses were cleared. 
  • Nineteen percent of arson offenses were cleared by arrest or exceptional means in 2010. 
  • 34.3 percent of arson offenses cleared involved juveniles (persons under age 18); this was the highest percentage of all offense clearances involving only juveniles.

This affects the goal of background checks in a major way – there a large chance a firearm used in a crime will never be recovered (can’t trace what you don’t have).

 

Well it seems Frank has replied, not here unfortunately, but on his own blog with a new post. One that includes this comment:

 

Through this reading and my conversations with Bob I realized something.  I’m not being as genuine as I should be and I should work to fix that. The bully was right and I’m asking Bob to defend concerns that are secondary to the real issue.

So I’m going to stop mincing words.

It is my belief that there should be far fewer guns in this country.  There should be a very limited set of people with access to guns.  For the most part, most guns are unnecessary and extremely dangerous.  They are a cowards weapon meant to intimidate or bully at their best and make it very easy to murder another human being from a safe distance at their worst. I have had the few guns I’ve owned over the years destroyed and I think most every other gun in the country should also be destroyed

Still trying to be amenable and friendly in tone (for the most part) with Frank. We can and should discuss the issue with the least amount of rancor possible.

Warped Perspective

Never ceases to amaze me how the antis view the world.

 

One of the big 2 questions challenging nonviolent peacebuilding is what could a person do to stop an attack against a loved one successfully? I think the research above shows that if you want to protect your family, having a gun is not the way to do it. You only guarantee that the violence will escalate. If the gun is your first option you don’t know what the intruder truly wants and since he/she is being attacked by you, he/she will attack back and if a gun is involved someone will get hurt.

I wonder if the antis every bothered to tell the CDC and the people who use firearms in self defense.

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” the CDC study, entitled “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” states.

The CDC? Yes, The Center for Disease Control studied the issue and found that the defensive uses of guns corresponds with a lower injury rate among the victims.

And it isn’t just one or two people using firearms defensively.

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released the results of their research through the CDC last month. Researchers compiled data from previous studies in order to guide future research on gun violence, noting that “almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.

At least as often as offensive uses by criminals. That puts paid to the idea that Defensive Gun Uses are rare….and that is the low end of the estimates.

The report expresses uncertainty about gun control measures, stating that “whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue,” and that there is no evidence “that passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime.” It also stated that proposed  “gun turn-in programs are ineffective.”

Gee, this report is so consistently negative, so consistently destroying the ideas pushed by the antis; surely it was a conservative administration that pushed it, right.

“Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,”says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The $10 million study was commissioned by President Barack Obama as part of 23 executive orders he signed in January.

BZZZZZZT Wrong Answer there Chum. Not only did it come from the Obama Administration but it is current research and findings !

Of course being wrong has never stopped antis from pushing forward with yet another try at gun control.

So don’t stop fighting folks.

 

 

 

News Guaranteed To Upset Antis

Can’t help but chortle when I read the news this morning.

Last year, 1,979 21-year-olds sought a license, as did 1,713 22-year-olds and 1,583 23-year-olds.

More people in their 30s generally seek their CHL than those in their 20s, and more 40-somethings appear to seek their license than 30-year-olds.

But 57-year-olds led the way in 2012, with 3,609 of them seeking a license.

They were closely followed by 64-year-olds (3,588), 53-year-olds (3,576), 54-year-olds (3,562) and 55-year-olds (3,542), the analysis shows.

The top five age groups seeking licenses in the past five years were all similar — and all featured Texans older than 51.

That’s right people; our old folks are leading the way- in record numbers.

And that was before the changes in state law this year.

Earlier this year, lawmakers passed several measures geared to give Texas gun owners more freedom — shrinking the required training time for those seeking concealed handgun licenses, letting CHL holders leave their weapons in parked vehicles on college campuses, even letting Texans renew their CHL licenses online without taking a renewal class.

Wieland said he believes the changes “will serve to increase interest and demand” in getting licenses.

 

Shorter class times, the ridiculous requirement regarding revolver/semi auto removed, only renewals without proficiency tests; all should make it easier for people to get and keep their licenses.

 

Statewide, there are more than 580,000 active licenses, with nearly 150,000 of them being issued last year, and Tarrant County has the second most active licenses, according to data from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

And historically the conviction rate of those with Concealed Handgun Licenses has been incredibly low; some where around 0.3% of all convictions — not all people. In 2011, there were 120 CHL holders convicted out of 63,679 convictions. That is with a total state population over 17 Million adults — 0.0007% of the total adult population.

 

Wonder how much more we have to do before the anti-rights cultists start going into fits?

 

A Case of Reasoned Discourse ….

…has broken out on the blog Eideard — seems the blogger couldn’t stand a few questions about the Children’s Defense Fund Report calling 19 and 20 year old adults “children”.

Yesterday I was checking new activity through WordPress — they have a nifty feature that pulls up random blogs based on a topic selected. I picked firearms and decided to check out the blog and the numbers. (Emphasis below mine)

 

That’s just a more dramatic way of stating an already staggering figure – 2,694 in 2010. Most of the report’s 73 following pages are devoted to restating it…

Knowing how likely anti-rights cultists and groups are likely to twist, distort or out right lie; I pulled up the numbers from the CDC Wisqars program for 2010. Visitors have to enter the data and submit themselves, can’t save a search or report unfortunately.

f a person was to go by the legal definition of a child “under 18″ – CDC reports 1,337; less than 50% of the number claimed by the Children’s Defense Fund. And that is all reasons; suicides, homicides, legal interventions, and accidents.  (Click on any image for the full sized version)

In order to come close to the numbers claimed by the CDF; ‘children’ as old as 19 have to be included –2,711.

And left a comment. It was responded to by someone not “Eideard” . Note the 3:06 P.M. time

 

 

And I had selected to be notified by email if someone replied — as you can clearly see someone did.

I posted responses to the reply; simply stating that I wonder why anti-rights cultists needed to lie about the numbers and asking if they lie about something so basic, so easily verified, what honor or integrity do they have regarding anything else. Note the 5:10 P.M. Time.

 

 

There were two or three rounds of comments made and the last one seemed to have touched a nerve. I asked if we are going to consider under 21 as “children” in this area; should we restrict their rights in others?

Should they be allowed to vote, sign contracts, have abortions. See I really don’t understand how the “medical community” can support the idea that “under 21 is a child” but support 15 to 16 year olds having access to the “Plan B” or “Morning After Pills” or full abortions without parental notification and approval.

 

 

It isn’t amazing how some People (*** cough *** Joan Peterson** cough **) keep calling for us to have a discussion but so many on the anti-rights side don’t allow comments to stick around?

 

Of course who ever deleted the comments was very clumsy about it –makes it seems as if “Moss” is talking to his or herself.

 

Although I promise I was not rude, crude or socially unacceptable in any manner; my comments were scrubbed clean. Maybe someone else could have better luck over there…have fun if you want but please be polite.

Until then I’ll end with the Question to the Antis — I’m ready to have the discussion, why aren’t you?

 

 Please join the discussion.

 

 

That is the LOW Number

There have been 65,376,373 background checks completed for Americans purchasing firearms since February of 2009, the first full month of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Many states, like Texas, allow those with a Concealed Handgun License to skip the background check process. Plus, there are checks where multiple firearms are being purchased at one time and remember “40% of all firearm sales” don’t have a background check.

Now the antis would have you believe that only people who already own guns are buying all these firearms.   :)  Aren’t they in for a shock when they stop denying reality.

 

Gun Buy Backs and Defensive Gun Use Numbers

This will come as no surprise to many people:

College Parks is a deeply ailing community, ravaged by a sustained business exodus and white exurban flight. Crime is high and jobs are few, but a gun buyback will do little to overhaul the structural root of the city’s decline and crime.

Federal studies show these programs earn only the participation of law-abiding working class poor, for whom $100 would go a long way in diapers and groceries. Meanwhile, still-armed criminals rule the slumburb.

This is the first I’ve heard of “slumburb” but it is appropriate and is very descriptive.

In a 2004 report, the National Research Council, the analytical arm of the National Academy of Sciences, criticized the theoretical underpinning of buybacks–a necessary consequence of fewer guns is fewer gun-related crimes–“badly flawed” and among the least effective vehicles to stem gun violence.

Empirical evidenced gleaned from buyback programs across the country indicated reclaimed weapons fell into two categories: malfunctioning firearms and inherited weapons from disinterested owners. By contrast, researchers said those gun owners who acquired weapons, either legally or by theft, with the intent of engaging in criminal activity were wholly unlikely to participate.

Wait A Minute here….everyone hold up! You mean actual research has been done and determined that ‘gun buy backs’ are among the least effective method to reduce gun violence. Well call me unsurprised. People who actually study ‘gun control’ issues knew this and have said it for many years.

The report (link here) spells out why gun buy backs are ineffective

The theory on which gun buy-back programs is based is flawed in three respects. First, the guns that are typically surrendered in gun buy-backs are those that are least likely to be used in criminal activities. Typically, the guns turned in tend to be of two types: (1) old, malfunctioning guns whose resale value is less than the reward offered in buy-back programs or (2) guns owned by individuals who derive little value from the possession of the guns (e.g., those who have inherited guns). The Police Executive Research Forum (1996) found this in their analysis of the differences between weapons handed in and those used in crimes. In contrast, those who are either using guns to carry out crimes or as protection in the course of engaging in other illegal activities, such as drug selling, have actively acquired their guns and are unlikely to want to participate in such programs.

Second, because replacement guns are relatively easily obtained, the actual decline in the number of guns on the street may be smaller than the number of guns that are turned in. Third, the likelihood that any particular gun will be used in a crime in a given year is low. In 1999, approximately 6,500 homicides were committed with handguns. There are approximately 70 million handguns in the United States. Thus, if a different handgun were used in each homicide, the likelihood that a particular handgun would be

used to kill an individual in a particular year is 1 in 10,000. The typical gun buy-back program yields less than 1,000 guns. Even ignoring the first two points made above (the guns turned in are unlikely to be used by criminals and may be replaced by purchases of new guns), one would expect a reduction of less than one-tenth of one homicide per year in response to such a gun buy-back program. The program might be cost-effective if those were the correct parameters, but the small scale makes it highly unlikely that its effects would be detected.

In light of the weakness in the theory underlying gun buy-backs, it is not surprising that research evaluations of U.S. efforts have consistently failed to document any link between such programs and reductions in gun violence (Callahan et al., 1994; Police Executive Research Forum, 1996; Rosenfeld, 1996). (emphasis mine)

That report is very interesting to read.  Chapter 5 about Defensive Gun Uses has this to say:

How many times each year do civilians use firearms defensively? The answers provided to this seemingly simple question have been confusing. Consider the findings from two of the most widely cited studies in the field: McDowall et al. (1998), using the data from 1992 and 1994 waves of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), found roughly 116,000 defensive gun uses per year, and Kleck and Gertz (1995), using data from the 1993 National Self-Defense Survey (NSDS), found around 2.5 million defensive gun uses each year.

Many other surveys provide information on the prevalence of defensive gun use. Using the original National Crime Survey, McDowall and Wiersema (1994) estimate 64,615 annual incidents from 1987 to 1990. At least 19 other surveys have resulted in estimated numbers of defensive gun uses that are similar (i.e., statistically indistinguishable) to the results founds by Kleck and Gertz. No other surveys have found numbers consistent with the NCVS (other gun use surveys are reviewed in Kleck and Gertz, 1995, and Kleck, 2001a).

Even at the lowest rate (64,615 per year) that is 12  defensive gun uses per day. But the real shocker is the last two lines.

At least 19 other surveys have resulted in estimated numbers of defensive gun uses that are similar (i.e., statistically indistinguishable) to the results founds by Kleck and Gertz. No other surveys have found numbers consistent with the NCVS

19 other surveys have found results statistically indistinguishable to the Kleck & Gertz study — 19! And not one has found numbers as low as the NCVS!

That means there are around 6,800 defensive gun uses per day folks!!

Wonder what other great nuggets of information are to be found — good thing I can sign in as a guest and download it for free.

Please join the discussion.

 

Antis, please stop & consider

the numbers.

There were 13.7 million hunters in the United States over age 16 — 12.7 million of whom used rifles, shotguns or handguns for hunting, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

That is quite a few people with proficiency and experience, right?

That means hunters constituted only 15.9 to 18.1 percent of the estimated 70-80 million gun owners in the U.S. in 2011 — the latest year for which statistics are available.

In a Dec. 28 national report, USF&W said 13.7 million individuals over age 16 self-identified as hunters, and that 12.7 million used guns (shotguns, rifles or handguns) while hunting.

Another 2.9 million hunters used antique muzzleloaders to hunt, but according to USF&W, there is overlap between this figure and other figures due to self-reporting.

Around 4.5 million hunted with bows and arrows

But it is just a minor part of the total picture regarding gun ownership.
60 million or more people who own firearms but don’t call themselves hunters; think carefully before you keep saying those people own firearm only good for one thing.

Think carefully before you call the firearms they own “weapons of war”  lest you wish something into existence.