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.

Is this the start?

Could be the start of the Zombie Apocalypse  — or it could just be Halloween pranks or an overzealous custodian.

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains.

That’s about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde. One of the missing brains preserved is believed to have belonged to clock tower sniper Charles Whitman.

 

The co-curator of the collection is psychology Professor Lawrence Cormack. He tells the Austin American-Statesman that undergraduates and others may have been swiping the brains for years “for living rooms or Halloween pranks.”

The Austin State Hospital had transferred the jars of brains to the university about 28 years ago

Personally, I hope the Zombie Apocalypse does not start on a college campus. It would be very difficult to tell the difference between a Zombie or a typical brain dead professor/student. Until we know for sure, be careful out there.
I think a clue to telling the difference might be in watching for the Starbucks/Energy Drink in their hands. Zombies are smart enough not be overcharged that way.

Please join the discussion.

Adding Up; Another ISD To THE List

Seems that Bonham I.S.D. is trying to quietly make an important security upgrade for the safety of the staff and students.

BONHAM, TX – Under a new security program, some Bonham ISD staff members will be carrying concealed handguns at school.

Bonham ISD’s Superintendent tells News 12 his instructors are teachers, not a swat team–however under the district’s Defender Program, a select, trained, and qualified few will be armed.

Bonham ISD Superintendent Dr. Marvin Beaty says more than 80 staff members have applied for the District’s new Defender Program, to carry a concealed handgun at school.

“Of that group we will trim that down and there will be some actively in the program and we’ll have some alternates as well,” said Beaty.

Dr. Beaty says those who will carry a gun will be teachers, coaches, and administrators, “Nobody will know who they are but me and the campus principals. We’ll know who they are.”

He says the candidates will be thoroughly vetted, examined by a campus psychologist, and go through extensive training on the shooting range before they’re selected.

Bonham seems to be following the template set by Harrold ISD; training, pysch eval, confidentiality of the carriers; all the elements needed to satisfy legal and insurance liabilities. I know of three North Texas districts that have or are going to armed staff as part of their security. Harrold ISD has had it for years now; still waiting on the reports of problems. So far not one teacher who has snapped, no one gun stolen, etc.

One of the things that jumped out at me was the number of volunteers — over 80; in a school district that has less than 2,000 students! Doesn’t that seem like a pretty high percentage of the probable number of total employees?

That’s Texas for ya.

 

Not Bad Mr. Principal

I’d give you a B+ on the effort; would have gotten an A if you had a full crew instead of just one other person helping.

 

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Nice to know some administrators don’t take themselves too serious.

Free Money (aka NRA Youth Scholarship)

Wonder if the Anti-Rights Cultists will ever have enough spare money to help kids go to college versus using college kids as interns.

The N.R.A. has enough money though

Forty-five outstanding current high school sophomores and juniors from across the United States are chosen each year to travel to the nation’s capital, where they participate in the weeklong educational opportunity. The summit encourages young adults to become active and knowledgeable U.S. citizens by learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the federal government, and the importance of being active in civic affairs.  The 2014 summit will take place Monday, June 23 – Sunday, June 29.  Click here to download the application to get started today!

In addition to the week in Washington D.C., Y.E.S. participants compete for $30,000 in college scholarships. The first round of awards totals $15,000 and is given at the conclusion of the Y.E.S. program. A second round of scholarships is comprised of $15,000 and involves a second application, available to the participants after they go through the Y.E.S. program.

 

Since the program’s inception in 1996, more than 700 students have graduated from Y.E.S. and over $400,000 in scholarships has been awarded

If you know of a current high school sophomore or junior, please let them know about this opportunity.

She Posed, So What?

Sounds like the district is considering the wrong thing.

DALLAS — The Dallas Independent School District is deciding what to do about a teacher who has posed nude for Playboy.

Cristy Deweese, 21, was the magazine’s “Co-ed of the Month” in 2011. She’s now a first-year Spanish teacher at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center, a magnet school for grades 9-12.

According to other reports, there is no violation of school policy, procedures or even state or federal laws involved. So I really don’t understand what the District has to ‘decide’ regarding the teacher.

The parents on the other hand provide a tougher decision to make?

Concerned parents have come forward, worried that their kids have seen Deweese’s photos.

Should the district report the concerned parents for allowing their school aged children to view Playboy’s website?

Or

Should the district push for a law allowing flogging of parents who waste the districts time and money?

 

Personally I’m voting for the flogging. This is inane and trivial. Probably many of those same parents allow their daughters their daughters out in public wearing not much more than what was seen in Playboy. If they don’t have daughters, they allow their sons to date girls who dress the same. And given what I’ve seen many of the parents wearing themselves….hypocrisy seems a mild term.

The kids in the Dallas school district are facing serious issues; poverty, drug use, crime, parental involvement, teachers who can actually teach — it really doesn’t make sense to focus on something they can see on cable tv just about any night of the week.

And I wonder how many of those parents do have premium movie channels packages for their precious darlings.

Please join the discussion.

 

 

 

Proving Us Right

I’m finding the media, in their efforts at gun control, are actually having the opposite effect.
The media reports that we need gun control to stop “gun violence”  but wait:

(CNN) — Gun-related homicides and crime are “strikingly” down from 20 years ago, despite the American public’s belief that firearm crime is on the upswing, a new study said Wednesday.

Looking back 50 years, a Pew Research Center study found U.S. gun homicides rose in the 1960s, gained in the 1970s, peaked in the 1980s and the early 1990s, and then plunged and leveled out the past 20 years.

Then the media wants to portray gun owners as ‘paranoid'; always concerned about the slippery slope that doesn’t exist.

Well, maybe we aren’t.

OWINGS, MD — The father of a middle schooler in Calvert County, Md. says his 11-year-old son was suspended for 10 days for merely talking about guns on the bus ride home.

Bruce Henkelman of Huntingtown says his son, a sixth grader at Northern Middle School in Owings, was talking with friends about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre when the bus driver hauled him back to school to be questioned by the principal, Darrel Prioleau.

“The principal told me that with what happened at Sandy Hook if you say the word ‘gun’ in my school you are going to get suspended for 10 days,” Henkelman said in an interview with WMAL.com.

So what did the boy say?  According to his father, he neither threatened nor bullied anyone.

“He said, I wish I had a gun to protect everyone. He wanted to defeat the bad guys. That’s the context of what he said,” Henkelman said. “He wanted to be the hero.”

No actual firearm, no actual threat of violence, no actual discussion of harming anyone. Just talking about what thousands of law enforcement officers say; they want to protect people.
Yeah, they suspended a kid for talking about “to protect and to serve”.

But it gets even worse; not only did the 1st Amendment get trampled on; they wanted to trash the 4th.

The boy was questioned by the principal and a sheriff’s deputy, who also wanted to search the family home without a warrant, Henkelman said. “He started asking me questions about if I have firearms, and [the deputy said] he’s going to have to search my house.  Search my house?  I just wanted to know what happened.”

No search was performed, and the deputy left Henkelman’s home after the father answered questions in a four-page questionnaire issued by the Sheriff’s Office.

Search the house for what?
Haven’t we warned about warrant-less searches, haven’t we complained that the gun control efforts will lead to a loss of privacy?
Yeah, we have.

Also notice that this wasn’t just a ‘school issue’ that the principal handled; they brought in a Sheriff’s Deputy. The father and the child could have faced criminal charges.

Sorry anti-rights cultists but the media is not helping your cause as they normally do. The media is actually proving some cliches, such as “slippery slope” and “camel’s nose under the tent” exist for a reason.

And our government, at all levels, is dead set on showing just how little they respect our rights.
Now you anti-rights cultists have a choice to make;  you can either stop trying to restrict or rights or you can face the consequences of your actions.
And given the mood of a large part of the country; you might not like us when we are mad.

Please join the discussion.