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Breakdown In Background Check System Tied To Texas Church Shooting

One of the major questions that was lingering the the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at a Baptist Church in a small town in South Texas was the question of how the shooter, Devin P. Kelley, was able to legally purchase any firearms at all given the reports that he had faced a court-martial and convicted of domestic violence while serving in the Air Force some five years ago. When I wrote about the attack yesterday morning, it was unclear what exactly Kelley had been convicted of, whether it qualified as a conviction that would have otherwise barred him from purchasing a weapon, and whether his discharge constituted a “Dishonorable Discharge,” which also would have been a disqualifying mark on a background check, or a “Bad Conduct Discharge,” which would apparently would not. As the day went on, it became apparent that Kelley should not have been allowed to legally purchase a weapon and that there was a breakdown in the background check system at some point along the way. For example, we learned that the assault that formed the basis of the charges against Kelley were quite serious, specifically that he severely beat his ex-wife and broke the skull of his infant stepson. Additionally, Kelley served approximately one year in a military prison for the offense before being released from the military. There have also been reports of other incidents of violent behavior, including threats of violence against his in-laws from his second marriage, who were members of the church he attacked but apparently not in attendance at the time of the attack. This included threatening text messages sent to his mother-in-law in the weeks before the attack. It’s unclear, though, whether those threats were reported to law enforcement and, if they were, what police did in response. Based on all of this, it’s clear that Kelley should not have been permitted to purchase a weapon under current law and that the fact that he did was due to some kind of breakdown in the background check system.

This morning, we’re learning that the Air Force never properly reported Kelley’s convictions to the F.B.I.’s centralized database, which meant that his name was never flagged when he purchased both the weapon that was used in the attack and the other weapons that were found in his car after the attack:

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Tex. — A day after a gunman massacred parishioners in a small Texas church, the Air Force admitted on Monday that it had failed to enter the man’s domestic violence court-martial into a federal database that could have blocked him from buying the rifle he used to kill 26 people.

Under federal law, the conviction of the gunman, Devin P. Kelley, for domestic assault on his wife and toddler stepson — he had cracked the child’s skull — should have stopped Mr. Kelley from legally purchasing the military-style rifle and three other guns he acquired in the last four years.

“The Air Force has launched a review of how the service handled the criminal records of former Airman Devin P. Kelley following his 2012 domestic violence conviction,” the Air Force said in a statement.

The statement said Heather Wilson, the Air Force secretary, and Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, had ordered the Air Force inspector general to “conduct a complete review of the Kelley case.”

The Air Force also said it was looking into whether other convictions had been improperly left unreported to the federal database for firearms background checks.

(…)

The immediate question on Monday was how Mr. Kelley had been able to legally purchase his weapons. In his 2012 court-martial, Mr. Kelley admitted that he had repeatedly struck, kicked and choked his wife beginning just months into their marriage. He also said he had repeatedly hit his young stepson’s head with his hands, cracking his skull, said Don Christensen, a retired colonel who was the chief prosecutor for the Air Force.

Federal law lists 11 criteria that would bar someone from buying a gun, including two that would seem to apply to Mr. Kelley: conviction of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison — assaulting his stepson, which carried a maximum sentence of five years — and conviction of a domestic violence misdemeanor.

The Department of Defense has reported only one domestic violence case to the federal database for gun purchase background checks, records show. It has reported 11,000 service members to the database, but almost all of them were because of dishonorable discharges, which prohibit gun purchases. Mr. Kelley, after serving 12 months in a Navy brig in California, received a “bad conduct” discharge, which is not by itself an automatic bar to gun purchases.

Elise Hasbrook, a spokeswoman for Academy Sports + Outdoors, which owns two San Antonio shops that each sold Mr. Kelley a gun in the last two years, said “both sales were approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.” Mr. Kelley had bought two other guns since his court-martial, both in Colorado, the authorities said.

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas told CNN that Mr. Kelley had been rejected when he applied for a license to carry a handgun in Texas. State officials did not specify why he was rejected, and a carrying license is not required to purchase a firearm from a gun shop so long as the buyer passes the federal background check.

“By all the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun, so how did this happen?” Mr. Abbott said.

Apparently, it happened because the Air Force didn’t properly report Kelley’s convictions. Had it done so, then his purchase would have been flagged and the background check would have revealed that he was ineligible to purchase a firearm of any kind. Whether that would have actually prevented Sunday’s tragedy or merely delayed it until Kelley was able to obtain a weapon by illegal means is unclear, but the fact that he was able to do so meant that there was essentially no barrier to him being able to carry out Sunday’s attack.  Additionally, it’s worth noting that Kelley apparently checked the box on the background check form indicating that he had not been convicted of an offense that would disqualify him from purchasing a weapon. In and of itself this is a somewhat meaningless act since the background check law doesn’t allow a seller to rely solely on the attestation of the purchaser before allowing a sale to go through. However, lying on the form is, in and of itself, a criminal offense that Kelley could have been charged with had his previous convictions been properly reported.

Think Progress’s Addy Baird contends that this points to fundamental problems with the background check system itself:

Kelley’s case isn’t a one-off. A 2014 paper from the Center for American Progressfound that domestic violence records reviewed for background checks in order to purchase a gun are often woefully incomplete. (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent news site housed in the Center for American Progress.)

The paper estimated that just three states — Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Mexico — submit complete domestic violence records for background checks.

Additionally, a report Thursday report from The Trace found that the military is reporting almost no domestic abusers to the database.

According to the report, the Department of Defense has just a single misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence on file, and the military has not submitted a single record for members subject to domestic violence restraining orders.

Properly speaking, of course, this isn’t a flaw in the background check system itself so much as it is flaw in the way that convictions in the military justice system in general are reported to the national database, and what appears to be a failure by a large number of other jurisdictions when it comes to reporting domestic violence convictions to the national database. In the case of the Air Force, this appears to be more than just an oversight given the fact the service had apparently only reported one such conviction to the F.B.I. in recent years, apparently neglecting to report thousands of other domestic violence convictions. If the report cited by Baird is correct, this is apparently true of the other service branches as well and it leaves open the question of what other criminal convictions in the military might not be being properly reported to the national database, and whether that has led to other people with a violent criminal record being able to purchase guns legally when they should not have been able to had their convictions been properly reported.

For what its worth, both Federal law and Pentagon regulations require the military branches to report military convictions to the national database, so it’s inaccurate to say that changes to the law would have had any impact on Sunday’s tragedy. Instead, it appears that existing laws are not being followed, which of course would also be possible even if additional laws were passed. That being said, this incident does raise serious questions about holes in the existing background check system that need to be addressed. The apparent failure of the military to properly report domestic violence convictions in particular seems to be something worthy of investigation, and perhaps disciplinary action of some kind against appropriate officials. The interesting question in all of this is what consequences, if any, could follow from this failure to report Kelley’s convictions. As a general rule, it’s difficult to succeed in civil claims against the Federal Government, but given the clear negligence on the part of the Air Force in this situation, one can assume that such claims will be pursued if there is any basis for them.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. KM says:

    I’m actually curious as to whether it was an accident or an “accident”. Plenty of dinosaurs in the military who suscribe to the theory that domestic abuse isn’t an issue and men shouldn’t have their “lives ruined”. They’ll kick them out for dishonoring the uniform but say nothing about how they dishonor and harmed their family.

    Domestic abuse is a HUGE problem in this country people don’t take seriously. A woman keeps hearing “oh why don’t you leave him” only to live in fear because the system isn’t designed to protect her or her children. This nut kill nearly 30 people to strike back at his family – can you imagine the fear they must have been living with? How many other ex-military nuts are out there doing the same thing because the bureaucracy can’t be bothered to report domestic abuse?

    Men fear women will reject them. Women fear men will KILL them and they know the system can be indifferent to their pleas at best. It’s a damn shame a bunch of innocents had to die for this to come to light…..

    ReplyReply

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Two weeks ago I went shooting with my younger brother and my nephew. Shot a 9mm, a .38, and a 12ga. shotgun. Shooters World in Tampa…awesome facility. Great fun. Went to Hooters afterward and drank beer. Guns, tits, and beer. Yay, ‘mericuh. I have nothing against guns. Or tits. Or beer.
    But for the life of me I do not understand why we refuse to put proper background checks into place to make sure that people who shouldn’t have guns don’t get guns. I understand this specific case is about the military dropping the ball. Still, our background check system is woefully inadequate to the task. The overwhelming majority of people in this country are in favor of strong background checks. The overwhelming majority of gun owners are in favor of strong background checks. We as a nation are being led around by the noses by the gun manufacturers lobbying efforts. Why are we allowing this to happen?
    It baffles the mind.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  3. Mu says:

    The NICS system was kludged together as a compromise to not serve the purpose anybody wanted. The anti-2A crowd and law enforcement want transaction tracking to get to registration on the sly, the pro-gun crowd wants the government totally out of the gun business. So what we got is a system that doesn’t prevent much, annoys most, and inconveniences a lot of legal gun buyers that the system can’t handle well (green card holders, security clearance holders, anyone whose name is spelled differently in state and federal databases) and that end up “delayed” on every single purchase.
    We probably could make real progress on background checks if we introduce a mandatory federal gun buyers card that’s issued after a true background check. But once you have the card everyone can instantly verify the card has not being revoked online or via automated phone system. Voila, universal background check that doesn’t take more than 5 sec to complete for a transaction.
    Still doesn’t help if a revocation reason is not entered, but at least at issue a true background check should catch those that so far drop through the cracks.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @KM:

    It’s a damn shame a bunch of innocents had to die for this to come to light…..

    It’s not about anything coming to light.
    We need to provide regular human scarifies to the god called The NRA.
    Simple as that.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  5. grumpy realist says:

    Heck, if we used the same logic about guns and the-people-who-shouldn’t-have-them as Trump does about countries and “terrorists” we’d simply ban all men from having any type of gun at all.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  7. grumpy realist says:
  8. Matt says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: There is a proper background check in place. If the air-force had done it’s job the background check would of came back with a deny. A “stronger” background check would of failed to do anything different.

    ReplyReply

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  9. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: It’s not about anything coming to light.
    We need to provide regular human scarifies to the god called The NRA.
    Simple as that.

    There was an NRA member involved in this shooting.

    Stephen Willeford, an NRA-certified firearms instructor, chased down the gunman and stopped him. He was the not-so-mythical “good guy with a gun” who kept him from getting away, and hurting more people.

    If you didn’t have your hate, you’d have nothing inside your skull, would you?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  10. gVOR08 says:

    Ted Cruz said,

    Evil is evil and will use the weaponry that s available.

    Please see the chart in this NYT article.

    Any questions?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Matt: You have to understand the standard position here.

    You see, Trump is the New Hitler Putin puppet white supremacist, who they want to take away all civilians’ guns, so the only people who have guns are the racist police who shoot black men for fun.

    Got it?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    He was the not-so-mythical “good guy with a gun” who kept him from getting away, and hurting more people.

    Yes…only 26 people, half of them children…died. The whole good guy with a gun myth works great.
    In Las Vegas too…oh…wait…never mind.
    Keep deluding yourself, moron.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  13. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    BTW, J-E-N-O-S…weren’t you and your nonsense banned from this site?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  14. KM says:

    @Matt:
    You do realize that a “stronger” background check would have done more then lipservice lookieloos to see if everything was okiedokie. For instance, if someone has a BCD, they should be reaching to the relevant branch of military for all the details, not consulting a database that maybe or may not be updated. Go to the source and you find out all sorts of stuff that doens’t make it into NICS for a variety of reasons – one of them being sheer incompetence. Same for a DV.

    Right now, the background system trusts that the database in question is sufficiently updated to serve as an authoritative entity. It’s clearly not. I would say certain items appearing on background check such a BCD should warrant immediate deeper investigation solely by existing and not trusting the database to be current, don’t you?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  15. Blue Galangal says:

    @Mu: And you could start such a system/card with the TSA Pre-Check process.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Matt:
    Work on your reading comprehension. I typed:

    I understand this specific case is about the military dropping the ball. Still, our background check system is woefully inadequate to the task.

    As @Mu: typed:

    The NICS system was kludged together as a compromise to not serve the purpose anybody wanted.

    So we got a system that doesn’t work, and when there is a mass shooting you gun-nuts point to it and say…

    “See, background checks don’t work.”

    It is possible to allow sane people to have guns and prevent nut jobs from getting them. The NRA just won’t let us. And people like you just help them. I guess because you like seeing 13 children shot dead. Good on ya.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  17. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: So, we agree that it would have been better if Mr. Willeford (of the NRA) had been in the church with his gun at the time. However, he got there as quickly as he could and he kept the guy from getting away and killing more people, so I’ll give him credit for that.

    He didn’t even bother to put on shoes — he got his gun (an AR-15, by reports) and chased the guy down, exchanged shots with him, and reportedly wounded him at least once before the shooter took his own life.

    Now go ahead, make the argument that it would have been better if Mr. WIlleford had NOT taken up arms and pursued the shooter. How much better off if he didn’t have that AR-15 at hand and didn’t have his NRA training in responding.

    You won’t, of course. You’ll just make more crude personal insults, because that’s all you ever do. But I am curious to see precisely how you’ll avoid answering me.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  18. MarkedMan says:

    It’s not just the Military. From the Giffords Law Center:

    In order for background checks to prevent abusers from obtaining guns, states must report abusers who fall within prohibited categories to the proper databases. Identifying the abusers to be reported involves a series of complex legal issues that many states have not yet addressed.16 As a result, many states do not comprehensively enter domestic violence protective order and offender information into the proper databases.

    On top of that the law doesn’t require reporting of domestic violence cases not involving spouse, co-parent, or child. If you beat up your girlfriend, kick your mother down the stairs or beat a younger brother half to death, the Trump States as well as the NRA have insured that you can still buy as many guns and ammo as your twisted heart desires.

    ReplyReply

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  19. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    Right now, the background system trusts that the database in question is sufficiently updated to serve as an authoritative entity. It’s clearly not. I would say certain items appearing on background check such a BCD should warrant immediate deeper investigation solely by existing and not trusting the database to be current, don’t you?

    I don’t. The knowledge that the database will be second guessed just means that people will be sloppier about maintaining it. Human error goes up when they don’t see the point.

    I think the database should be improved, and regularly verified for a random sampling, and it should be consulted on gun show purchases. If we know that it misses 12% of the people who shouldn’t have guns, we can identify and correct the weaknesses at a systematic level rather than a case by case level.

    That might not have stopped this particular mass murder, but it would likely help enough that it would save 26 other lives in smaller shootings. Human lives are fungible.

    ReplyReply

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  20. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, we agree that it would have been better if Mr. Willeford (of the NRA) had been in the church with his gun at the time.

    Don’t try to brand me with your Lunacy, J-E-N-O-S. I do not think it would ever be good for a shoot-out in a confined space where no one can tell who is the good guy or the bad guy and a bunch of people are caught in the cross-fire. You had the same stupid idea about Aurora. A dark theater with bullets flying everywhere. Jesus…you are stupid. Fvck no, you idiot. Law Enforcement agencies do not, either.

    REPORTER: We know that there was at least one gentleman who was a subject — person of interest, during the demonstration he had an AR-15 around his — around his shoulder. What does this tell you about people using the new Texas law of open carry at a demonstration like this?
    DALLAS POLICE CHIEF DAVID BROWN: That it’s difficult at best. We expressed this, it’s a little different here in Texas. Where are you from?
    REPORTER: Here.
    BROWN: You’re from Texas? Oh, you know. All right, so, it’s a little different here in Texas in the way we view open carry, concealed carry. We’ve had great dialogue with our state legislators about this. We’ve expressed all of our concerns. We are trying as best as we can as a law enforcement community to make it work so the citizens can express their Second Amendment rights. But it’s increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s slung over and shootings occur in a crowd and they begin running, and we don’t know — or we don’t know if they’re the shooter or not, or they begin, it’s been the presumption that a good guy with a gun is the best way to resolve some of these things. Well, we don’t know who the good guy is versus who the bad guy is if everybody starts shooting, and we’ve expressed that concern as well. I have every belief and trust that our folks are listening at the state on this issue, particularly as it involves protests, particularly as it involves protest.

    I know that you sit in your mom’s basement and have your cowboy fantasies. But that’s what they are…fantasies.Delusions. Now call upstairs and have your mommy bring you some more jello.

    ReplyReply

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  21. TM01 says:

    The most shocking thing here is that this guy lied on his background check form.

    What kind of depraved piece of scum would do something that?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    The “Good Guy with a Gun” myth defies all logic, which I guess explains why you buy into it so readily. All you gun nuts claim that 99% of gun owners are responsible gun owners. If that’s true why do we have so many mass shootings? We have far more guns than any other nation. By your logic we should have far fewer incidents of gun violence than any other nation, because the number of “Good Guys with a Gun” are incredibly overwhelming.
    But, in fact, the opposite is true. More guns = more deaths. The relationship is iron-clad.
    If I was a gun nut worried about my access to guns, then I would be fighting for tighter, effective, gun regulations. Not pretending, against all evidence, that there isn’t a problem.
    Really, you guys sound ridiculous trying to defend the indefensible.
    But carry on, you big pretend cowboy you. And don’t worry about all the dead kids.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  23. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @TM01:

    What kind of depraved piece of scum would do something that?

    The first liar that comes to mind is your Dear Orange Leader.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  24. TM01 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Yea! Daryl is still throwing out the insults! Can you call me a racist next, please?

    ReplyReply

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  25. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @TM01:
    Type something racist. Are you saying racists shouldn’t be called out for what they are, snowflake?
    C’mon….you think you’re better. just own it.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  26. KM says:

    @TM01:

    The most shocking thing here is that this guy lied on his background check form.

    Which a more robust database would have absolutely caught. You know who trusts people to be 100% honest on self-reporting? Suckers. That’s why we have background checks in the first place- to check for liars. There’s a reason why in hospitals they will type and cross your blood multiple times despite you telling them what blood type you are. Trust but verify – only problem here was the “verify” part didn’t happen because people aren’t inputting the necessary data as needed.

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  27. TM01 says:

    So, according to the Left, we need stronger background checks!

    But, we already have background checks. It’s just that the states and feds are not populating the database with the required data.

    So govt officials aren’t following the law, which allows things like this to happen.

    Then the Leftists complain that domestic violence is not taken seriously in this country.

    At the same time that Leftist Bastions like Denver go ahead and REDUCE the sentences for domestic violence, just so that they don’t have to report domestic violence by illegals to the federal govt.

    All because you Care(tm).

    It’s almost like you want to see more women and kids beaten, and more mass shooting to occur, just to satisfy your life long dream of a world without guns. Who cares how many people die along the way?

    ReplyReply

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  28. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @TM01:

    So, according to the Left, we need stronger background checks!
    But, we already have background checks.

    Right…they just need to be far more effective than the systems we have.
    What’s your point? Do you even have one?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  29. Jen says:

    @TM01: That is a truly goofy statement.

    You know that most Americans, including most gun owners, support stronger background checks, right? Because those people don’t want guns in the wrong hands either.

    ReplyReply

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  30. KM says:

    @TM01:
    Oh look at the precious concern troll, whining bout how “Leftists” are bad people while shrugging off the fact that children were murdered in the House of the Lord as so that somebody somewhere can buy whatever gun they want despite the fact they never should be within 100ft of one. Tell me, did it hurt hoisting yourself up on that cross?

    Sucks to be you but poll after poll of gun owners show they want stronger and more robust background checks too. The people actually going through the process think it should be improved and deepened. In fact, the only people who *don’t* are people who know they won’t pass and are afraid somebody’s gonna take their shiny toys. Sane and sensible gun owners don’t want nuts having guns since that’s one less threat they need to worry about.

    Also, “gov officials” makes it sound like a failure at the top. No, this was some low level idiot who didn’t do his job (intentionally or not) because generals don’t collect or transmit this kind of data. This was an average Joe who failed and it sounds like it happens a lot. So for all your “we already have background checks” you clearly don’t want to improve a flawed system with obvious problems. Now, who wants more women and kids beaten and more mass shooting to occur, all so they can live in a world with as many guns as their little dark hearts desire?

    ReplyReply

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  31. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @TM01: Yea! Daryl is still throwing out the insults! Can you call me a racist next, please?

    Green is not your color, dear. Mind the jealousy.

    But Daryl/C. Clavin/Sam Malone is a creature of very little imagination and thought, so the chances of him trotting out his go-to accusation against you is almost guaranteed.

    Patience, grasshopper.

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  32. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Jen: You know that most Americans, including most gun owners, support stronger background checks, right?

    Nice theory, falls apart in practice.

    1) Low-level government bureaucrats will miss putting critical information into the system — and, thanks to the civil service system, have almost nothing to fear about any consequences. Look at the VA — we have people who were not only grossly incompetent, but openly violating rules and laws and they couldn’t be disciplined.

    2) People lie on the forms. Astonishing, isn’t it — a bad person who wants a gun for bad purposes might actually omit key info on the Form 4473?

    3) There are almost NO consequences for lying on these forms. The number of prosecutions is negligible.

    4) The prosecutions for gun crimes are laughably bad, especially in high-crime areas run by Democrats. Considering how many fatal shootings there are in Chicago, why aren’t their jails overflowing with gun criminals?

    We can’t make the existing laws work, so let’s make new ones! That should fix the problem!

    Here are a few modest proposals:

    1) A government employee who fails to file relevant information that would affect a background check is fired and loses pension/benefits.

    2) Lying on a 4473 is treated as a serious felony with serious jail time.

    3) When people use a gun in the commission of a felony, they actually get charged with it.

    No need for new laws, just a willingness to enforce the ones we have. Demonstrate that first, then we’ll see if we need to make life difficult for law-abiding citizens just because we can’t get the real bad guys.

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  33. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I know that you sit in your mom’s basement and have your cowboy fantasies.

    You really have this fixation, don’t you? I’ll break my rules and actually point out just how stupidly wrong you are just this once.

    1) 2nd floor apartment in nice part of town.

    2) Mother dead almost 30 years.

    3) Never owned a gun, no desire to — but could easily pass a 4473 if I chose.

    I don’t expect this to change anything, of course. If simply being wrong was enough to stop you, you’d have shut up years ago. But you are a truly stubborn and… what’s the phrase? — “stupid mother-fvcker” who is incredibly Clue-Resistant.

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  34. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    Still not addressing anything of substance, and moving the goal posts to distract, eh J-E-N-O-S?
    It’s OK…it’s only kids. 20 at Sandy Hook, 13 here. But they aren’t yours, are they?
    Why not just go back to the hole you crawled into when you were banned?

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  35. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Here are a few modest proposals:

    1) A government employee who fails to file relevant information that would affect a background check is fired and loses pension/benefits.

    2) Lying on a 4473 is treated as a serious felony with serious jail time.

    3) When people use a gun in the commission of a felony, they actually get charged with it.

    Argeed with the addenum of the following:

    1a) A government employee who fails to file relevant information that would affect a background check is fired and loses pension/benefits. Mandatory jail time of 6 months and no possibility of rehire in a similar position. Can’t have a “sympathetic” precinct picking up rejects like we see with bad cops & teachers being bounced around.

    2a) Lying on a 4473 is treated as a serious felony with serious jail time. Anyone involved in the straw purchase of a gun used in any kind of crime gets an automatic 20yr sentence with the exception of life for murder. Close existing loopholes regarding transfers that would allow someone who wouldn’t pass a background check to sneak around the rules.

    4) Expand the required information in NICS to include such things as DV convictions, firings within the last 2 yrs and mental health issues. Any potential HIPAA issues would be included in a temp waiver as part of the background check. Firings because a lot of these losers got canned recently for fairly obvious reasons. Any of the above are temporary disqualify at least for 6 months, pending re-evaluation.

    Yes?

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  36. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: Inclined to like, but not ready to sign on.

    1) The HIPPA thing is a two-edged sword — if seeking help means people have to forfeit their rights, then you’re going to have some people who need help refusing it because they fear getting put on a list.

    2) Needed to look at your straw purchase thing a couple of times. My concern is the “20 years” thing. I don’t know the existing penalties for various forms of gun-crime accessory, so I’d want it in line with those instead of a hard number.

    3) I really, really like 1A.

    I think we’re closer than not on the basic idea, though — toughen up existing laws, focus on people doing bad things instead of depriving all.

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  37. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Still not addressing anything of substance

    I answered your very tired and very overused accusation — and you respond by admitting that it was not “anything of substance.”

    I see why you are so terrified of guns. You have a tremendous habit of shooting yourself in the foot. And, naturally, since you can’t conceive that people who disagree with you might be smarter than you, you think you’re protecting us because you can’t be trusted.

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  38. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    I thouroughly debunked the logic of your Good Guty with a Gun logic and you answered by lying about where you live.
    Just go away J-E-N-O-S…as being banned would suggest.

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  39. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier :

    1) The HIPPA thing is a two-edged sword — if seeking help means people have to forfeit their rights, then you’re going to have some people who need help refusing it because they fear getting put on a list.

    True but that’s where this “mental health” thing leads. If you keep claiming shooters are mentally ill, then you necessarily need to screen for that. It’s going to force action sooner or later. Better to code it into law in a positive way then end up with some reactionary nonsense that screws everyone and helps no one. We need to destigmatize mental health issues and realizing that “being on a list” =/= “being dragged away by the Gestapo” is a start.

    2) Needed to look at your straw purchase thing a couple of times. My concern is the “20 years” thing. I don’t know the existing penalties for various forms of gun-crime accessory, so I’d want it in line with those instead of a hard number.

    Perhaps not 20 but something appropriately severe. See, if we punish the paper-pushers in 1a, we need to punish those doing it on a de facto level. Straw purchases are how many manage to circumvent the current system and frankly, there’s legal precedent for punishing co-conspirators for a murder they didn’t technically commit. If you are buying for someone who can’t legally buy for themselves, something is wrong and you should be punished for giving someone you *know* shouldn’t have it a gun. For many, its NBD, an FU to the gubmint or a quick way to make cash. A hard number is needed to (a) properly impress this behavior is *not* ok and (b) limit judges giving minimum sentences to people who enable these kinds of tragedies.

    3) I really, really like 1A.

    I am totally behind punishing the sh^t out of someone who incompetence or blindness leads to a preventable disaster. Heads need to start rolling for this kind of crap and if that’s what it takes to get sensible gun control, then let it begin here. I’m pro-2nd but with limits. I understand the fear that limits can lead to greater and unfair restrictions but we need to be realistic. This is not what the Founders wanted, this is not how to run a safe or functional country and it’s not in the best interests of gun owners to let a few nuts dictate policy.

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  40. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: “Good Guty with a Gun?” Even after I called you out over your ineptitude, you’re still proclaiming your ignorance.

    But Sandy Hook? Shooter had no legal right to a gun. He killed his mother and stole hers.

    This case? We dunno yet how the shooter got his gun.

    One thing we do know, though — you’re still the “stupidest mother-fvcker” around these parts.

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  41. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: As long as there’s a sliding scale on the punishment that ratchets up the penalties as the severity of the offense increases, I’m good. I just worry about jumping to the max too early and creating some perverse incentives.

    For example, I am leery of the death penalty for things like kidnapping and rape. Because at that point, you have criminals thinking “I’m already looking at the chair, and a live witness is more likely to get me caught than a dead one.”

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  42. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    Jesus... it gets worse.

    In 2012, the shooter was held at a mental health facility in New Mexico, and his detention there was reported to the FBI. So there’s ANOTHER screwup by the government that should have kept him from obtaining guns legally.

    There’s a crackpot conspiracy theory among some people that the real purpose of gun control laws isn’t to stop crimes like this, it’s to disarm the law-abiding. In that context, shootings like this aren’t a bug, they’re a feature — they can be used to demand more gun control laws.

    When it turns out that there were TWO big ol’ red flags on this guy that should have kept him from getting guns, yet he somehow did, it makes it that much harder to say they’re being paranoid.

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  43. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    BAN – officially exclude (someone) from a place.

    You were banned. That means don’t come around. You’re not wanted. Get it? Go away, moron.
    And take your retarded conspiracy theories with you.

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  44. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    Good Guy With a Gun mentality is dangerous because it’s magical thinking. Your average owner simply isn’t trained to deal with surprise attacks. If I hand you a knife, does that mean you are competent enough to defend yourself in a fight or are you going to flail around with it hoping to cut me? People like to think they’d remain calm under pressure – they *don’t*. In a past life, my teenaged self had to literally stick my fingers in a hole in someone’s throat to put pressure on a cut jugular because all competent, medically trained adults around freaked the &$*%^ out (I freaked out later after the ER nurses came and I could let go safely). Scenario after scenario shows John Q Public *not* responding properly when it hits the fan – trained people can respond poorly to ambushes as well. Even the good guy in this case had a few minutes warning to get it together.

    GGWAG is a bad mythology to push. This is not to demonize heroes but to point out that’s just not how people react. The tool doesn’t grant skill, accuracy, capability, temperament nor courage. Much better to prevent things from happening then trust the cavalry will show up to save your bacon.

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  45. Jen says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Here are a few modest proposals:

    1) A government employee who fails to file relevant information that would affect a background check is fired and loses pension/benefits.

    2) Lying on a 4473 is treated as a serious felony with serious jail time.

    3) When people use a gun in the commission of a felony, they actually get charged with it.

    No need for new laws, just a willingness to enforce the ones we have.

    Everything you listed here would require additional legislation. You know, NEW LAWS.

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  46. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: You know what’s real magical thinking? “Gun-free zones.”

    Almost every single mass shooting has taken place in one.

    You declare a “gun-free zone,” then you’re telling people they don’t have to worry about protecting themselves, because you’ll protect them.

    And you don’t.

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  47. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: On top of everything else, you’re also a whiny little bitch when it finally sinks in through that incredibly dense skull of yours just how badly you’re getting your ass kicked.

    Gimme a little time, and I’ll think of even more ways you can be pathetic. It’ll take time, because you already max out on so many ways.

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  48. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Jen: They aren’t “gun control” laws in that they are aimed at depriving law-abiding citizens of their guns; they’re refining the penalties for existing laws.

    Ted Cruz just stated that “In 2010, 48,000 felons & fugitives…illegally tried to purchase guns, [the Obama administration] prosecuted only 44 of them.”

    That’s an obscenity.

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  49. Jen says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: You’re changing the goal posts, don’t do that.

    You said that we don’t need new laws, and then listed a bunch of stuff that would require new legislation. Your statement was demonstrably incorrect.

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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Breakdown In [Fundamentally and Irrevocably Broken] Background Check System Tied To Texas Church Shooting

    FIFY

    (As long as individual states are responsible for determining & implementing gun policy, there is no hope of making any progress on this issue. It’s long past time for federal preemption, but in that sick culture I have my doubts that would work either.)

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  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Ted Cruz just stated that “In 2010, 48,000 felons & fugitives…illegally tried to purchase guns, [the Obama administration] prosecuted only 44 of them.

    Which is a strawman. Outside of a very limited set of circumstances, that is a state level problem, not a federal one.

    Although I agree with you that we should help those states out by preempting their gun laws and prosecuting all of these folks on the federal level. I’m glad to see that you believe stronger enforcement of gun laws to be a good step.

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  52. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Jen: Please, don’t go all pedantic here. This is actually something close to a civil discussion. (Daryl’s whining excluded, of course.)

    My ideas are to actually enforce existing laws (something the Obama administration appallingly failed at) and refining the penalties for the existing laws. If you want to define that as “new laws,” that’s your prerogative. Personally, I consider a “new law” to be one that changes what is legal, or imposes new restrictions. I’m trying to find a little common ground where we can agree.

    If you want go get all pedantic and score some imaginary “debate points” because you want to quibble about what constitutes a “new law” and think you’ve won some great rhetorical victory, then you can monologue about that all you like — ‘cuz it won’t be a dialogue any more.

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  53. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @HarvardLaw92: And cue the master of pedantry…

    Nice straw man there. I’ve never said I oppose all gun laws. I support “common sense” ones and oppose dumb ones. I just have a different definition of “common sense” than you do.

    But you wanna get pedantic? Fine. I agree that there are certain people who, through their conduct, have forfeited their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I believe that those people who then try to obtain guns in violation of the law should be punished under the law.

    The state/federal issue gets complicated, but that’s a different topic. And not one I’m prepared to engage in right now, because I know you’ll just set out little rhetorical traps, and not actually try to discuss the subject at hand.

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  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    I believe that those people who then try to obtain guns in violation of the law should be punished under the law.

    Then why are you posting strawmen about the federal government not prosecuting them when you know – or should know – that it’s almost entirely a state level responsibility. If you want better, more thorough enforcement, then you probably should be talking to the states.

    The state/federal issue gets complicated, but that’s a different topic. And not one I’m prepared to engage in right now, because I know you’ll just set out little rhetorical traps, and not actually try to discuss the subject at hand.

    In other words: “That discussion would begin to uncover the actual root of the problem, I’m not prepared to do that because I don’t like where it will lead, and I’ve [evidently] learned not to play my poo flinging about the law game with actual lawyers (because I get my ass handed to me).”

    Same old J E N O S. Thanks for playing :roll:

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  55. Jen says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: You are missing a point that is important, and that is in order to change penalties, you have to introduce legislation. When you open an existing statute for modification, typically any relevant amendments can be added during committee or floor debate, and the proposed language can be modified.

    That is when the NRA gets involved and gets in the members’ faces. They threaten and cajole, and send direct mail to constituents.

    My point is this–you cannot even modify the penalties for existing laws without incurring the wrath of the NRA, because it opens the chapters that would allow for more stringent amendments.

    They don’t even want these things DISCUSSED or VOTED ON. The risk for them is too great. All it takes is one key amendment that gets “their” advocates on record as opposing something common sense and that member could be toast.

    It’s been a while, but I worked as a congressional intern and spent several years as the legislative aide to a state senator in a very NRA friendly state. I know what I am talking about.

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  56. Tyrell says:

    One of the problems with technology today is the overlayment of firewalls, shields, and other security. All the different pass words, user names, e mail addresses, and security questions have created a log jam and slowdown in getting anything done. Then if you make a mistake they lock you out and you have to start all over with a new password or have to call customer service. That takes time.
    I am trying to use sites that either have a simpler process, or require no passwords at all. The internet use to be simpler, easier.

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  57. CET says:

    @KM:

    GGWAG is a bad mythology to push. This is not to demonize heroes but to point out that’s just not how people react.

    Indeed. I remember the last shooting competition I was at…the number of dead ‘hostages’ was pretty staggering, and those guys weren’t even under pressure.

    This brings to mind a proposal I’ve been mulling over for while: Replacing the patchwork ‘state by state’ carry permits with a single national carry permit that’s good in all 50 states (and ‘gun free zones’), but that requires a background check (similar in scope to the clearances you have to get to work with children), a written qualifying exam (covering the relevant laws, some basic tactical knowledge, etc), and a range exam that’s equivalent to what an LEO has to do to qualify. Permit has to be renewed every few years, and is immediately revoked for most felonies (and DV convictions, etc).

    Now, I know this would never happen. The Schumer/Feinstein/Bloomberg/Daily Kos crowd would s**t a brick over it, and it would give Wayne LaPierre and the NRA a collective aneurysm, but I almost like it more for both of those reasons.

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  58. SC_Birdflyte says:

    I’ve three times been granted security clearances by U.S. government departments (Treasury, State, Energy). In each case, I had to complete a detailed questionnaire and submit to a personal interview to ascertain if I was worthy to hold a clearance with said department. Most gun owners are not dangerous, but perhaps implementing such a system, managed by ATF, would cull out a significant proportion of those who ARE dangerous.

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  59. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Jen: They don’t even want these things DISCUSSED or VOTED ON. The risk for them is too great. All it takes is one key amendment that gets “their” advocates on record as opposing something common sense and that member could be toast.

    There is a very substantial difference between making more things illegal (standard gun control measures) and increasing penalties and encouraging stricter enforcement of existing laws (the proposal here). The NRA’s main goal (both stated and real) is to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and the proposal here will have no effect on those gun owners. Rather, it will make life tougher for the gun abusers.

    This serves the NRA’s goals in two ways: for one, it lets them show that they can be reasonable. For another, it punishes those who are often used as an excuse to go after the law-abiding gun owners.

    The danger, of course, is that the gun-grabbers will overreach yet again, push for “common sense gun control” measures that once again punish legal gun owners, and will end up with nothing — as usual.

    If they can restrain themselves and go for “something,” there’s a good chance they can get something — and something useful. If, instead, they once again, go for “all or nothing,” then they’ll get nothing once again.

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  60. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier :

    If they can restrain themselves and go for “something,” there’s a good chance they can get something — and something useful. If, instead, they once again, go for “all or nothing,” then they’ll get nothing once again.

    Except of course, “something” is in the eye of the beholder. Right now, the discussion is being dominated by those who will hear no compromise on “infringement” and spread lies about even seemingly innocuous modifications to existing laws. For instance, what we were discussing above would absolutely be trashed by the NRA because I suggested jail time for straw buyers. Oh they’ll be happy to throw a paper-pusher in jail but god forbid the person actually breaking the law with the illegal purchase see hard jail time or lose their right to bare arms.

    Again, I’m pro-2nd with heavy limits. Personally I believe if you can’t hit your target in 10 shots, you shouldn’t have a gun till you can prove you can hit the broadside of a barn safely, let alone large capacity clips. I’m a rare beast among my liberal friends but even my most conciliatory gestures get rebuffed by most gun owners I discuss this with simply because they don’t want *any* new laws, even those clarifying and beefing up existing penalties. The NRA has created a world were a millimeter is a parsec of ground lost never to be regained. That mentality has to go before we can do even the smallest of successful tweaks.

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  61. Jen says:

    @KM: In my experience, working in an actual legislative environment, you are exactly correct. I’m not sure why Bob is refusing to understand this.

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  62. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: Well, long life on the internet to you, bud! It’s remarks like that one that make your presence here so much fun.

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  63. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: For instance, what we were discussing above would absolutely be trashed by the NRA because I suggested jail time for straw buyers. Oh they’ll be happy to throw a paper-pusher in jail but god forbid the person actually breaking the law with the illegal purchase see hard jail time or lose their right to bare arms.

    I’ll admit to a bit of ignorance about the NRA’s history, but I don’t recall them opposing laws that merely increased the penalties for existing laws. My experience is they pull out all the stops against proposals to make legal things illegal, arguing that they are punishing law-abiding citizens for the acts of others.

    The NRA has argued, several times, that what we need is to enforce the existing laws. This proposal would simply enforce those laws more forcefully. Legal gun owners wouldn’t be affected in the least; criminals would be punished more severely. That’s what the NRA has argued for.

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  64. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    The NRA has argued, several times, that what we need is to enforce the existing laws.

    While doing everything in its considerable power to weaken those existing laws – a quest in which it has had remarkable success.

    Do us all a favor and just drop this bullshit concern troll routine, ok?

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  65. wr says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: “This serves the NRA’s goals in two ways: for one, it lets them show that they can be reasonable.”

    It is truly astonishing how stupid you are when you’re not actively lying. The NRA does not want to show anyone “they can be reasonable.” The NRA wants to continue to show that they are absolutely unreasonable and will punish the hell out of any lawmaker who crosses them. That’s how they work.

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  66. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @wr: Care to cite a few examples of the NRA opposing laws that didn’t criminalize something, but instead just toughened the penalties for existing laws?

    …I thought not.

    BTW, you two share a common “tell” when you’re full of crap. You drop the subject at hand and go full-blown personal attacks. Good thing for you two that the hosts here only rarely and selectively enforce the “rules” that allegedly forbid that.

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  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Care to cite a few examples of the NRA opposing laws that didn’t criminalize something, but instead just toughened the penalties for existing laws?

    Oops – goalpost moving. We have goalposts moving on the field.

    While doing everything in its considerable power to weaken those existing laws

    Try again …

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  68. Matt says:

    @<a href="#co@KM:
    To call it lipservice is completley disengenous.

    For instance, if someone has a BCD

    It was never reported which is the problem. Had the air force properly reported the BCD the NICS would of responded with a deny and the shooter would of been denied the purchase and law enforcement would of been informed of the attempt. You can’t “Look deeper into the bcd” when it wasn’t even reported in the first place.

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: The system does work. If the air force had done it’s job the NICS would of come back deny.

    The NRA had nothing to do with this as it was the AIR FORCE THAT DROPPED THE BALL AND FAILED TO FOLLOW IT”S OBLIGATIONS AS REQUIRED BY LAW.

    @Gustopher: The NICS is checked when a deal is done at a gun show by a dealer. The issue is the “gun show loophole” is actually about private sales. When people bring that up they mean they want all private sales to involve a background check which is prohibitively expensive and the current system cannot handle it. The goal is to make it as hard as possible to sell a gun to discourage ownership not safety. Since you can’t track private gun sales this will inevitably force some kind of national database registering every gun and gun owner in existence which is against the law as stated in the Firearms Owners Protection Act (1986). That law is also the law that banned new machine gun ownership without a ffl/sot. So if you repeal that you’re back to being able to buy a legal m60 like you could prior to 1986.

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  69. Matt says:

    @KM: Currently a convicted straw buyer faces a felony conviction involving a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

    It’s like you don’t actually know anything about the current gun laws and instead are regurgitating crap you read somewhere else.

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