Michael Schaus

To the extent that a higher number of Coloradoans have been denied purchasing a firearm, nothing suggests that any crime has been averted, thwarted, or prevented. Even Field’s assertion that “dozens of criminals” have been prevented from getting their evil hands on guns is slightly misleading. Rejections from the CBI do not necessarily mean a person is prohibited from owning a firearm. False denials, insufficient information, and improperly filed paperwork are all routine culprits for denied transactions.

According to national statistics, roughly 1 – 2 percent of gun sales are prohibited by background checks. Almost 4 percent of denials are incorrectly issued, with the other 9 out of 10 denials being deemed unworthy of ATF or law-enforcement investigation. How dangerous was a potential gun purchaser when authorities don’t even consider a follow-up phone call necessary for public safety? Heck, Senator Ted Kennedy was routinely denied access to flights because his name was similar to a name on the national “no-fly” list. On at least five occasions the (arguably dangerous) Senator was booted from a flight because of bureaucratic mishaps. (Now, I could understand denying him access to a car – but putting him on the “no-fly” list? Really?) According to Ronda-Fields-style-logic, the national “no-fly” list stopped five potential hijackings.

“The bottom line is, background checks work,” said Democrat State Rep. Mike Foote, one of the bill’s sponsors. “It keeps guns out of the hands of felons and domestic violence offenders.” Well, sure… It keeps guns out of the hands of anyone who bothers to hassle with following the law. It does nothing to prohibit illegal sales among criminals with criminal intent.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Colorado citizens likely committed a new crime this Christmas when they unwittingly circumvented the new gun laws by giving a gun as a gift to family or friends. Unless that gun was accompanied by a background check form, and processed through a federally licensed dealer, the generous gift has just indicted two otherwise law abiding citizens.

Thank you, Ronda and Mike… I’m sure New New York feels much safer knowing you passed a law that outlawed Christmas presents. Now, can we start focusing on criminals sometime soon?

*Update: According to the CBI, "a bona fide gift between immediate family members" earns an exemption from the requirement for a background check. (Thanks CBI for keeping in touch!) Proof of gifting, and family member status, however, seems to be open for prosecutorial discretion. Gifting to a significant other (if not married) or extended family seems to still be frowned upon by our all-knowing anti-gun politicos...

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

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