Michael Schaus
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Coloradoans, apparently, like their guns. The great state of New New York (AKA: Colorado) is on track to break the previous record of total gun sales in the state… At least, that’s according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. By year end, Colorado will have conducted tens of thousands more background checks for gun purchases than ever before in state history.

Some of the up-tick in firearm purchases could be contributed to gun enthusiasts’ desire to buy up firearms before legislators and a certain governor (ahem*Hickenlooper*ahem) choose to outlaw the practice. Advocates of recent gun control laws, however, are suggesting the increase in background checks are a result of “universal background checks’; and are therefore proof that the new laws are keeping Coloradoans safer.

“Dozens of criminals would be walking around with a gun right now if not for the new law,” said Rep. Rhonda Fields, a Colorado legislator with no apparent capacity to digest the meaning of the word “criminal”. Because, ya know, dozens of criminals tried to purchase a firearm from drug dealers, gun runners, and fellow gang members – only to find out that they were unable to pass the required background check. “Oh well,” they said to themselves when their fellow criminal reported the unfortunate denial from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. “I guess I’ll just go back to being an unarmed, and passive, member of society.”

Field’s comment almost takes the cake for the stupidest liberal utterance of 2013. (Well… She would have at least made the top five.)

“We now have five months of data that prove that the law is working,” she continued, ironically ignoring the most recent school shooting, and the obvious fact that only citizens who are already concerned with following the law are – well – following the law…

We might as well consider the universal background check in Colorado as a voluntary background check. After all, there is no registration, practical method for firearm tracking, or “universal” monitoring of firearms. (Don’t worry… I’m not giving Liberals any new ideas.) Avoiding the background check system is as easy as ever. And, yet, we’re lead to believe that a father running a background check on his 19 year old son – so he can give him that 12 gauge over-and-under for Christmas – is somehow making New New York any safer.*

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...

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Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is the Associate Editor for Townhall Finance, and the Executive Producer for Ransom Notes Radio. He is a former talk show host and political activist. Having worked in fields ranging from construction to financial investment, his perspectives and world views are forged with a deep understanding of what it means to be an American.
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