Gun Control Failure

This blog contains excerpts from the book “Fighting Back” from Eric Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America.

Gun control does not work. Period! That is because criminals, by their very nature, don’t obey the law.

Again, to combat the anti-gun left, you need to cite specific examples of how gun control fails miserably. Here is an example you can use. The victim’s name was Carol Browne, a New Jersey hairdresser. She was murdered outside her New Jersey home in 2015 by her ex-boyfriend, a violent felon who threatened her many times. She was killed by a man of whom the police were fully aware! She had gotten a restraining order against him, and even installed security cameras and an alarm system. Then she went about the arduous and complicated task of purchasing a firearm in New Jersey.

Carol applied for a permit to purchase a handgun on April 21 of that year. On June 3, as she was still waiting for permission to purchase a handgun, her ex showed up at her home and viciously stabbed her to death. Although state law required applicants be issued their Firearms Purchaser ID card within 30 days, she still had not received it 43 days after application, the day her ex violently killed her. Click here to read her tragic story.

Gun control does not stop criminals. It merely criminalizes law-abiding gun owners. Do you remember the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut? You better, because the anti-gun left does, and uses this horrific event as a stepping stone for their ridiculous rhetoric. Click here to read an unbiased view of the massacre, a view which does not contain leftist words like “Assault Rifle” or “High Capacity Magazines”. The attacker, who was not eligible to own guns, first went to his mother’s house, stole her guns, then killed her as his first victim.

Can you name a gun control law that would have prevented that tragedy? Universal background checks (whatever that is)? Gun-free school zones? Permit waiting times? Gun purchase waiting times? Which law would have prevented the shooter from obtaining a firearm? Actually, “universal background checks” is the left’s euphemism of a gun registry…something completely illegal per the U.S. Constitution.

The answer is “none”. The killer got into his mother’s safe, stole her firearms, then killed her, as his first victim? Then he continued on to the elementary school. So, what law would have prevented this? The killer broke countless laws and bypassed several existing gun control restrictions. Again, so what law would have stopped him from acquiring those weapons?

This failure of these laws is one of the most powerful arguments that gun rights activists can use. If you use the failure of these laws, which fits the colloquial definition of insanitydoing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result, you will find this is a mic-drop moment.

Also, background checks fail to stop bad guys from getting their hands on guns. The background check system is known as NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check system). Here in Pennsylvania, we have PICS (Pennsylvania Instant Control System) which is tied into NICS. NICS was inaugurated in 1998. The anti-gun left treats NICS as the holy grail of gun control. It was snake oil sold to the American public as an essential tool to “keep guns out of the wrong hands”. The problem is that gun purchasers and concealed carry permit holders can pass the background check at the time of the gun purchase or permit application. But this system cannot tell if someone will commit a crime in the future. Nothing can.

The NICS background check system is ineffective and dangerous. These checks target the law-abiding. Do you think a criminal with a rap sheet is going to go into a Bass Pro Shop and purchase a gun the legal way via a mandatory background check? Over 95% of the initial NICS denials are “false positives”, which means the overwhelming majority of those denied are not the ones who want to rob the local convenience store. In fact, the last year on record, 2021, only 12 people were actually prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for trying to illegally purchase a gun, during a year when over 25 million background checks were conducted. This means that the people being denied are not the dangerous felons this system was meant to stop. The rationale for the denials is for stupid reasons…an unpaid parking ticket, having the same name as a bad guy, or engaging in a bar fight 50 years ago. Yes, those being denied can appeal it, but the fight is lengthy process. According to USA Today, the Obama Administration illegally diverted every single one of its FBI Appeal Examiners to other duties, making it impossible for the agency to overturn mistaken denials. Some appellants had to wait over 18 months for their denial appeal to be heard.

These background checks can also lead to illegal gun registrations. Our Founding Fathers deliberately put into the Constitution that the government is not permitted to have a list or registration of gun owners, for fear of future gun confiscations. Every time I process a PICS background check for a customer’s gun transfer, I have to provide the customer’s driver’s license number and their date of birth into the PICS system. The system responds with the all the pertinent personal information of the transferee. Eventhough the state doesn’t know what kind of gun is being transferred, they know that on a specific date and time, John Doe required a background check for a gun.

This is the screen on the PICS website in which I enter the gun transferee’s information (green fields). The big question is: “when this information is submitted, is the data being stored in a gun registry database, or it is merely retrieving the transferee’s data already on file via their driver’s license?”

In 2021 came an astounding report from the General Accounting Office (GAO). “The Biden Administration in just the past year alone stockpiled the records of more than 54 million U.S. gun owners and is poised to drastically alter gun regulations to ensure that information on Americans who own firearms ultimately ends up in the Federal Government’s hands, according to internal ATF documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

In fact, according to the New York Times, the ATF compiled so many records on gun owners, that a floor collapsed at its West Virginia site.

This table here lists mass shootings since 2009. ALL of the attackers passed their background checks. The only pro-gun organization which opposed this law, was Gun Owners of America. The GOA rationale is that they will not support legislation which infringes upon a God-given right. We don’t ask journalists to get fact checked before publishing something, per our 1st Amendment right to free speech. We don’t ask clergy to get prior approval before conducting religious services, per our 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion. So why would we force law-abiding gun owners to get government permission before exercising their 2nd Amendment right.

If attempting to argue with an anti-gun leftist, you must use their foolish thinking against them. They claim waiting periods and background checks might save one life. The argument here is what if these measures actually cost many lives, and use the examples above.

But the reality is that these measures give bureaucrats the ability to say “no”. This was the basis of the Supreme Court’s “Bruen” decision in June of 2022. There were a handful of states which were considered “may issue” states as it relates to getting a concealed carry permit. Each of these states may issue you a concealed carry permit if you showed good character or need. For reference, Pennsylvania is “shall issue” state, which means that the state shall issue you a permit unless they can prove you are not entitled to one. They cannot deny you a permit because some bureaucrat doesn’t like you. The Bruen decision leveled the playing field by making all 50 states “shall issue” states. Both Communist New York and the People’s Republic of New Jersey hate that decision because they can no longer say “no”. So, New York, for example, is now attempting to pass laws which circumvent the Bruen decision by basically making the entire state a gun-free zone. Eventually that will go up in front of the Supremes because they are denying citizens their basic 2nd Amendment right. And numerous times, the U.S. 2nd District Court, which oversees New York, has told New York their laws are unconstitutional. But New York doesn’t care, because there are no negative ramifications of noncompliance. If governor Hochul or attorney general James were hauled off to jail by federal marshals, they may reconsider.

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