Background Check Denials and a lack of prosecutions for these violations.

“We need stronger enforcement of existing laws!” is  a common refrain when people talk about enacting further gun control.  Nowhere is this more pronounced than prosecutions of straw purchasing and background check violations.

President Obama has taken heat over this in a variety of forms, with claims that gun prosecutions are down 40% during his administration:

During the six years data is available for former President George W. Bush’s administration — 2002-2003 and 2005-2008 — a total of 628 federal cases were prosecuted as a result of failed background checks. That averages about 105 annually.

Only two years of statistics are available for Obama’s administration: 77 cases were prosecuted in 2009 and 44 in 2010. That averages to about 61 annually. Another year of data should be released this summer.

Source: http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2013/may/01/bob-goodlatte/goodlatte-says-us-prosecutions-lying-gun-backgroun/

But really, firearms prosecutions aren’t a priority under any administration.

A study was done highlighting this – http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/307/

Check out the figures.  The feds don’t really care about going after cases that aren’t fast & easy wins.  The top number of prosecutions fall under the following categories:

  • Unlawful shipment, transfer, receipt, or possession by a felon
  • Use/carry of firearm during crime of violence/drug trafficking offense
  • Receive/possess firearm not register in National Firearm Registration
  • Receipt or possession of a stolen firearm and ammunition
  • Unlawful possession by an Alien unlawfully in the United States
  • Unlawful shipment, transfer, receipt, or possession by a drug addict

but the one we are most concerned with for this topic is this:

False/Fictitious statements in order to acquire a firearm/ammunition

According to the study linked above, this accounts for less than 200 prosecutions every year.  Yet, whenever someone talks about the need for background checks (in particular, Universal Background Checks) they talk about the number of criminals stopped by the background check system.  The FBI claims there were 88,479 NICS denials in 2012. The number of prosecutions? 170

It’s just not a priority.

And really, in the eyes of the prosecutors, why should they be? The Feds have limited time, money, and resources when it comes to trying cases.  If there’s a bug under their bonnet, they won’t hesitate to bring the full weight of the government down on someone, but in the meantime they are just like anyone else – they want to do their job and get promoted.  

The best way to do that? Win cases.  Win lots of cases and get lots of convictions and make sure that they are sexy ones.  You know what’s sexy? Terrorism. Drug trafficking.  Organized Crime / RICO.  Corruption.  Getting a conviction on a someone for 500lbs of dope or 100 kilos of coke / heroin will help a career.  Same with human trafficking.  Same with a politician.  You know what doesn’t look good? Putting away some single mother or the girlfriend of a criminal who straw purchased a couple Glocks for her thrice-convicted boyfriend.

Plus, gun cases are hard to convict because they require work.  You have to investigate.  You have to prove intent.  You have to do actual leg work; you don’t get to swoop in and take the credit for some State Trooper finding drugs in the back of a truck.
So the feds don’t like gun cases, and really they shouldn’t be a priority anyhow because let’s face it – it’s a stupid crime to begin with.  Their focus should rightly be on people committing violent crimes, or large traffickers.
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Another reason not to like gun registries – government incompetence

DC Police Dept ‘Loses’ Gun Owners’ Fingerprints, Forces Them to Pay Fee to Re-Register

The District of Columbia is the only jurisdiction in America in which gun owners have to re-register their guns with the government every three years. The mandate was enforced at the beginning of this year. Now, the Metropolitan Police Department has been sending notices to residents with registered firearms to come down to their headquarters to be fingerprinted. The only problem is, most people are resisting the demand.

Because of the police department’s own incompetence, gun owners have to fork over another $35 for the fingerprinting fee, as well as $13 for the gun registration fee – per gun. Not to mention the gas they have to pay to make another trip to police headquarters – for no reason.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2014/09/27/dc-police-dept-loses-gun-owners-fingerprints-forces-them-to-pay-fee-to-reregister-n1897259

Volokh – Why not regulate guns like cars?

Eugene Volokh is one of the great constitutional lawyers of our day and age and is pro-gun as all get out.  Check out this dismantling of the typical anti-gun “Why not regulate guns like cars?” argument:

A commenter on a recent thread asked — seemingly from a pro-gun-control perspective — “Why can’t guns be treated like cars, regulated and available, only to those who demonstrate competence and compliance with laws?” That is a perfect excuse for me to reprise my analysis of the guns-cars analogy.

Cars are basically regulated as follows (I rely below on California law, but to my knowledge the rules are similar throughout the country):

(1) No federal licensing or registration of car owners.

(2) Any person may use a car on his own private property without any license or registration. See, e.g., California Vehicle Code §§ 360, 12500 (driver’s license required for driving on “highways,” defined as places that are “publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel”); California Vehicle Code § 4000 (same as to registration).

(3) Any adult — and in most states, 16- and 17-year-olds, as well — may get a license to use a car in public places by passing a fairly simple test that virtually everyone can pass.

(4) You can lose your license for proved misuse of the car, but not for most other misconduct; and even if you lose your driver’s license, you can usually regain it some time later.

(5) Your license from one state is good throughout the country.

This is pretty much how many gun rights advocates would like to see guns regulated, and is in fact pretty close to the dominant model in the over 40 states that now allow pretty much any law-abiding adult to get a license to carry a concealed weapon: No need to register or get a license to have a gun at home, and a simple, routine test through which any law-abiding citizen can get a state license to carry a gun in public. And even if we require a test for all possession of a gun, at home or in public — again, something that’snot required for cars — that would still mean that pretty much any law-abiding adult (or 16- or 17-year-old) would be able to easily get a license to carry a gun. That would provide more functional gun rights in the remaining non-shall-issue states (including, for instance, New York) than is provided under current gun regulations.

Now I suspect that many gun control advocates would in reality prefer a much more onerous system of regulations for guns than for cars. Of course, one can certainly argue that guns should be regulated more heavily than cars; thoughtful gun control advocates do indeed do this. But then one should candidly admit that one is demanding specially burdensome regulation for guns — and not claim to be merely asking “why can’t guns be treated like cars?”

Incidentally, I don’t claim any great originality on these points: Others have made them before me, see, e.g., David Kopel’s “Taking It to the Streets,” Reason, Nov. 1999. But some things are worth repeating.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/12/23/why-not-regulate-guns-like-cars/

Where do the guns in Mexico come from? A great article

The entire article is pro-click but here’s the first section:

As we discussed in a previous analysis, the 90 percent number was derived from a June 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress on U.S. efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico (see external link).

According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.

This means that the 87 percent figure relates to the number of weapons submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF that could be successfully traced and not from the total number of weapons seized by Mexican authorities or even from the total number of weapons submitted to the ATF for tracing. In fact, the 3,480 guns positively traced to the United States equals less than 12 percent of the total arms seized in Mexico in 2008 and less than 48 percent of all those submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF for tracing. This means that almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traced back to the United States.

The remaining 22,800 firearms seized by Mexican authorities in 2008 were not traced for a variety of reasons. In addition to factors such as bureaucratic barriers and negligence, many of the weapons seized by Mexican authorities either do not bear serial numbers or have had their serial numbers altered or obliterated. It is also important to understand that the Mexican authorities simply don’t bother to submit some classes of weapons to the ATF for tracing. Such weapons include firearms they identify as coming from their own military or police forces, or guns that they can trace back themselves as being sold through the Mexican Defense Department’s Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division (UCAM). Likewise, they do not ask ATF to trace military ordnance from third countries like the South Korean fragmentation grenades commonly used in cartel attacks.

Of course, some or even many of the 22,800 firearms the Mexicans did not submit to ATF for tracing may have originated in the United States. But according to the figures presented by the GAO, there is no evidence to support the assertion that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels come from the United States — especially when not even 50 percent of those that were submitted for tracing were ultimately found to be of U.S. origin.

http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=31932

Security Theater: Delta baggage handler accused of smuggling guns on flights

A baggage handler for Delta Air Lines moved a lot more than just luggage, authorities say — he also helped smuggle firearms.

And his accomplice managed to board a flight with 18 guns and ammunition in his carry-on bag, an affidavit states.

Security is only as good as its weakest link.

“Employees entering this area are not subjected to screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), neither at the time of entry into the employee parking lot, nor upon entry to the internal secure/restricted area at Hartsfield-Jackson,” the affidavit states.

This might be a glaring flaw in your security process, especially in this ‘post 9/11 world’

Original article found here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/23/us/delta-employee-gun-smuggling/

Unintentional Firearms Injuries aren’t really a problem.

The NSSF released a handy PDF highlighting information on unintentional firearms injuries and fatalities:

Unintentional Firearms Fatalities Remain at Historically Low Levels
Data released by the National Safety Council demonstrates that unintentional firearms-related fatalities continue to remain at historically low levels. In fact, in the last two decades, the number of unintentional firearms-related fatalities has declined by 57 percent — from 1,409 unintentional fatalities
in 1992 to 600* in 2012.

Emphasis mine.  It should be noted that these 600 fatalities in 2012 are spread across all ages from <1 to 85

  • Firearms-related fatalities in the U.S. have been decreasing consistently since record keeping began in 1903 and dramatically in the last 20 years.
  • In the last 20 years (2002 – 2012), the number of unintentional firearms-related fatalities involving children 14 years of age and under has decreased by 73 percent.
  •  Unintentional firearms-related fatalities are substantially lower than the number of unintentional fatalities caused by many other forms of injury.
  • Firearms are involved in 1.4 percent of unintentional fatalities among children 14 years of age and under and
    are among the least likely causes of unintentional fatality.
  •  In the past 10 years, firearms-related fatalities in the home have dropped by 20 percent, and by 60 percent in the
    last 20 years.
  •  Firearms are involved in fewer than a ½-percent (0.43-percent) of all unintentional fatalities in the United
    States.
  •  Hunting is one of the safest activities in America.
  •  As firearms safety education programs have increased, the number of unintentional firearms-related fatalities
    have decreased.
  • Over the last decade, the rate of unintentional firearms-related fatalities has declined by 33 percent (from 0.3 in 2002 to 0.2* in 2012)

You can do a year-by-year total for fatalities by going to the CDC WISQARS database and selecting “Manner of fatality: Unintentional” and “Method: Firearm” and seeing the exact numbers for yourself.

Sourced from the NSSF: http://nssf.org/PDF/research/IIR_InjuryStatistics2014.pdf – mirrored here