Every time I get to argue in Real Life or Social Media with a member of the Opposition about the need to expand Background Checks, I ask them how successful the current scheme has been. They immediately fall into the slogan of “We have stopped two million felons from getting guns!” to which I ask a simple question: Where are the two million prosecutions?
The majority stop in their tracks and can’t respond. The quickest and bravest will let you know that prosecution was never the intention of the Brady Act but only to stop Violent Prohibited People from getting guns. When I ask them why there are penalties for the violation of that law, I end up with a face full of insults and blocked.
It is simple: Two million violations of the Brady Act represent two million investigations and prosecutions, right? You have a prohibited person dead to rights by walking into a gun store or gun show (forbidden), very possibly manipulating a gun (also forbidden) and then filling the ATF form 4473 in which they have to lie or if truthful, they are signing the evidence of breaking the law with their own hand. And if a Federal Prosecutor was to save him/herself time, only one count would be issued for the multiple violations and that would entail 10 year in Fed Pen and $200,000 in fines.
So where are the two million prosecutions? Nowhere. Maybe a Million? Five Hundred thousand perhaps and that would be prosecuting only 25% of the violations? So what are the numbers?
I bumped into the info for 5 years: 2006 to 2010. I knew it was bad, but the reality is absolutely absurd. Here is a summary:
2006: Total denials: 77,233. Referred for prosecution: 172. Guilty Plea or Conviction: 73.
2007: Total denials: 66,817. Referred for prosecution: 196. Guilty Plea or Conviction: 48.
2008: Total denials: 78,906. Referred for prosecution: 147. Guilty Plea or Conviction: 43.
2009: Total denials: 67,324. Referred for prosecution: 140. Guilty Plea or Conviction: 32.
2010: Total denials: 76,142. Referred for prosecution: 62. Guilty Plea or Conviction: 13.
Of the 366,422 denials issued with pride in those five years, they only managed to get 209 convictions. That is 0.05%,
half a twentieth of one percent of all denials that ended up with a conviction or a plea of guilty. In the same time frame, the number of people who were wrongfully denied (false positive) was 3,141 or 0.85%. Basically there were 17 times more wrongful denials than successful prosecutions in that time frame.
Basically the Government decided to give a pass to 98.5% of those violating the Brady Act.
But we need more Background Checks.
And it is the NRA and Gun Owners who are the problem.
Kilo Mike Alpha.
Sources: D.O.J. National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2006.
Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2007.
Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2008.
Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2009.
Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2010.
22 thoughts on “We need more background checks, and the statistics prove it! (or not)”
In a perfect world perhaps every crime committed at every jurisdictional level would be prosecuted. But as most people realize, that can’t be the case. So cases are prioritized depending upon a number of factors, including the alleged offender’s criminal background.
Most people “get” that and realize that even without prosecutions, the law is keeping firearms out of the hands of people none of us probably want to have access to one.
Kinda strange to listen to an argument against all the above from someone who seemingly would want less bad guys with guns out there.
But that is what the Culture is all about these days.
“In a perfect world perhaps every crime committed at every jurisdictional level would be prosecuted.”
Uh, no. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any crime. But we do not live in a perfect world.
“Most people “get” that and realize that even without prosecutions, the law is keeping firearms out of the hands of people none of us probably want to have access to one.”
And that is why a lot of people, even some gun owners, support background checks. Because it keeps some people who should not have guns from getting their guns via normal (as in legal) means.
But, it also, provably, keeps people who should be able to get their gun via normal means from getting their guns. That’s not to mention that prior restraint on a constitutional right is unconstitutional, unless of were talking about guns, then somehow(?) it’s legal and all good.
Most galling of all is the failure to prosecute people who have broken the law. These are slam dunk prosecutions. The state would have very little work to do in making these prosecutions happen, since as Miguel pointed out, these people have been caught dead to rights breaking the law.
Let’s not forget that someone convicted and serving time cannot commit a future crime with a gun if he’s in jail and serving time for his crime of attempting to buy the gun in the first place.
“Kinda strange to listen to an argument against all the above from someone who seemingly would want less bad guys with guns out there.”
I was thinking the same thing. Unless your goal isn’t to stop the bad guys from getting guns, but everyone from getting guns.
But that is what the Cult
ureto stop gun ownership is all about these days.
So, don’t go after the easy convictions, but insist that we need to add more and more restrictions to the background checks?
I guess it’s all good, since we won’t ever see them convicted, right?
So which cases are being prosecuted ahead of “POTENTIALLY VIOLENT, DANGEROUS FELON ATTEMPTS TO ACQUIRE DEADLY WEAPON!?”
Someone who should reasonably be denied ownership of a firearm should not be walking around in public. These ARE the people you should be prioritizing.
If sociopaths like you were correct, then every firearm sale denied is at least one count of attempted murder. Probably a spree shooting. And because you didn’t go after him and lock him up, he’s naturally gone out and either stolen a gun to commit his crime with, or bought one from someone in a back alley where he didn’t need a background check, or stole it from a family member. So if guns really are as dangerous as you sadistic reprobates claim they are, every time you fail to go after someone who tries to buy a firearm illegally, you are deciding NOT TO STOP ANOTHER NEWTOWN MASSACRE.
A gun shop I used to visit had a denial and was told to ‘keep the guy there’ while police were sent out.Finally,6 cars were quietly in the parking lot without the guy noticing.He was told there was a delay and to come back tomorrow.As he left the shop,he was tackled by 6 marginally brave souls and hauled away.The next day,he was out and back at the shop.Approved,by the way,to pick up his gun.His crime and the way the background check was used?He had 6 outstanding unpaid parking tickets and HAD to be taken down.The Brady idiocy stops another crime spree,I guess.
Sounds like a crime spree for sure. They will send 6 to get the money for parking tickets but let real criminals go. WTF
“…the law is keeping firearms out of the hands of people none of us probably want to have access to one.”
You’re parroting the anti-gun sloganeering cited by Miguel above – “We have stopped two million felons from getting guns!” Background checks DO NO SUCH THING. They merely prevent the wrong people from acquiring their guns FROM LEGITIMATE SOURCES. Because most (nearly all) are neither arrested, nor prosecuted, nor convicted, they are free to find guns from other sources. (Additionally, having failed a background check, they’re tipped off to avoid legitimate gun sellers in the future. So their future attempts to acquire firearms drops off the radar completely.)
Then there are the great number of prohibited persons who never attempt to purchase a firearm from a legitimate source. These purchases are not, and never will be, subject to background checks, so no background check scheme will prevent them. This huge deficit in the law’s ability to keep firearms from criminals and other prohibited persons also puts the lie to the idea that background checks prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands in any meaningful way. (See http://bearingarms.com/cook-county-jail-survey-shows-guns-obtained-illegally/)
Going back to the old adage that gun control isn’t about stopping crime, it’s about control.
Something I’ve always wondered about with regard to total denials versus wrongful denials, is how many people don’t bother with doing the appeals process and instead just have the check rerun but including their SSN, or name variation: Chris Christopher, Mike Michael, etc…
Max fine of $250K fine times 2M denials is $500B.
Admittedly it would be a lot less (rarely max fine).
But the government is passing on that kind of money because prosecuting is too difficult / don’t have the time or manpower… really?
The government spends like crazy, but they won’t go after making big money fines?
By your numbers, the convictions are a half of a TENTH of a percent (rather than a half a percent) of the denials, meaning 99.95% of cases do not lead to conviction, not 98.5%.
I am including wrongful denials as not to make it look that bad…which is impossible. But yours is absolutely valid.
Considering that many DAs like to tout their conviction rates, you would think they would take as many of these slam dunk cases as they could. The antis could claim they are keeping guns off the street and they all could claim wins.
I wonder if it would be possible to collate enough information to determine how many background check denials have cost people their lives(like MLK, who was denied the ability to purchase a firearm and was murdered not a week later) vs. those convictions.
I’d be willing to wager background checks cause more deaths than they prevent.
One can only wonder ‘if’ they are selectively prosecuting… Nah, they wouldn’t do that, would they???
Ha! I *love* math. Thanks for the research.
Didn’t some government moron say that it was merely a “paperwork” violation and not worth the effort?
That’s ridiculous given that the person falsely signed their name to the 4473 form which is sufficient to convict them. So clearly, it is there only to discourage legal gun ownership and is ineffective, like all gun control laws (except enhanced sentencing).
Great for building a confiscation registry if we let them pass a UBC with record keeping.
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Do you have NICS budget for each year as well? It would be interesting to see how much each of those convictions cost. You know, to see if our taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely…
What I found, funding request for 2014: http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/jmd/legacy/2013/11/17/fbi-justification.pdf
From what I read in page 5-11, 2014 had a budget of $160,440,000 for NICS
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