CPRC at the Daily Caller: “Why Background Checks Couldn’t Stop Dylan Roof”

11 Jul , 2015  

FBI Director James Comey

John Lott’s latest piece at the Daily Caller discusses the FBI’s announcement that mistakes were made in the background check for his gun purchase. His piece starts this way:

The FBI says that the federal background check system for guns should have stopped Dylann Roof, the racist who killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston.

This rips all of our hearts out,” says FBI Director James Comey, who blamed the mistake at least partially on improperly labeled paperwork.

But the truth is more complicated. First, even a perfectly functioning background check system very likely wouldn’t have stopped Roof from getting a gun. Second, the current background check system is a much worse mess than Comey recognizes.

With Roof planning his attack for at least six months, it seems hard to believe that he couldn’t have figured out some way of obtaining a gun. Indeed, he stole the gun that he used in this attack.

The truth is, the databases the government uses to determine eligibility for gun purchases are rife with errors. Comey’s comments focus on one type of error, where someone who should have been prohibited from getting a gun wasn’t stopped. But a much more common error involves people who should have been able to buy guns but are stopped.

This is the same problem experienced with the “No Fly” list. Remember the five times that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy was “initially denied” flights because his name was on the anti-terror “no fly” list? His name was just too similar to someone that we really did want to keep from flying. . . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.  What is at issue is Roof’s answer to question e (click on the copy below of the 4473 form to enlarge).




2 Responses

  1. MarkPA says:

    The problems with the FBI’s databases that plague FFL NICS checks also obtain with the NCIC system used by law enforcement to check for priors and warrants on people they detain/arrest. The FBI must maintain and improve the quality of its databases for law enforcement purposes. To the extent that can be done and is done, FFL NICS checks will improve (slightly).

    This Charleston case is merely an obvious example of how FFL NICS checks are nothing more than a feel-good measure. They make dealers and their salesmen feel good that they haven’t sold a gun to a known criminal/crazy. If taxpayers want to pay for the NICS inquiry system so that dealers and salesmen feel-good, that’s fine by me. However, the taxpayers shouldn’t harbor any delusions that criminals/crazies won’t get guns by straw-buying, theft or trafficking.

    As long as American society remains reluctant to imprison single mothers for straw-buying that practice will continue. When society is ready to send single mothers to prison for 5 years and take custody of their children then we might cut down on straw-buying with increasing burglary and trafficking taking up the slack.

    We PotG should be embracing the improvement of the FBI’s databases so that law enforcement can arrest felons-in-posession. To THIS end, the FBI’s database must be maintained and improved. And, FFL NICS checks will be an incidental beneficiary.

  2. David M. Bennett says:

    Oh that super special, almost magical, 1968 Gun Control Act and its progeny The Brady Act . . . both pieces of historic legislation in which our esteemed politicians accomplished nothing more than to require 95% of criminals to purchase their firearms on the unregulated black market! The result: no reduction in crime and billions and billions and billions of taxpayer dollars wasted.

    Now the politicians want to improve the aforementioned waste by further billions in an obviously futile effort to improve the black market’s share of illegal firearms transactions to nothing less than 100%.

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