NSSF: Fix NICS Act is ‘Not Gun Control’
Fix NICS is Not Gun Control
Unlike restrictions on semi-automatic rifles or magazine capacity, Fix NICS is not a “gun control” measure, no matter how some opportunistic co-sponsors on that side of the gun debate may choose to characterize the bill.
Yes. It is.
It is a prior restraint on the exercise of a constitutionally protected right. It requires one to preemptively prove his innocence.
It denies Second Amendment rights completely to arbitrary classes: unapproved users of arbitrary substances regardless of legality at state level, or even if such use has never been associated with other mala in se criminal activity by that person.
It requires such a person above to choose between perjury or self-incrimination in violation of the HAYNES Supreme Court decision, in order to exercise his Second Amendment rights.
It denies Second Amendment rights completely to those convicted of an arbitrary definition of misdemeanor domestic violence, including imposing an ex post facto punishment of permanent prohibited person status decades after the fact. (I say arbitrary, because it’s only “domestic violence” depending on which person with whom you were in a close relationship.) The vast majority of criminal convictions in America come through plea bargains, in which the defendant often gives up, settling for lesser punishment, just to save the hassle. It has been documented that some who made plea arrangements have later been proved innocent.
In a similar manner, appellate judges have tossed pled-down convictions of lawful immigrants because the immigrants were unaware that their punishment could subject them to deportation. Yet a “domestic violence” offender was supposed to know in the 1970s that a 1997 law would cause his punishment to include a permanent abrogation of rights.
It has denied Second Amendment rights completely to unconvicted “fugitives” even as — similarly to the above real world scenario — a federal court has ruled that it an unconstitutional violation of right to deny welfare payments to the same “fugitives.”
It denied Second Amendment rights completely to people arbitrarily placed in NICS databases by the Veterans Administration and Social Security Administration without the due process and adjudication required by federal law.
It denies Second Amendment rights completely to people subject to “Extreme Risk Protection Orders specifically designed to avoid any adjudication until after the abrogation of rights.
So why do it?
In truth, the legislation is based on the previous state-level work of the firearms industry to improve a system put into place nearly two decades ago. Ever since its inception, NICS has been hamstrung by the systemic failure to include all necessary disqualifying records in its database.
For the industry. Not honest gun owners.
It’s is unlawful to knowingly sell a firearm to a prohibited person. The industry wanted NICS check purely to cover their own asses. Much as corporate America requires would-be employees to pee in a cup to cover their asses under the Drug-Free Workplace Act’s requirement that they make “an ongoing, good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace by meeting the requirements of the Act,” the industry wanted to make customers fill out intrusive forms to meet the 18 U.S. Code § 922 restrictions on sales. NICS made it even better — for the industry — by shifting responsibility for granting permission to the FBI.
CYA. Liability. Not because they had a bunch of felons and psychos strolling in to buy guns. By a 2001 study, by 1997 roughly 87% of criminals bypassed stores to get their weapons from friends, family or illegal street sources. (side note: a mere 0.7% obtained them from gun shows.)
We know they aren’t doing that, just from the NICS denial numbers.
In 2016, there were 27,538,673 NICS transactions processed. There 120,497 denials (0.4%). At least 30,000 thousand of those are under appeal. Historically, around 93% of denials have been found to be false positives.
There have been 1,393,729 denials since the NICS program began in 1998. Five percent of that — proper denials — would be 69,686.
Last time I checked, there were 147 referrals for prosecutions. 147 in almost two decades. Those aren’t numbers indicating a need to keep criminals from shopping in gun stores.
(The 2016 NICS report says the top reason for overturned denials is that they got the wrong person: that with name, address, sex, date of birth, place of birth, and SSAN, they still couldn’t tell the buyer from some prohibited person with a similar name. Another top reason is that the NICS databases simply had the wrong — often outdated — information on the person.)
Those overturned denials are people whose Second Amendment human/civil rights were denied through a gun control measure.
Those numbers say the program serves no purpose… except to cover the industry’s ass. At the customers’ and taxpayers’ expense: At a typical $25 for a NICS check, the industry pocketed $5,077,150 on this year’s Black Friday alone, just to make a phone call. The FBI is requesting $8.9 million in the FY2018 budget for NICS.
NICS is a demonstrably useless prior restraint of human/civil rights. It benefits only the firearms industry and anti-RKBA control freaks.
And the NSSF knows it. Or this would never have happened:
Several years ago, a friend was invited to an NSSF-sponsor media education event, where the visitors were given a talk on firearms, a Q&A session, and range time to see what shooting guns was really like. My friend attended.
So did I. Combining errands into one trip, she brought her children along, so I came to babysit during the NSSF program. During the shooting session, the NSSF rep noticed me at the back of the room outside the firing line (where I was trying to keep the kids quietly occupied) and asked if I wasn’t going to shoot.
He didn’t know who I was. Even though I had no credentials, he assumed I was an invitee. I corrected him. He still offered to let me shoot. I said what-the-hell.
And he handed a perfect stranger a Glock 17 and a magazine. No ID check. No background check. Didn’t even ask if I could lawfully possess. (For the record, I am not a prohibited person. But he couldn’t know that.)
The NSSF isn’t concerned about keeping guns out of the “wrong” hands; they just want CYA.
Ed. note: This commentary appeared first in TZP’s weekly email alert. If you would like to be among the first to see new commentary (as well as to get notice of new polls and recaps of recent posts), please sign up for our alert list. (See sidebar or, if you’re on a mobile device, scroll down). Be sure to respond when you receive your activation email!