This just screams for comment, given that universal preemptively-prove-your-innocence prior restraint is probably going to pass next year.
GAO: Few Individuals Denied Firearms Purchases Are Prosecuted and ATF Should Assess Use of Warning Notices in Lieu of Prosecutions
Federal and selected state law enforcement agencies that process firearm-related background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) collectively investigate and prosecute a small percentage of individuals who falsify information on a firearms form (e.g., do not disclose a felony conviction) and are denied a purchase. Federal NICS checks resulted in about 112,000 denied transactions in fiscal year 2017, of which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) referred about 12,700 to its field divisions for further investigation. U.S. Attorney’s Offices (USAO) had prosecuted 12 of these cases as of June 2018.
CNN is reporting this as “More than 99.9% of those who were investigated escaped with nothing more than a warning.”
But that’s misleading. It’s far, far worse than that.
112,090 denials. 12 prosecutions. Only 0.0107% — a hair over one-one hundredth of one percent — of denials are prosecuted.
112,090 denials. Only 11% are even referred for investigation. Meaning it was clear that 89% of the denials were false positives. 89% of denials were clearly violations of constitutionally protected human/civil rights.
Of the 12,710 that warranted looking into, only 12 were clear enough cases of prohibited persons trying to obtain firearms to bother going to court. That suggests that the percentage of rights violations was actually 99.99%, but not necessarily.
ATF field divisions […] generally only refer cases to USAOs for prosecution when aggravating circumstances exist, such as violent felonies or multiple serious offenses over a short period of time.
It turns out that they referred 50 cases for prosecution. Fifty cases of people allegedly with a history of “violent felonies or multiple serious offenses over a short period of time” referred.
12 the prosecutors actually think can be prosecuted.
But there’s a big gap between 12,710 investigations and 50 prosecution referrals. And the report does not give a number for “proper denial, but we didn’t think it worth wasting our time,” or “Nope; X number shouldn’t have been denied.”
By the government’s own numbers, a bare minimum of 89% percent of false positive denials are proof that NICS background checks don’t work. The number could range as high as 99.99%.
Background checks don’t work. The results are meaningless. And the GAO essentially found that other folks agree with that assessment.
Officials from 10 of our 13 selected POC states said that they do not
investigate or prosecute NICS denials.
Here’s another number: 77% of states know NICS results are worthless and will not even try to investigate referred (the one’s which might actually be problems, much less the rest) denials.
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