Tag Archives: background checks

False Negatives

Folks tend to focus on the false positive rate in NICS denials: some 96% of denials turn out to be in error; millions of innocent persons’ rights were violated. Yeah, that’s pretty bad.

But it gets worse.

False negatives.

When Background Checks Fail
A convicted felon, who was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” when he stabbed his sister in 2009 and then a manager at a Walmart in 2014, filled out a Form 4473 at a gun shop, lying multiple times while doing so.

Then, somehow, his background check was approved by the FBI in mere minutes, and he purchased two brand new handguns.
[…]
“Indiana State Police Capt. Dave Bursten told local media Abraman’s record appears in the system — under both of his assumed names. He said its the FBI’s job to figure out why the background check still cleared.”

Yes, we know about the DC Navy yard shooter, the Sutherland Springs shooter, and others who shouldn’t have passed background checks, but did because they hadn’t been entered into the system. This is different.

This convicted felon, and one adjudicated mentally incompetent, was in NICS. After the fact, the police verified that he was listed there as a prohibited person. Under both names he uses. Yet somehow this guy, who bloody well knew he shouldn’t pass a NICS check, felt confident enough to go in, fill out a 4473 with his own name, and successfully pass a check and buy guns.

In recent months, I’ve seen some other stories about felons successfully buying guns from dealers. It’s only within the past week that I really noted the apparent trend.

Why are felons suddenly confident of their ability to purchase firearms through dealers, correctly assuming they’ll get a pass from NICS? How often is this happening?

We know about the false positives because honest folks challenge denials; they have a vested interest in the truth coming out.

Criminals, on the other hand, are hardly going to challenge their “proceed,” and admit to yet another felony. So we don’t know how many other have obtain a false negative…

Or how they arranged for that. What might be the going rate…?

I think NICS should be investigated. Just tell the FBI it’s a Russian plot.

Just another reason not to impose “universal-except-for-criminals background checks.”


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Incentive

Governments have a habit of throwing money at problems…

…unless it might go to honest folks. Like honest, noncriminal gun owners.

So they’ll pay criminals to “behave,” but punish gun owners for not “behaving.” I’ve got a better idea.

Just those three Danegeld cities would account for some $6 million a year in extortion payments. That would buy more than 105,000 of these little gun safes, and handguns are the preferred firearm of choice — small, concealable, easily disposed of — for criminals.

Instead of criminalizing theft victims, and paying off the predators, how about incentivizing guns owners to secure unattended weapons?

Michael Bloomberg spent $20 million just on Nevada’s 2016 background check initiative, only to see it fail when it turned out his toadies wrote an unenforceable proposition. He could have spent the same money on 350,000 gun safes — for more than 10% of the state’s population –, and actually accomplished something.

For that matter, $20 million would provide excellent bounty payments for would-be victims who take out the criminal who attempted to prey upon them. A two-fer: incentivizing defense and elimination of criminal predators.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills.

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Factually Challenged Keyboard Commandos

Bob Ault wants to ban…

Something.

Now is the time to discuss gun control: Letter to the Editor
We need sensible gun legislation now. We need to ban military style assault rifles, bump stocks and high capacity magazines now, and then move on to pass legislation for universal background checks for all gun sales, which is supported by 90 percent of Americas.

But he’s confused as to what. Is it insanely expensive, highly regulated, taxed, and registered assault rifles of very limited quantities? Or is is nonexistent “military style assault weapons“? If the latter, can he inform of us of what country in the world generally issues semiautomatic rifles to its regular troops?

He tells us that that 90% of Americas [sic] want unconstitutional prior restraint of a constitutionally protected right through universal preemptively-prove-your-innocence — PPYI (“background checks,” is his term). Can he tell us in what state such PPYI was actually approved by 90% of the population when put to a vote? I can’t help but recall polls predicting Jeb Bush would win the Republican primary, Clinton would defeat Trump, Moore ahead of Jones, or… heck, everyone knows Dewey beat Truman.

Can he tell us how PPYI would have stopped the Mandalay Bay murderer, who passed such checks; the Sutherland Springs killer, who passed such checks because the Air Force never reported his involuntary committal or domestic violence conviction; or the Sandy Hook murderer who bypassed checks by murdering his mother and stealing her guns? Can he explain how prohibited persons can be required to self-report their unlawful attempt to obtain firearms, which would be in violation of the Supreme Court’s Haynes decision?

Since Bob Ault believes there is no need for civilians to have weapons such as that possessed by the Sutherland Springs killer, does he believe the man who stopped the killer with his own AR-pattern rifle should instead have let him go to keep killing?

Can Mr. Ault explain, should a ban on semiautomatic rifles be enacted, how he expects to identify gun owners when mere estimates of their numbers range from 55 to 120 million; or to find the rifles when estimates of firearms in civilian hands range from 265 to 750 million?

If Ault’s solution involves kicking in the doors of 125 million households to search them all — in case they’re heavily armed — will he personally volunteer his jackbooted services?

[An abbreviated form of this column was sent to Cleveland.com as a Letter to the Editor in response to Bob Ault’s letter. It was not printed.]


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About those “fugitives”

Anti-gun types are all upset now that they noticed the FBI was eliminating some folks with active warrants from the NICS database, making them eligible to purchase firearms.

Tens of thousands with outstanding warrants purged from background check database for gun purchases
Tens of thousands of people wanted by law enforcement officials have been removed this year from the FBI criminal background check database that prohibits fugitives from justice from buying guns.

The names were taken out after the FBI in February changed its legal interpretation of “fugitive from justice” to say it pertains only to wanted people who have crossed state lines.

Well… No. It isn’t so much as they changed the interpretation as that they noticed they weren’t in compliance with federal law. Again. (Kind of the inverse of the military not bothering to report felons.)

Allow me to explain, setting aside for the moment the unconstitutional prior restrain of preemptively-prove-your-innocence checks.

It appears from a search on US Code that to be a “fugitive” under 18 U.S. Code § 922, once has to have actively fled when a warrant is issued. The fact that a warrant was issued doesn’t make one a fugitive; or even necessarily aware of the warrant.

No flight, no fugitive.

I find it interesting, but not surprising, that gun controllers think people should be denied rights based on a mere warrant… when it’s Second Amendment rights. But not so much when it comes to other rights.

A federal court found it unconstitutional for for Michigan to deny welfare benefits to people with felony warrants unless they are actually fugitives.

So… same thing for 2nd Amendment rights. For once the DOJ did something half right (the other half being the whole prior restraint bit).

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GOP Baseball Shooting: “More Laws!”

If one were to take early reporting seriously (which I haven’t done for decades), some angry white guy — probably a right-wing white supremacist — shot a bunch of congressmen with a full-auto M4 assault rifle. The asshole took advantage of Virginia’s “lax” gun laws to get and carry his assault rifle.

Umm… Not so much. One, maybe two congressmen. One, maybe two cops. One, maybe two staffers. Maybe a lobbyist. Reports on that still vary.

CNN would have us believe the — oops, rabid left-wing Bernie supporter — used a Chinese knock-off of the AK-47.

Oops redux. Again, not so much. Now it was an SKS.


Note the subtle differences between this and the AK-47 and M4.

So he had an IL FOID (background check), possibly a CCW (background check), and bought his 3 guns from an Illinois FFL (background check & waiting period, background check & waiting period, background check & waiting period). He used a knock-off of a WW2-era semi-auto rifle (apparently with a 10-round fixed magazine, since it was Illinois legal. Heck, it might even still be California legal. Not an “assault weapon,” much less an assault rifle.

I can hardly bear waiting for the calls for laws that wouldn’t have stopped this. Oh. Wait.

I didn’t have to wait.

But I apparently will have to wait on national reciprocal carry while Congress addresses DC reciprocal carry only for our betters masters congresscreeps

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Trump’s Appointee Choices

In the days leading up to the recent Presidential popularity contest, I tried to make my posts nonpartisan, attempting not to single out any one party’s candidate(s). But now that Donald Trump is the President Apparent (not “Elect” just yet, despite most news services referring to him as such), his plans and policies are fair game: what he does will affect Americans.

The Zelman Partisans have noted (repeatedly) that his historical take on RKBA (as opposed to his recent words) is…

Let us say, “Troubling.”

Current reports have it that former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani is on The Donald’s short list for Secretary of State, and possibly Attorney General.

Freedom lovers in general, and RKBA supporters specifically, should be extremely concerned. As even Bloomberg’s anti-gun The Trace has it…

Rudy Giuliani Has the Kind of Gun Control Record That Gets Presidential Appointees Savaged By the NRA
Would the NRA and Senate GOP apply to Giuliani the same unrelenting pro-gun litmus test they’ve applied to President Barack Obama’s nominees for the better part of a decade? Or would they retreat from their principled, uncompromising gun-rights stance in deference to a new Republican administration’s nominee?

A shame it took the antis to point this out. Yes, Giuliani backed waiting periods, background checks, “assault weapons” bans, licensing, registration, and seizures, all on both the state and national levels.

Giuliani also constructed NYC’s “stop & frisk” program. The one that was found to be unconstitutional. These days, “unconstitutional” is a pretty high bar, with virtually anything allowed. “Stop & frisk” was tossed not merely because it violated the highest law of the land, but because it didn’t work: the vast majority of stops resulted in no prosecution whatsoever; weapons (the main justification for the program) were found in only a tiny fraction of one percent of stops. Minorities were overwhelmingly selected for searches. “Stop & frisk” couldn’t even meet the incredibly lenient “unconstitutional but necessary for public safety” test applied by moronic courts.

Consider: Weapons bans and restrictions, quasi-legal searches, racial/ethnic targeting, confiscations, preferential licensing

Where have we heard that before?

President Apparent Donald Trump’s choices of high level appointees almost seem designed to validate the worst pre-election fears of those who noted the man’s past disregard for human/civil rights.

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No

What happened to Robert Levy? Back in 2007, the chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute was the organizer and financier behind District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court Case that established the Second Amendment as affirming an individual right to gun ownership.

Today Robert Levy is waxing ridiculous about Second Amendment compromises gun owners and gun rights advocates should consider.

The short answer to that CATO Institute report inviting Americans to consider grounds for compromise on gun control is a simple, short “No.”

Universal Background CheckAs if we haven’t been compromising and getting our rights shredded for decades!

Second Amendment rights are not absolute, Levy says.

Yeah? What does “shall not be infringed mean?”

“Everyone understands that children can’t carry automatic weapons to school,” he claims.

Yeah? “Can’t” and “shouldn’t” are different things. And if a child carries an automatic weapon to school, but harms no one with it, threatens no one with it, and merely bears this particular arm, as specified in the Bill of Rights, whose right is being violated, other than the child’s? This reductio ad absurdum is stupid and unworthy of a libertarian scholar.

“Assault rifles” are common and regularly used for hunting and shooting sports. Attempts to buy them back would backfire, like they did in the past, he admits. But yet, Levy identifies these rifles as a major area for possible compromise.

us-murder-rates-1980-to-2010Now about NO! We tried that whole ban thing once. You know what happened during it? Columbine! Law abiding citizens dutifully stopped purchasing these weapons. Murderers intent on causing harm got them anyway.

Homicides with firearms were already on the decline prior to the implementation of the 1994 ban, and they continued to decline during and after the ban.

No! There’s no compromise that is acceptable to relieve people of their rights – especially for absolutely no benefit.

Some weapons can be banned, Levy says. After all, machine guns have been banned for all intents and purposes since 1934, right? No, you clueless traitor to the Constitution, who has never owned a gun. People still own them. They just have to jump through a myriad of expensive, bureaucratic hoops to legally do so. And they’re barely ever used in crimes. Again, what part of “shall not be infringed” is not clear?

And yes, the courts did say some regulation is legal. But if, according to Levy, “the government bears a heavy burden to justify its regulation. Government must show (a) public safety requires the proposed restrictions, (b) they will work, and (c) they are no more extensive than necessary,” show me where the hell these three requirements are being met!

Maybe we should compromise on high-capacity magazines, Levy says.

How about NO!

According to Gun Facts, The number of shots fired by criminals has not changed significantly even with the increased capacity of handguns and other firearms. The average magazine swap time for a non-expert shooter is 2-3 seconds. In the case of the Newtown Sandy Hook massacre, the murderer performed 10 magazine changes before the police arrived. A 10 round restriction would have saved nobody.

So why compromise away the right, if it will help no one, save no lives? Once again, none of the requirements to meet the government’s burden to justify its regulation – the test that Levy puts forth as grounds for regulation.

And then there are the universal background checks, which Levy admits felons easily avoid by either purchasing firearms illegally or stealing them, but still thinks gun owners should compromise on.

…even staunch Second Amendment proponents might be receptive to background checks for private (non-dealer) sales at gun shows, over the Internet, and through published ads. The key is quid pro quo — concessions to gun rights advocates in return for closing the “gun show loophole.” That was essentially the deal offered by the 2013 Manchin-Toomey bill, which garnered 54 Senate votes, but not enough to meet the 60-vote threshold.

How about HELL NO?

There is no “gun show loophole,” since less than 1 percent of guns used in crimes are sold there.

There is no such thing as a “legal” Internet purchase without going through a federal firearms license holder, who is obligated to run a background check before handing you that gun you just purchased on the webz.

What they’re really talking about is outlawing private purchases. Period. (Which, by the way, will disproportionately affect the poor, who will have to pay more than they normally would to legally purchase a tool of self defense from another individual, because they would have to absorb the cost of an FFL performing a background check.)

Oh, I’m sorry. Rich lawyers don’t care about the poor.

Since when does CATO have so little respect for private property that it advocates abolishing it for a specific set of purchases – constitutionally protected ones?

I suspect my buddy Miguel is correct when he says that the libertarian intelligentsia is so desperate for relevance, they’re willing to take a large, steaming dump on the rights they once held dear. I guess they’re tired of being known as “extremists,” and they would rather compromise on their basic principles than be waved away as some radical zealots who are unwilling to negotiate away their fundamental rights.

Rights? Meh. They’re anachronistic, antediluvian tripe.

Looks like CATO would rather be taken “seriously” by those who despise individual rights and freedoms and would sacrifice them at the altar of “common good” in hopes that the alligator will eat them last than stand up to protect what is right.

What a damn shame.

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Apparently I live in the wrong town

Obama at Dallas Police Memorial: Easier ‘to Buy A Glock’ Than a Book
“We flood communities with so many guns it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock that [to] get his hands on a computer or even a book.”

Man, I wish. Where I live, there are a couple of libraries where I can check out free books at will. And get free Internet access.

But guns? The last two I bought, I had to fill out a 4473, show a DL and GWL, and undergo a background check. Not to mention paying for them.

Either there’s some wonderful place where ARs grow on trees, or our President is woefully ignorant of reality. I’m hoping for trees, but not holding my breath.

gun-tree

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Their understanding of “compromise”

…is nearly as comprehensive as that of “due process.”

Susan Collins Unveils a Gun-Control Compromise
After the Senate voted down four gun-control bills inspired by the Orlando massacre, the Maine Republican Susan Collins unveiled compromise legislation Tuesday that addresses a bipartisan concern: individuals suspected of terrorist ties being able to purchase guns.
[…]
The New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte emphasized that the legislation protects Americans’ due-process rights, a major concern among Republicans who voted against a Democratic bill restricting sales on Monday.

Collins is the NRA B+ rated fool whose closest approach to being pro-RKBA is that there are only some infringements she’s OK with. Ayotte, you may recall, is one of the turncoats who voted for cloture on the Manchin-Toomey-Gottlieb abomination, allowing it to go to a vote; but then she threw a hissy fit because they wouldn’t let her amend it further to expand mental health prohibitions.

The compromise (PDF) is that both statist parties get the unethical, unworkable, rights-violating additions to the prohibited persons list, and the Republicans can pretend it includes “due process.” The only folks giving anything up are the people they screw over.

“Due process” is not being allowed to beg for reconsideration after you’ve lost a human/civil right by bureaucratic decree by being placed on a secret list that has never resulted in the capture of a terrorist. For pretty much any reason, or none.

To learn what due process actually is, one would have to refer to the Bill of Rights, with which these oathbreakers regard as a to-do list of things to be trashed.

“…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;”

They have to go through the “process” first,to establish the alleged necessity. An ex post facto “hearing” in which you may not be allowed to challenge or even see supposed evidence against you does not count.

This all sounds terribly familiar.

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No-Buy Terrorist Watch Lists: Bugs vs. Features

It appears that all the politicians are jumping on the idea of a no-buy list based on terrorist watch lists. It’s not merely a “bipartisan” enthusiasm for violating your rights, it’s downright nonpartisan.

Obama certainly loves him some no-buy, thinking anyone who disagrees with him must be crazy. Which could conveniently get them added to the standard prohibited person list for a NICS check.

Clinton, of course, has long been committed to the destruction of Second Amendment-protected rights, and sees this as another in a long line of rationalizations for victim disarmament.

Trump is not only embracing the no-process idea, he’s asking the NRA to join and help him. Perhaps he momentarily forgot he’s no longer a Democrat.

At any rate, I’m sure that staunch defender of RKBA, the NRA, will set Mr. Trump straight…

Um. Oh. Wait a minute.

“We are happy to meet with Donald Trump. The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed. The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.”

But we can count on the Libertarian Party to speak up for human/civil rights, can’t we?

Maybe not. LP Presidential nominee Gary Johnson has gone from “No, it is unconstitutional to deny someone’s rights”  to “Gov. Johnson believes Second Amendment rights are too fundamental to be denied without due process, a position he reiterated on Fox News just minutes ago as I type: terrorist watch lists are flawed, include innocent people, and should be fixed before we use them to revoke rights forever. We should be open to a “discussion” of broadening the definition of a prohibited person. The nicest thing I can say about that shifting position is that it’s awfully wishy-washy for the party that holds that “all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.” A more accurate summation is unprintable on this web site.

If all these principled and brilliant people think a no-buy list for terrorist suspects is a good idea, maybe we should look at it more closely. Could those flaws I see actually be features?

That’s going to be tough to say, because a no-buy list of terror suspects doesn’t yet exist. What’s been introduced in Congress will be debated, amended, and marked up in assorted committees. We’ll have to guess, based on what does exist.

The starting point is that persons in the Terrorism Screening Database would be added to the prohibited persons list under 922(t)(1)(B)(ii).

The TSB (“watch list”) consists of…

…pretty much anything someone wants it to be. Including wives found to be troublesome by disgruntled hubbies, not to mention the occasional senator, peace activist nun, lesbians, and Cats, toddlers, and House Representatives. Heck, Nelson Mandela was on the list.

Note that the bill would flag such threatening people in a NICS check. Sale denied.

Scenario 1: Joe Terrorist wonders if they’re on to him. He strolls into his local Black Rifles R Us and tries to buy heat-seekingbullet-piercing-bullet bullet-hose of a weapon of mass destruction. He gets denied. Since he knows he has a clean criminal and mental health record — but also knows he’s a secret terrorist — he figures out the obvious and goes on the lam. So much for that investigation. I’m sure the FBI will be happy.

Hmm. Maybe they’ll amend that to allow the sale, but will immediately notify the FBI so they can go pick him up in a timely manner.

Scenario 2: Omar Asshole buys a gun, and a few days later, before the feds show up, he goes on his rampage. Whoops. I’m sure that’ll be noted in someone’s annual performance evaluation.

Scenario 3: Billy Bob Hunter gets a downcheck on NICS. While he’s scratching his head puzzlement, the feds come and drag him in for questioning. Probably because his name shared too many common letters with a suspected terrorist. Or was a small government advocate, peace activist, senator…

Remember: this is based on the same source used to assemble the no-fly list that has enabled the TSA to capture exactly zero terrorists in nearly fifteen years.

But don’t worry, Billy Bob. If you’ve incorrectly been denied, you can always appeal to correct the record. Someday. Maybe. In the interim, what’s a violation of basic human/civil rights compared to terrorism? That’s what DC congresscritters call “due process.”

Something else to remember: Roughly 95% of NICS denials are false positives. If you believe that adding a known-corrupted list to that broken system will make it work better, you’ve never had to work with a legacy computer system.

But let us pretend it all works.

Scenario 4: Syed Jihad suspects they’re on to him. Following the lead of the majority of firearm-toting criminals, he has someone else buy his gun for him, or gets it on the street. FBI becomes aware of him when turn they on cable news the next morning.

If we take Feinstein et al at their word that this terrorist addendum to the NICS check is to stop terrorists then the best case scenario is that 1) a known terrorist 2) consciously chooses to purchase his weaponry via an FFL, 3) actually gets flagged, and either 4) is then stupid enough to delay his attack long enough for the feds to get off their butts and investigate (this assumes the sale proceeds to avoid tipping off terror-boy), or 5) gets denied and yet doesn’t opt for another technique like mowing down pedestrians with his car on his way home from the gun store.

Feinstein and King would have you believe that their little attack on basic freedoms would have stopped the Orlando Asshole‘s attack…

…even though he had no criminal record, and was not on the watch list, and acted faster than do the feds typically investigate denials.

A buggy system? Only if stopping real terrorists is the purpose. On the other hand, a watch list that allows individual immigration officers to ban their wives from the country with a simple fake data entry is made to order for listing those pesky “Oath Keepers, Other Liberty Groups” and taking away their tools of liberty. Instant prohibited persons. Objecting to a congresscritter who doesn’t properly represent your pro-freedom views in DC might be enough to get listed. So much for those calls to contact your representatives.

Yes; those are features. If your goal is a totalitarian police state with no meaningful constitutional protections for the subjects. It looks like Feinstein has finally found a way to force Mr. and Mrs. America to turn them all in. By nonjudicial, bureaucratic decree. This time with at least the passive backing of the Republican and Libertarian Presidential candidates, and the National Rifle Association, along with the Democrats.

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