Although a Background Check Would Not Have Stopped Adam Lanza, the NRA Is Wrong to Say So

Gotham BooksGotham BooksIn a recent Daily Beast essay, former heroin addict Matthew Parker argues that "the NRA is wrong" to dismiss background checks as a solution to mass shootings. "The NRA says gun control won't work because illegal guns are so easy to get," Parker says. "But as a convicted felon, I know Adam Lanza never could have gotten an illegal firearm." Although people who are legally barred from buying guns can obtain them through the black market, he says, getting weapons that way is difficult for someone who is not already "immersed in lawlessness," since he would have to deal with sketchy, possibly violent characters in rough neighborhoods and pay several times the price charged in gun stores. Parker notes that the typical mass shooter has no prior criminal record, meaning he would have trouble make the connections necessary to complete such a transaction.

By the same token, of course, this nonfelon could simply buy a gun from a licensed dealer after passing a background check. Parker remembers this point in the fourth paragraph, where he concedes there's "a legitimate argument that background checks would not have prevented the Newtown massacre," because Lanza does not seem to have had a disqualifying criminal or psychiatric record (which would not have mattered anyway, since he used guns legally purchased by his mother). Parker's solution: Force gun buyers to take the same two-hour "psych test" that the Arizona prison system (where Parker once resided) uses to identify "mentally disturbed" inmates who may be "prone to violence." Just as "incoming inmates who failed this test were automatically removed from general population and redirected for further psychological evaluation," he says, would-be gun buyers who fail the test should be stripped of their Second Amendment rights.

To recap: Although it's true that background checks would not have prevented the Newtown massacre, the NRA is wrong to say so, because if the federal government treated all citizens the way Arizona treats prison inmates it might force some budding mass murderers into a black market they are ill-equipped to navigate. Parker does not consider the possibility that the test he favors might also disqualify people who have no inclination to commit mass murder or any other form of violence. Even under the current rules, many such people are unjustly disqualified from owning firearms, as Parker implicitly concedes. "Despite the nonviolent nature of my crimes," he notes, "I cannot legally purchase a firearm."

[Thanks to Adam Simpson for the tip.]

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  • LilDebbie||

    Because Prohibition led to watery beer no one could obtain.

    The Drug War led to shitty ditch weed that costs $100 a gram.

    Hell, I almost want them to ban guns; figure you can get a LAW rocket launcher for less than $50 in that market environment.

  • anon||

    I know I'm in the market to buy as many as they're selling at that price.

    I mean, come on, who the fuck DOESN'T want a rocket launcher?

  • Killazontherun||

    No death is satisfying where you can't smell the breath of your victims as you go in for the killing thrust.

  • Agammamon||

    Killing by rocket launcher goes a long way to make up for that - big boom.

    Even better if you can see the expression on your target's face when you bring it out.

  • Generic Stranger||

    If you're that close, it's generally a bad idea to use a rocket launcher...

  • General Butt Naked||

    Sounds like there's definitely a market for a "See the whites of their eyes - mini-rocket launcer".

    I'd like to get working on this thing ASAP, who's in?

  • KWebb||

    Too late: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrojet

    Although, having it shaped like a more traditional rocket launcher might be an improvement.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I've seen that before.

    What I'm thinking about is an RPG with emphasis on the G, but mini. For taking out muggers and shit.

  • Coeus||

    This might make a comeback. Solves all the problems of the 3d printed gun. Bet that ammo is hard to make, though.

  • Generic Stranger||

    That's what canister shot is for. Think a 40mm shell loaded with buckshot.

  • Generic Stranger||

    AKA the M576.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Just watched a video that had some 40mm rounds on it. One was called the hornet's nest and shot 10 .22 rounds out of small rifled barrels. I want some.

  • jamesrk||

    1150 10MM tungsten balls.

  • anon||

    Man, I don't even want to kill anything. I just wanna blow shit up in my back yard.

  • juris imprudent||

    who the fuck DOESN'T want a rocket launcher?

    Bruce Cockburn?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    His line is "If I had a rocket launcher" lamenting his lack of one.

    So, it is unanimous, everybody wants a rocket launcher.

  • nailzer||

    Advice from a felon? How could you go wrong.

  • John Galt||

    The man walks around with a dirty needle stuck in his arm. Only a fool wouldn't jump at the chance to take his advice.

  • sticks||

    Considering what is a felony I would not be hesitant based on that info alone.

  • ||

    I only found one article on reason on this murder, with no comments. I'm glad I was out of town when this happened.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    "The fact that Mr. Patterson is employed as a law enforcement officer does not affect the process of investigation applied to this case."

  • A Serious Man||

    But it would have made us feel safer.

  • anon||

    but CHILDRUNZ!!!111one

  • anon||

    "But as a convicted felon, I know Adam Lanza never could have gotten an illegal firearm."

    Ahahahaha, offering anecdotes as fact. Fucking progressives.

  • Irish||

    It's not even an anecdote like 'As someone who has studied data and has a career in law enforcement...' The anecdote is 'As someone who makes terrible decisions and spent a large amount of time as a drug addict...'

    He sounds legit to me.

  • anon||

    The true irony being he's supposedly an ex-heroin addict; an illegal substance that by his logic is impossible to obtain.

  • juris imprudent||

    I think his point seems to be you have to be a criminal to do criminal shit and Lanza was crazy not a criminal.

    No, it doesn't make any sense to me either.

  • Generic Stranger||

    It's not even really an anecdote, it's more arguing from (irrelevant/idiotic) authority.

  • Agammamon||

    The best part is - he's a felon for drug use. Not necessarily known for hanging out with real criminals (vice those who do a little mugging/B&E to support their habit).

    Aaaaand I bet he could have bought a gun from his dealer.

  • Irish||

    Timeout. How would a psychological test have prevented Adam Lanza from getting that gun when it was his mother's? Or should we force every member of a potential gun buyer's family to take this test?

  • anon||

    Dude, quit giving them ideas.

  • Rich||

    Force every state and federal representative of a potential gun buyer to take this test.

  • juris imprudent||

    Only if it disqualifies them from holding office while allowing me to own the gun.

  • John Galt||

    Who shall psychologically test those giving the psychological tests?

  • juris imprudent||

    The High Priests of course.

  • Sevo||

    "Or should we force every member of a potential gun buyer's family to take this test?"
    Why stop there?
    Did a friend know the gun was there? Did the 'postal delivery person' deliver mail-order ammo?

  • Agammamon||

    Forced to take the test daily (just in case things change) and you have to bring the guns with you and only get them back if you pass.

    No, no - you'll need to keep the firearms under lock and key at your municipal armory and can only check them out if you take the test and pass.

  • WomSom||

    lol, the NRA is a joke.

    www.Net-Privacy.us

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Step up your game, anon-bot.

    The NRA is anything but a "joke." It's a frighteningly powerful lobby that prevents sensible, reasonable, common-sense gun control measures (favored by over 90% of Americans) from becoming law!

  • A Serious Man||

    The NRA: Run by inbred, redneck, idiots, still powerful enough to outsmart the best of the liberal elite on gun control.

  • Sevo||

    "The NRA: Run by inbred, redneck, idiots, still powerful enough to outsmart the best of the liberal elite on gun control."

    Sorta like the rethugs; too dumb to do much of anything, but entirely capable of thwarting Obozo's every move.

  • anon||

    "Who's more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows him?"

  • Agammamon||

    I think this is why Dems really hate rednecks - those dumb idiots keep ruining the Dems best laid social schemes.

  • Coeus||

    There's a surprising number of Brer Rabbits among us.

    "Oh no, please don't put it up to a vote! Laws! Then everyone will know how great you all are when it's time to campaign for reelection!"

    And if you think that's great, wait til you see what we can do with a roll of duct tape.

  • LarryA||

    favored by over 90% of Americans

    So when 86,000 NRA members showed up in Houston, "90% of Americans" = 12 protestors.

  • ||

    Oh look, another pathetic weak fucker who projects his own pathetic failures on others and wants the government to control everyone as he wish it had controlled him. Fuck you, pathetic pussy. Too bad you didn't overdose.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I'll give you one imaginary E-$ if you post that to the article. That just might make that puke cry a bit (or relapse).

  • Agammamon||

    That's e-$

  • Agammamon||

    But not i$ - Apple has a patent on that.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Maybe for your fiat bullshit. My imaginary currency is backed by cold, hard frozen cod.

  • Agammamon||

    There's nothing fiat about my e$ - its backed by cold hard leptons - can't get anymore indivisible than that.

  • Dweebston||

    Isn't divisibility a trait of successful hard monies?

  • Agammamon||

    Up to a point - you can only divide gold up to the atom level.

  • ChrisN||

    It's lookin' rough when you have to scrounge up some former heroin addicts to stay on message.

  • A Serious Man||

    If there are no PM links on Memorial Day, then just what did those men and women die for?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    make your own blog

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Danica Patrick wreck appeared to be caused by her boyfriend at Coca-Cola 600

  • A Serious Man||

    I don't think he's getting any this week.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    But.... Makeup sex!

  • ||

    I'd wreck Danica any day.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    How much Arrested Development did you get through?
    I got through 8 yesterday

  • A Serious Man||

    I finished episode 9. There is a lot of solid material there and it's still very funny, but I'm not liking the one-character focus format that much, it's hard to keep track of the chronology. What year is the present day supposed to be?

    There's been way too much Liza Minelli and Ron Howard and almost no Buster and Maeby. That being said, I do like how they manage to keep everyone bumping into each other.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I think it may require multiple viewings, to see all the foreshadowing.
    Maybe that's why it was hinted you didn't have to watch them in order.

  • ||

    When you're done watch the first episode again. There's some amazing stuff just in that one. The best by far is the subtle wood block music in the background when Michael and George Michael start talking about privacy.

  • A Serious Man||

    I guess, it just seems like an awful lot of work to put the audience through in order to watch a comedy.

    I do get a kick out of the fact that George Michael goes to the same college as I do. Pity they couldn't film at the actual UC Irvine but it is funny to see him always wearing Anteater gear.

  • ||

    I guess, it just seems like an awful lot of work to put the audience through in order to watch a comedy.

    The show has always offered extra rewards to those who have a good memory and attention to detail or rewatch it. Season 1 early episodes have references to Buster's future hand loss, and that didn't happen until the middle of Season 2.

  • ||

    I watched all 15 in a row yesterday. The solo Maeby, Buster, and George Michael episodes come at the end, and they are all amazing. The Maeby and GM ones tie everything together and do some amaaaazing reveals.

  • sam the man||

    Watched every single one yesterday and I can't wait for the movie

  • Agammamon||

    Iiiii got through one - I'm spacing them out.

    I'm hoping it picks up steam.

  • ||

    Three is much better than 1-2, four is good, five is GREAT.

    I don't think spacing them out is a great idea. There's a lot of repetition of the same scenes, and the only way to justify it is to have a good memory of the previous iterations of the scene so you can notice everything that changed or was added.

  • Rhywun||

    Will it come out on DVD?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • Sevo||

    Not a bad idea, except when the biker tries passing me on the right when I'm making a right turn, I still can't see 'em.
    Sometimes I wonder if there's a brain-vacuum device that's used when you buy a bike.

  • Agammamon||

    Well, it doesn't help that you like to turn on your left-turn signal before sharply turning right!

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    A MELBOURNE business once awarded a best employer accolade is in strife after deducting wages from staff members for toilet breaks.

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/#ixzz2UWh9tTGf

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I didn't pants this one guys, I swear.

    That article posted it's own link incorrectly!

  • Acosmist||

    Been there. Is it normal to pay people to take a dump?

  • Agammamon||

    No, but if your workforce is so ill-disciplined that dumps are cutting into productivity then you have HUUUGE structural problems with your organization.

    Or you have a really shitty manager that needs to go.

  • Robert||

    Ill-disciplined? Or just plain ill?

  • ||

    shitty manager that needs to go

    Nice touch.

  • Agammamon||

    I wish I could say that it was deliberate.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    A MAN suffering a rare brain disorder was so convinced he was a zombie that he would hang out in graveyards to be close to death.

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/lifesty.....z2UWi6m2BM

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Or you could just click your heels together three times, and say, "There's no place like home."

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen said McLaren's Sergio Perez should be "punched in the face" to teach him a lesson after an incident-strewn race in Monaco.

  • np||

    Parker's solution: Force gun buyers to take the same two-hour "psych test" that the Arizona prison system (where Parker once resided) uses to identify "mentally disturbed" inmates who may be "prone to violence."

    Who was it that suggested the use of the Disposition Matrix?
    Combine that with a Prognostication Engine and we'll be all set.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Kimi must have had a cut tire. I can't think of any other reason for him to pit.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    he still managed to get 10th

  • prolefeed||

    getting weapons that way is difficult for someone who is not already "immersed in lawlessness," since he would have to deal with sketchy, possibly violent characters in rough neighborhoods and pay several times the price charged in gun stores.

    I'd say someone intent on murdering a bunch of random strangers, including kids, is likely to be far more violent and rough than anyone they would contemplate buying guns from.

    And if you're about to murder a bunch of people in cold blood, with the likely outcome of you being dead or in jail the rest of your life, the prospect of somewhat overpaying for weapons is probably not much of a deterrent.

  • Tejicano||

    Yeah, Lanza was only a harmless kid not capable of any sort of violence - unless you count murdering you own mother and a dozen or so school children.

    Even if his mother's weapons were not available I doubt it would have been too difficult to pick up a pump shotgun at a flea market somewhere.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Even if his mother's weapons were not available I doubt it would have been too difficult to pick up a pump shotgun at a flea market somewhere.

    If UBC was the law, then you wouldn't find shotguns laying around at flea markets.

    Unless it was the black flea market.

  • Agammamon||

    racist!

  • Tejicano||

    Actually, the law was written in such a silly way that it covered gun shows and internet/published sales but did not cover events called "flea markets" or "swap meets".

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The Indianapolis 500 was a boring spec car parade. The "competition committee" has successfully managed to establish "parity" by completely eliminating the teams' ability to innovate or do development. What a triumph.

    Maybe some day professional open wheel racing will return to America.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Coca-Cola 600 blew it away, even with the FOX sky-cam cord falling on the track and screwing up a bunch of cars.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Parker probably believes the six people killed (thus far) in Chicago this weekend would be alive now if the background check law had been expanded.

  • Anders||

    There are all sorts of idiots trotting this stuff out. Especially useful idiots who start with,

    "I am very pro-gun but.....150% of people believe in background checks."
    or
    "Of course they wouldn't do anything to stop mass shootings but the NRA has to play along"

  • glendaperry7||

    my best friend's sister-in-law makes $67 an hour on the internet. She has been without a job for seven months but last month her payment was $21287 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more... http://www.Taz1.com

  • np||

    Pike's Peak racing anyone?

    http://www.autoblog.com/2013/0.....eak-video/

    and: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTxlYX-lJoc

    The annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the few events in motorsport with an Unlimited Class that is truly... well, unlimited. To put the word 'unlimited' in perspective, consider the Red Bull-sponsored Peugeot 208 T16: its 3.2-liter bi-turbo V6 engine puts out 875 maximum horsepower, sending power to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. That's powerful enough to catapult the T16 from 0-62 miles per hour in a scant 1.8 seconds. Keep it planted and it'll hit 125 in 4.8 seconds and 150 in 7.0 flat.
  • np||

    with natural tendency to drift everywhere with most cars, it's hard to avoid crashing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7skEM4N_NM

    but you really want to avoid this (Jeremy Foley's crash)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCCNNpmt8ds

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    "But as a convicted felon, I know Adam Lanza never could have gotten an illegal firearm."

    That is exactly what Adam Lanza had!

    Lanza murdered his mother.

    Lanza stole her guns.

    Lanza used illegal firearms to murder people.

    QED

  • Killazontherun||

    What Mathew Parker knows is Jack and Shit and neither one are showing up for choir practice.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    He certainly is not doing the deregulate heroin movement any favors.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If he's like most ex-addicts he's probably all for prohibition with some caveats for "treatment", even though the legal status of heroin did fuck-all to keep him from doing it.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Yes, another of those "pay for my habits, and pay for my cures too" folks. Same stripe that tries to argue that it is "impossible" to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    But as a convicted felon, I know Adam Lanza never could have gotten an illegal firearm.

    However, he could have gotten a legal AR-15, and passed the background check, with no problems as far as we know. He couldn't have gotten the handguns because he was too young, but he didn't kill anyone with those. This guy is basically arguing that people who can navigate the black market probably can't pass a background check; not sure what he thinks that proves.

  • Agammamon||

    The irony is that if you can navigate the black market you *don't* need the background check and if you can pass the background you don't need to use the black market.

  • jdgalt||

    There is no way to enforce background checks on all purchasers without nationwide gun registration, and history shows that leads to confiscation.

    It's anti-liberty to want to do that to the gun owning public, even if it saves a small number of lives.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Sort of like there's no way to enforce age checks for alcohol purchases without nationwide registration of beer cans?

    We enforce the laws against selling to felons just fine today. When a gun gets used in a crime they run a forward trace, go to the FFL who last transfered, question the person he transferred it to, and follow the chain of ownership. No need for registration.

  • General Butt Naked||

    It's funny how you gun-grabbers have latched on to background checks so hard. Y'all thought you were gonna get your wishlist of laws on the backs of a bunch of dead kids, and when that fell through you picked background checks because it was the only thing remotely likely to pass.

    If you really want those background checks so bad, then you've better start donating money and time to the democratic party for the '14 campaign, because gun owners and NRA members are ready now.

  • Gray Ghost||

    And how many beer cans have serial numbers on them? Not to mention I didn't have to go through a background check to buy my last 6-pack of Karbach (their Kolsch is pretty good, BTW.) Try another metaphor, Tulpa.

    Registration may not lead to confiscation now, but it will. See CA. They just can't help themselves. Once the database is created, it will be used.

    Background checks wouldn't have stopped any of the latest massacres. Loughner would have just grabbed a gun from his Sheriff's Dept. employee mother, who no doubt covered for him else he would have ended up committed before he snapped.

    OTOH, letting teachers carry concealed might have stopped that piece of shit. Then again, maybe not. CHLs didn't seem to stop the latest asshole in W. Texas. (R.C., that's your stomping grounds, right? You alright?)

    It's sad; I was reading the news article of the Marine who snapped, and what I heard in my head was GySGT Hartmann's disapproval of Mr. Smith's poor marksmanship. Sigh.

  • Gray Ghost||

    The POS I was referring to was Lanza, BTW. Not that CHLs stopped Loughner either; thank Jason Statham and making shitty 33rd Glock magazines cool for that favor.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Because beer is a durable good and totally comparable to firearms.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Forget it, Bois, it's Tulpatown.

  • LarryA||

    Note that Parker also failed to mention that Connecticut, with the fifth most restrictive gun control in the U.S., already had gun registration, "assault weapon" ban, safe storage, etc. "Common sense" gun control which utterly failed to protect the chidren in the "gun free zone" at Sandy hook.

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