Gun Control

Dylann Roof and Background Checks: Not Loopholes, Just Predictable Lack of Bureaucratic Competence

And why should all the millions caught up in the drug war be deprived of Second Amendment rights?

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The New York Times today unnerved its readers who like to feel protected by a warm blanket of gun laws that some sort of vague "loophole" in the national gun buyer background check program allowed accused Charleston church mass murderer Dylann Roof to buy a gun, even though having misdemeanor prescription drug possession charges should have barred him from legally obtaining it.

The story is so poorly and vaguely written and reported—seems to be mostly stenography of a meeting with FBI chief James Comey—that one can't even understand what it is trying to say. It mentions a "loophole in the check system allowed the man, Dylann Roof, to buy the .45-caliber handgun despite his having previously admitted to drug possession" though it does not specify the nature of the loophole in any way. Then it refers to equally vague past "loopholes" in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System somehow related to "the three-day period the government has to determine whether someone is eligible to buy a gun."

CNN helps clarify the Times's unclear story, and it appears that more, better, or less "loopholey" laws might not matter in a world where human bureaucrats are trying to enforce them:

Comey said the FBI made a clerical error due in part between a breakdown in paperwork between police departments and counties.

A clerical error is not a loophole, and presuming the Times reporter or editor knew that detail that they chose not to specify in the story, they should be ashamed of themselves.

A CNN Explainer on how the background check system is supposed to work.

I'm sure the answer is to somehow use technology to make the net around those prohibited by law from legally obtaining a gun tighter and more inescapable, but it does always help to remember on every level that "passing law against something" by no means equals "that thing never happens," for a variety of reasons.

And if the law only accomplishes good things and not bad things—that is, if there are no costs worth considering in trying to enforce an often feckless law—that might not be such a big deal.

But: I always like to make this point, though it means nothing to those for whom the right to own a gun for safety or pleasure means nothing: background checks to "catch" people prohibited from owning guns by federal law are going to harm an overwhelmingly large number of people who would never harm anyone with the weapon they are being kept from owning.

It takes a very high level of belief that essentially no one should own a gun to believe that everyone who the law has connected to illegal drugs should not be able to access the best means for self-protection.

NEXT: Routinely asking people whether they're carrying weapons, as part of ordinary traffic stops, violates Oregon Constitution

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  1. “A clerical error is not a loophole, and presuming the Times reporter or editor knew that detail that they chose not to specify in the story, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

    And what evidence do you have that anyone connected with the New York Times is capable of feeling shame?

    1. I’m sure they feel shame, but for the wrong things.

      1. Seriously, the bigger problem in the world is not the amoral, but the people w the wrong morality. I’m sure there were people who felt like shits for not gassing enough Jews.

    2. Times Reporter. Shame.

      Oxymoron.

  2. “the right to own a gun for safety or pleasure”

    Automatic erotica?

      1. Sexual assault rifle.

          1. He will be kept occupied lifting things up and then putting them down.

        1. I call her Viera

  3. Everyone knows drug users forfeit their civil rights, including the rights to basic government services like policing. Just like hookers. And that’s why none of them have to pay any taxes.

    Oh, shit. Wait…

    1. Geez nicole, it’s like you didn’t even read the unilateral clause before you signed the your Social Contract.

  4. The article says “How many of you really want to live in a world in which every American who ever had any drug charge against him/her ?”
    Editors: This sentence is a fragment. Please complete it. Thank you. (And if you need an editor, I can make myself available.)

    1. A portion of that sentence was cut and pasted elsewhere, and the rest of it was supposed to be deleted, which it has been since original posting if you refresh.

    2. It seems ironic that you complain about sentence fragments and yet.

      1. It’s like rain on your wedding day

        1. It rained on my wedding day. It was pretty cool actually.

          I like rain.

    3. They were hiring a proofreader some months back. However, given the choice between hiring 1 more quality control person & 1 more content generator, at the current state of their output, I’ll take the content generator.

      The question fragment you quoted is just like the situation with sex offenders being quarantined from children. Most drug offenses (let alone mere accus’ns) have nothing to do w violent use of weapons, just as most rapists, public urinators, etc. have nothing to do w children.

  5. A friend of mine, now in his 50s, was busted for selling LSD in his early 20s. As a result he’s a convicted felon, and prohibited from owning a firearm. He served his time, has kept his nose clean, but he is still prohibited from legally owning a firearm for self defense. That bugs the shit out of me. The 2A says nothing about giving up the right to keep and bear arms after violating arbitrary legislation. I can understand, yet disagree, why some would want to deprive people who have committed violent crimes from being allowed to legally defend their lives, but over selling a product to willing customers? Bull. Shit.

    1. Can’t he petition to have such rights restored? Or am I misunderstanding the process?

      1. I don’t know how that works.

        1. suck the Gov. dick/ contribute to his campaign.

          1. That might work, but there are probably easier ways.

        2. From what little I know, many States have a legal proceedure for it. I know no details, but I expect that poking around on the Web would turn up some guidance, and I’ve had some success (in other matters) going to State offices and essentially saying “I’m in over my head, can you help?”. It’s amazing the kind of Public Service you can get if you are the first person a low level functionary has dealt with in a while who isn’t an angry a$$hole.

          1. Having been a low level (and high level actually) functionary in public agencies, I can completely understand.

            Not that I forgive the inefficiency and bureaucracy inherent in this industry but, you wouldn’t believe the kind of retarded crap we have do deal with from John Q.

            In my private industry days, an incoherent wino walking in off the street and making a scene was escorted out the door by security.

            In the public sector, we are restricted from taking any such action lest we offend them. So we waste hours trying to please them.

            It’s just ridiculous.

            1. Excuse me, there’s a sign at Ramset Park that says ‘Do not drink the sprinkler water’, so I made Sun tea with it, and now I have an infection. Sir? Sir? Are you listening to me, sir? Sir, I’m talking to you! Sir? Sir?

        3. It’s complicated, and expensive. And very much dependent on your jurisdiction.

    2. I can understand, yet disagree, why some would want to deprive people who have committed violent crimes from being allowed to legally defend their lives, but over selling a product to willing customers? Bull. Shit.

      This. What ever happened to making the punishment fit the crime? [insert SLDs about drugs not actually being criminal here]

      “You sold somebody some doubleplusungood powder, which they were planning to ingest in a doubleplusungood way. Therefore, you spend years in a cage and never get to own a gun again!”

      I’m back and forth on whether violent criminals should be punished by taking away their gun rights, but non-violent “criminals” are getting fucked by soccer-mom-backed “tough on crime” lobby.

      1. To me it’s the same idea as the sex-offender registry. If the offender is too dangerous for society, then they should remain locked up. Otherwise, let the punishment end when they reenter society. This punishment for life stuff is bullshit.

        1. Totally agree on this. IANAL: is it possible for the sex-offender register to be a violation of rights?

          1. It is almost certainly a very basic and wide-ranging violation of rights. Don’t expect any elected official to agree, though, especially in any election year.

            1. Don’t need any elected official to agree, just five Nazg?l.

        2. This punishment for life stuff is bullshit.

          “Forcing you to register for the sexual offender registry is not punishment. The purpose of the registry is not to punish anyone. It is to protect children from dangerous sexual predators. Just because you aren’t a dangerous sexual predator is irrelevant because you are an icky person who has done an icky thing and we don’t want you near our children. The fact that you can’t live within fifty miles of anywhere isn’t our fault because it’s a city law that might protect a child. So even though it’s cruel you can’t appeal that it’s a cruel punishment because it isn’t punishment.

          [hurl]

      2. I’m back and forth on whether violent criminals should be punished by taking away their gun rights

        Justice = repayment. An eye for an eye (not an eye for an eye for an eye ad nauseam…).

        Therefore, if the “violent criminal” assaulted someone, they should be assaulted by the victim or victim’s family or victim’s representative. The victim is repaid, not some third party or “society”. Also, the victim and offender may come to an amicable agreement so that the offender doesn’t need to be put in the hospital if the victim doesn’t want that. The victim may even forgive the offense entirely.

        Therefore, you have no authority to deprive the offender of their right to self-defense. The only thing they can do is extract repayment, and only the victim/representative can do so. The third party (you, me, “society”, etc.) has no say in this matter, except to determine guilty and the maximum punishment that may be inflicted.

    3. I dont agree with the way it is practiced regarding this, but the constitution does contain a provision for denying rights:

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

      Fifth amendment.

      Your friend can restore his second amendment rights but it will cost him (in Louisiana) around $7K

      1. He’s in NC. It’s not that important to him so even if he had the money (he doesn’t) I doubt he’d do it. For me it’s just the principle of the matter.

  6. Also:

    “It takes a very high level of belief that essentially no one should own a gun to believe that everyone who the law has connected to illegal drugs should not be able to access the best means for self-protection.”

    Exactly. Entirely too many of the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive establishment manage to live in a mental (if not physical) bubble. They don’t know that they know anybody who would want to own a gun. They either actually live in very controlled communities, or have fooled themselves into thinking that they do. And, having never (so far as they know) had a civil conversation with either a cop or a soldier, they manage to convince themselves (as the Aristocrats did of the peasants) that such people are not REALLY people. Maybe they think the Government grows them in vats somewhere.

    I don’t live in a city, and while I do live at the edges of one, I kinda doubt the mob will make it through much of Bucks County. Too many armed farmers. So when the Underclass finally does boil over, I’m mostly going to be entertained, in a ghastly sort of way. All those smug Manhattan Liberals running squawking before the headless monster they helped create.

    The best part of any monster movie is when the monster eats the mad scientist who created it.

    1. Exactly. Entirely too many of the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive establishment manage to live in a mental (if not physical) bubble. They don’t know that they know anybody who would want to own a gun.

      Don’t forget, many of these are the same people who believe a restraining order-in and of itself-will protect a women against a violent ex.

      1. And why wouldn’t it? It is a magical incantation that has been imprinted onto paper by someone with great power. Of course it will protect a woman from her ex.

        1. Not just great power but wielding the magic of good intentions. Good intentions will always prevail in a battle with someone of bad intent.

        2. That gives me a good idea for a YouTube video. “Will a restraining order stop a bullet?”

          1. You’d like the Red Lanterns.

        3. They must think it works like those Shinto paper charms some Anime characters use.

      2. I love that.

        Asking “Did you file a restraining order” as if it’s a mistake is absurd given the situation a woman may find herself in with regards to a violent man. As if a piece of paper will protect her; she knows it won’t.

        Those things are good for jerk men.

        1. They serve one purpose; a jerk that ignores them but DOESN’T kill the woman has disrespected The System, amd may expect one of more judges to land on him with cleets.

          Sadly, this makes taking out a retraining order and then ambushing their ex into violating it a favored tactic of vindictive former wives.

      3. Don’t forget, many of these are the same people who believe a restraining order-in and of itself-will protect a women against a violent ex.

        Actually, a restraining order will protect a woman from a violent ex.

        After she blows him away with her .45 she can introduce the restraining order at her hearing, along with the evidence she amassed getting it, and say, “See what I was facing? Your honor, he violated your court order. It was self-defense.”

  7. That Roof guy looks like a Muppet character.

  8. No prohibitionist has ever managed to provide me with an adequate explanation as to which section of the Constitution enumerates exceptions to the sacred rights it names and affirms, probably because no such travesty exists. The rights of free men are not subject to suspension, alteration, or review, especially not upon the basis of arbitrarily defined behaviors the state declares hazardous, as if it rightly possesses such power.

    If an individual is not justly imprisoned, he is free, and no authority may justifiably enchain him with restrictions upon his liberties — and, as any moral person knows, the freedom to arm oneself in the interests of self-defense is a fundamental pillar of a just society.

    On a purely practical level, why does anybody believe instituting bureaucratic measures like background checks would have any impact of any sort on the actions of murderers, robbers, rapists, and other violent miscreants? Delusional wishful thinking?

    1. On a purely practical level, why does anybody believe instituting bureaucratic measures like background checks would have any impact of any sort on the actions of murderers, robbers, rapists, and other violent miscreants?

      Many people simply cannot accept that bad people will do bad things, and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do to prevent it. So they will accept any restraint on their own liberty so long as it is sold as something that will prevent that which cannot be prevented.

      1. Well, actually, there IS something that can be done to prevent it. An armed citizen, on the spot, can prevent it and often does. But a whole lot of Prohibitionists know in their hearts that, confronted with real evil, they would be too busy pissing themselves to do anything useful. And, sadly, many more don’t realize that they are braver than they think.

        1. Apologies for necroing, but this brings to mind the current pearl-clutching at the WaPo over a recent incident where a crowd of passengers on a Metro train basically just watched an 18-year-old snowflake beat and then stab a man to death for his cell phone, and then menace the remaining passengers with his pocketknife until the train stopped and he fled. Apparently one person ran up to tell the conductor during the attack, while another pushed the call button until teenage McKnifey threatened him.

          Hands were wrung in desperation because this is the second time that a young black teenager from the ‘hood assaulted a young white professional for an iPhone; last time, the victim survived, albeit with massive brain damage, and the Post’s readership blamed the attack on him because he’s white and the mob of black teenagers were poorish and wanted cell phones of their own. This time, the victim died of multiple stab wounds, and the Post blames racism and synthetic marijuana, not necessarily in that order.

          1. As you might expect, a good many people started questioning just why no one on the train stopped the attack when it started, or went to the guy’s assistance at any time. Uncomfortably for the WaPo editorial board and op-ed writers, more than one person suggested that, had passengers been permitted to carry guns, the victim would be alive today. Petula ( or Petulance, as I prefer ) Dvorak was particularly incensed, flinging ad homs at gun owners while praising the heroics of the passenger who ran to tell the conductor to call 911.

            In her mind, as in the minds of other prohibitionists, individual lives don’t matter. She doesn’t care that, had the victim or passengers been armed, they could’ve prevented the murder. To her and her ilk, those are acceptable losses in the effort to ensure that only the proper authorities have access to firearms.

            1. As you might expect, a good many people started questioning just why no one on the train stopped the attack when it started, or went to the guy’s assistance at any time.

              Simple. If you prohibit me from protecting myself, why would you think I have any obligation to protect you, or anyone else.

  9. access the best means for self-protection.

    But you don’t NEED an ASSAULT RIFLE to protect yourself, or anything more than a 7-round clip. I mean, I’ve never owned or even handled a gun, but this is common sense!

    1. Well, if you shoot like my wife, you should probably just carry one of these.

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kuBPL81DbLU

    2. Anything that holds more than 1 round is an assault machine evisceration deathgun. Your low standards are indication that you hate children. Why don’t you want our kids to be safe?

    3. Almost nobody has an Assault Rilfe (which I suspect you know). ‘Assault Weapon’ is a political term meaning essentially nothing. Not that it’s easy to get the hand-wringers to acknowledge the fact…l

      1. ‘Assault Weapon’ is prog-speak for ‘big scary black gun’.

        More proof that proggies are racists.

  10. Look, a Confederate flag came down this morning, everything has been fixed.

    1. I read that some organization in Connecticut now wants to remove the name of Thomas Jefferson from its title because he owned slaves.

      Fine.

      But I wonder and have to ask.

      Will blacks take offense to criminal celebrities who beat their wives, act like jerks, deal in dope, and other illegal activities?

      Thought not.

    2. The war is over? They get all their Congressmen back yet?

  11. About half the comments on the NYTimes website are asking what the “loophole” was. And then criticizing republicans for not closing that “loophole.”

    1. If only the other half ALSO wanted to know what the loophole was, so they could exploit it.

  12. The government sucks at everything except theft and murder. And even at those things, it’s inefficient and has a bad aim.

    1. The government is Imperial Stormtroopers, basically.

      1. To be fair, we never actually see any Stormtroopers steal anything.

  13. . . . should not be able to access the best means for self-protection.

    And, in places like Massachusetts, end up denied *any* means for self-protection since their courts have ruled that the 2nd amendment only applies to *firearms*.

  14. Speaking of gun control (and apologies if this has already been covered today), drive by shooting in Germany:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33478581

    According to Wikipedia, Germany’s gun control laws “considered among the strictest gun control in the world.”

    Interestingly, the BBC headline on the Dylan Roof story uses the term “background check failure.”

  15. Because HINDSIGHT GODDAMNIT!!1!!!!!1!!!

  16. My apologies for not RTFA entirely but I think the “loophole” is that if the NICS puts a hold but doesn’t deny you in 3 days it is the same as if they OK it. That’s not a “loophole”, it’s the law.

    1. It’s far worse than that.

      1. I RTFNYTsA. The “loophole” is the LAW which states a hold expires after 3 days. It seems pretty clear so long as you grasp the prog concept that laws they passed but don’t like are “loopholes”

        1. Prog concept? You mean the Roberts Theorem?

    2. *hint*

      Don’t give your SSN# and you’ll get a “hold” which expires in 3 days.. I believe the NICS doesn’t work too well w/o a SSN.

      1. I’ve filed a number of 4473’s and none of them had my SSN on them, but they did have my Legal Resident Alien A#.

        In CT, FFLs process 4473’s thru’ a state agency, which issues the authorization. I presume the agency holds detailed files on state permit holders and have a functioning link that to the state criminal records system. The CT FFLs I use have never seen a situation where the state issues an authorization which the ATF subsequently ‘got upset about’ or commented on during an inspection of the FFL’s records.

        In VT, as far as the state’s concerned, belly up and buy whatever you want, and if your 4473 is accepted by ATF, you’re good to go. Interestingly, the in that case, ATF took 2 days to process the paperwork, but I had no problem, despite my A# being *incorrectly* recorded by the FFL.

        So the lesson is – regarding SIV’s post, is that in many states, the actual checks on whether you should be denied ownership of a firearm really are a joke.

  17. Gun grabbers are liars and deceivers. Water is wet. The sky is blue. etc etc

    As I recall Roof got his gun from his father who was the actual purchaser.

    None of the crazy shooters that I know of would have been stopped by any of the laws proposed by the anti-gunners. Not one of them. They all acquire their weapons by theft or as a gift or they have no criminal background.

    1. As I recall Roof got his gun from his father who was the actual purchaser.

      That was the initial story. After some investigation they found that dad gave him cash which he used to purchase the pistol.

      1. Ah, ok. I haven’t kept up.

      2. After any event involving firearms in any way, assume that the initial mainstream news story is wrong.

    2. Any individual so inclined can commit mass murder with a car. Or a knife. Or a sturdy pen. Or an iron. Or a fork.

      Tools matter not. They’re an absolute non-factor. Hoplophobes are universally retarded.

      1. …or a pointed stick.

  18. Have these people ever considered that laws which disqualify those charged with misdemeanor drug crimes are likely to disproportionately impact blacks? Fitting, since that was the original aim of gun control laws, anyway.

    1. Fitting, since that was the original aim of gun control laws, anyway.

      It still is.

    2. One of the things that really burns me up about gun control is the ideological inconsistency from progs (yea yea, water is wet, the sky is blue, progs lie, I know). They say that asking for an ID to vote is a racist plot to shut minorities out of the democratic process. Yet somehow, the 3-ring circus of hoops to jump through just to own a gun in some deep blue states is not only not racist, but a model that the rest of the nation should follow.

      For fuck’s sake, getting a CC permit is on a “may issue” basis in many states, meaning that you have to convince your chief law enforcement officer (or whoever) that you should have one. Use your brain: which ethnic group do you think gets them, and which ones do you think don’t get them? (Assuming that the CLEO is in a mood to issue them to anyone at all).

      Progs would probably reply that nobody should have them; that way, it would be “equal”. Because they place their twisted notion of “equality” over everything else.

      1. I’ve never obtained gainful employment w/o producing a valid ID, so to extend the Liberal argument, the progs don’t want minorities to have a job so they’ll be dependent Dem voters for life.

      2. Getting a CCW permit in NYC means donating a large stash of cash to a city councilman’s campaign fund. In other words, the wealthy and connected get them while the rest of the population is fair game for thugs and criminals.

  19. An illegal alien deported FIVE times and wanted by the feds shot a woman to death with a federal agent’s gun.

    Sanctuary city policies – is that a loophole? After all, if the guy stayed out of the country, backgrounds checks become a moot point.

  20. Apparently background checks are the solution to everything. Meanwhile, the very next article is talking about the 21M people whose info was hacked by the Chinese after they did background checks.

    Makes me wonder if the plan is to be really strict about background checks for gun purchases and then have another “accidental” database hack. Poof! Suddenly, someone has a very comprehensive database of gun owners.

  21. Is the NYT entirely ignoring the reporting done by Reuters that said Roof had been *given* the gun?

    http://www.reuters.com/article…..W120150618

  22. I enjoy watching the statist establishment spin the unspinnable.

    Namely, they fucked up and no one wants to admit it.

    1. If Reuters reporting was accurate, then no background check would have mattered.

      It seems the FBI is spinning this “background check failure” as something for the media to propagate, erasing previous versions of reality, because ‘convenient narrative’.

      Because you can’t stop the outrage momentum merely at ‘confederate flags’. We need *moar gun laws*, because racism.

      1. Not to mention, their first story was the father gave it to him for a birthday gift. No back round check required. Changing for the agenda.

        1. If true, the father lied on his NICS form (question 11a).

  23. Perhaps the people at The New York Times realized, to their horror, that their meme that this shooting “proves” that we need more background checks is totally fucked by the actual facts of the case. They’ve got to re-frame the story so that it provides the necessary supporting narrative.

  24. This is the problem with so many police-state measures for our “safety”. In reality, the Political Class isn’t concerned for our safety, but control. Imposing restrictions is therefore desirable for them, without regard for whether the restrictions accomplish their nominal purpose. Indeed, the more the restrictions fail, the more excuses they have for enacting new controls — until such time as the people realize what’s happening, which probably won’t happen until the news media report the news honestly.

  25. I love incompetent bureaucrats. If they weren’t so terrible at their jobs, the state would be much more effective at destroying lives and the arguments against government controlled X, Y and Z would be that much weaker. But thankfully statism is so terribly illsuited to accomdate human nature that it can never succeed at it’s purported goals. Imagine the hellscape the earth would be if the Soviet New Man were actually possible and not a totalitarian fantasy.

  26. The New York Times is a propagandist’s wet dream.

  27. Back ground check or not crazy people like Roof will always find a way get a gun or use some other method, like a pressure cooker, no background check needed, yet.

  28. Impossible!!! Background checks are infallible magical winged protectors of our society according to the progressive dogma. It is so obviously the fault of the NRA, loooopholes, and the Confederate Flag! Give .gov your freedoms you fools. Only then can you truly be free!

    1. So, everyone killed by some shmoo who got a gun in spit of background checks and strict “Guns Bad M’kay?” laws should have “I’m sorry my Karma ran over your dogma” on their memorial stones?

  29. Ok, first the story was that he got the gun from his father for a birthday gift. Now they are changing the story to fit their agenda.

  30. I am shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, to find out that problems aren’t solved merely by passing laws! Somebody ought to pass a law to fix this reprehensible problem…

    1. The problem is that not enough laws were passed and it will only take one or two more hastily passed laws to solve the problem.

      1. We have to Do Something?, after all!

  31. Congress set the waiting period for background checks at three days so that the FBI could not take an indefinite period of time to complete them. The law also allows the states if they so chose to conduct the background check independent of the FBI. The undeniable truth is no system is completely foolproof. What the news media and gun grabbers ignore and try to bury is that all the recent shooters did not have criminal records and were able to pass background checks. The ones like Adam Lanza who was too young to purchase firearms, stole their weapons. No background check no matter how well worded is going to prevent that.

    1. Right, and that’s how they walk you into banning all private gun ownership, because if you pass a law saying that no one can own a gun for any reason then all of them disappear and rainbows and kittens and smiling children dancing in fields. The background check thing has always been a canard. It’s meant to fail in order to “prove” that “common sense gun laws” don’t go far enough.

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  33. The background check system has proven woefully inadequate despite the massive costs involved. None of the recent mass shooters were deterred from it. And even if Dylan Roof was denied his transfer, what’s to say he wouldn’t have gotten a gun from an illegal source or simply chose another method of mass murder, like arson? Gun ban central Australia has suffered three mass casualty arsons in the last few years. The Happyland Disco Fire in the Bronx killed more than 80.

    Criminals easily evade the background check requirement by using girlfriends, family members or fellow gang members with clean records to buy the guns for them. Or they just steal them.

    Using 2010 as an example, out of 6 million NICS checks, 1100 guns wrongly transferred to prohibited persons were recovered and less than 40 criminals were successfully prosecuted for making false statements on form 4473 (the form used when conducting a background check,) which is a federal felony.

    Does anyone not believe there isn’t a better use to which those finite law-enforcement resources could be put?

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