Everytown: They’re The Experts In Hanging That Window Dressing On Gun Control

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jul 22, 2015 2:00 PM
Everytown: They’re The Experts In Hanging That Window Dressing On Gun Control

They’re at it again. Everytown has decided to come out of the bunker to raise awareness on something that happens with any gun purchase in America: background checks. Yep, apparently they need to remind us about this process that is applied to any American who decides to stroll into a gun store to buy a rifle, handgun, or shotgun. Does Everytown know that it is already the law?

Nevertheless, Charleston shooter Dylann Roof engaged in senseless carnage, ergo Everytown needed to say something to remind people they’re still ir relevant (via Politico):

In the wake of the December 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, MAIG spent $12 million on an ad campaign attempting to persuade senators to back stricter gun-control measures. Last year, Bloomberg spent roughly $40 million to try and elect candidates at the federal, state and local levels who support gun control and other issues the former New York mayor backs.

Everytown for Gun Safety is pushing for legislation that would close a loophole supported by the National Rifle Association that allows people with incomplete background checks to purchase guns after three business days.

[Dylann] Roof, the man charged with killing nine black parishioners as they worshiped at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, was able to buy a gun despite having been arrested for a separate drug charge in February. The oversight stemmed from a clerical error, the FBI said last week.

Okay. That’s not fair. Everytown had to say something because a) people were killed by guns and b) they campaigned on expanding background checks in the past. Yet, this is a pickle for them. The National Instant Background Check System [NICS] that was said to create a safer society with its expansion failed. The FBI admitted the “clerical” error that allowed Roof to purchase a .45 caliber handgun from a store 25 miles from his home stemmed from his pending narcotics charge.

The original story was that Roof was given the handgun by his father as a birthday present. This is still illegal. Roof’s father could have faced a 10-year prison sentence for knowingly giving a firearm to a person with pending criminal charges. Roof could have been sent to prison to accepting a firearms as a gift knowing he had pending criminal charges.

The error that led to Roof’s senseless violence totally falls on the FBI. South Carolina is a state where gun dealers contact the FBI for all firearms background checks. Yet, what is this delayed release Everytown is bantering about?

Via FBI:

When a validly matched record is potentially prohibiting but is incomplete, the NICS Section must search for the information needed to complete the record. This process often requires outreach to local, state, tribal, and/or federal agencies (e.g., arresting agencies, court systems). The Brady Act allows the FFL to legally transfer the firearm if the NICS transaction is not resolved within 3 business days. In some instances, the potentially prohibiting records are completed, and the NICS Section staff deny the transaction. The NICS Section notifies the FFL of the denial and determines if the firearm was transferred to the buyer. If it was transferred, the NICS Section transmits this information to the ATF for further handling as a firearm retrieval referral.

Individuals who believe they are wrongfully denied the transfer of a firearm can appeal the deny decision.

Here is the instance in which a delayed release might occur during a gun purchase:

A Delayed message from the NICS indicates the subject of a NICS background check has been matched with a similar name and similar descriptive information associated with a record containing a potential state or federal firearm prohibition. The NICS Section must obtain additional information before making a final determination of a Proceed or Denied for the firearm transfer. The NICS Section is afforded three business days in which to conduct this research. If the NICS Section is unable to provide either a Proceed or Denied response to the Federal Firearms Licensee within three business days, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 does not prohibit the Federal Firearms Licensee, or FFL, from transferring the firearm; however, the FFL is not required to do so.

A federal prohibition would exist for any person who:

  • Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
  • Is a fugitive from justice
  • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution
  • Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or who has been admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa
  • Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
  • Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner
  • Has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  • Is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year

Oh, so this isn’t a loophole. There’s doesn’t appear to be any ambiguity here to skirt around the law without fear of legal repercussions, especially when it comes to Roof, or anyone with a criminal record or pending charges, buying a gun.

So, this seems to be an effort to get retailers, like Cabela’s (a great store!), to reject all delayed release purchases on firearms sales. I guess that’s a reasonable area of discussion. After all, the FFL [federal firearms license] dealer has no obligation to transfer the firearm if the records return incomplete in three days, as stipulated by the FBI. Then again, you would never assume that given to what Everytown tweeted from their account.

At the same time, this is window dressing. Delayed responses through the NICS system are rare, even Everytown admits that in their petition. Additionally, there is no statistical evidence that waiting periods in general reduce gun violence. California’s 10-day waiting period on gun purchases was struck down as unconstitutional last year.

This campaign is somewhat similar to Everytown’s push to ban open carry in Kroger stores last year. Kroger operates in states where open carry is legal. The fact that people who are allowed to open carry outside of Kroger, but not inside the store will have some impact on reducing gun violence is comical at best. A push to ban open carry at the state-level is something different and much more serious, but I doubt Everytown will go that route. Republicans control the most state legislatures since 1920 and two-thirds of the governorships; the ground isn’t fertile for such a grassroots campaign–and it possibly never will be.

So, it looks like Everytown will waste more money on something that will have zero impact on gun violence. It must be a day that ends in “y.”

Friendly reminder: None of Obama's gun control initiatives post-Newtown would have stopped Dylann Roof. Gun control has never been the answer in addressing the recent string of mass shootings; it should have been more grounded in reforming our mental health care laws and system.  Yet, in Roof's case, the problem is crystal clear. The government messed up. Period.