San Bernardino was a horrible tragedy, as was Paris, Sandy Hook and all the others. Each and every time, the guns were obtained legally as were the bullets. Stricter gun  laws did nothing to mitigate those horrific incidents. Why then, other than shear politics, is our president calling for stricter yet gun laws?

I was having a pest problem on my rural property and thought that a 22 caliber rifle would be the right solution. I went down to the local sporting goods shop and began the process of purchasing such a weapon. After I made my selection, I had to fill out a from and provide information for my background check. Have you ever been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year? NO. Are you under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than one year? NO. Are you a fugitive from justice? NO Are you addicted to a controlled substance? NO. Have you been adjudicated as a mental defective? NO. Are you illegally in the United States? NO. Have you been dishonorably discharged? NO. Have you renounced your citizenship? NO. Have you had a court order restraining you from stalking, harassing, or threatening someone? NO. Have you been convicted of a crime of domestic violence? NO.

As I stood there answering the questions I couldn’t help but wonder who in their right minds would answer any of those questions YES, if they wanted a gun. Most of the states vary in their approach to background checks, but in my case, the above information (ATF form 4473) was sent to the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and run through the III (Interstate Identification Index). In some cases the FBI gets involved because of the Brady Act of 1993, and the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) is employed, which usually takes minutes, and the FBI has three business days to make their decision of approval or denial. There is also, in California at least, a ten day waiting period before you can pick up your new weapon.

So we have all this process in place, and yet the senseless violence persists. The background check process as we have it now, is a farce. It only deters people with criminal backgrounds from purchasing guns, and most of them don’t purchase guns legally anyway. We need a background check that works. Certainly we must have the brain power to do that.


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