Two John R. Lott Jr. Op-Ed on background checks
Bottom line: It’s hard to believe that the percentage of sales without background checks is above single digits today.
On to Schumer’s second falsehood — the claim that checks have stopped 1.7 million prohibited sales. In fact, these were only “initial denials,” not people prevented from buying guns.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dropped over 94 percent of those “initial denials” after preliminary reviews. Further review cleared at least a fifth of the other 6 percent.
Truth is, these government databases are rife with flaws. Remember the five times that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy missed flights because his name was on the anti-terror “no fly” list? By Sen. Schumer’s method of counting, that means the “no fly” list stopped five flights by terrorists.
The flaws in the background-check system carry another price: They cause dangerous delays for people who suddenly, legitimately need a gun for self-defense, such as a woman being stalked by an ex.
For a few people, these delays can make a huge difference in being able to defend themselves. Indeed, my own research suggests these delays might actually contribute to a slight net increase in violent crime, particularly rapes.
No amount of background checks on private transfers would have stopped the attacks in Connecticut, Wisconsin, or Colorado. Nor could the system possibly work without government registering all guns. And even complete gun bans in Washington and Chicago have not stopped criminals from getting guns.
But it certainly makes no sense to expand the background check system before it is fixed. Passing laws may make people feel better, but they can actually prevent people from defending themselves.