USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Everyone agrees that it is important to stop killing sprees from happening in schools or gay bars, or supermarkets.
The National Instant Check System (NICS) was supposed to stop such killers when it was implemented in 1998. Unfortunately, we are no closer to a peaceful society. After nearly thirty years, NICS is still not working as promised, despite “preventing” over 3.5 million firearms gun transactions since its inception. Few of the blocked sales turn out to be criminals; most rejections are false due to errors in the FBI data.
NICS may serve as “the fundamental cornerstone of our nation’s gun violence prevention laws,” but its proponents propose expanding NICS to create a “Universal” NICS that would eliminate supposed “loopholes.” American gun owners know this is a foolish dream. So-called loopholes will always exist for mentally disturbed people and criminals. Stricter laws cannot eliminate these loopholes because the problems aren’t legal but human. Nobody knows how to predict which mentally disturbed person will run amok in the future. Too many criminals have access to guns because their criminal records have not been entered into the NICS database. And there are many other ways of obtaining weapons without going through a NICS check.
Universal National Instant Check System (UNICS).
The proponents of Universal NICS typically avoid mentioning these problems, and American gun owners are not fooled by the so-called Universal National Instant Check System (UNICS). A NEW UNICS law could potentially, via the law, create a list of gun owners for the federal government, which would be the start of registration and confiscation. That frightens savvy gun owners and cancels any likelihood of cooperation with them for such laws.
If the flaws of UNICS are so obvious, what can we make of surveys that indicate most Americans support UNICS? The American Academy of Pediatrics, in 2022, stated that 88% of Americans, including 85% of gun owners, “favor universal background checks on sales of all weapons.”
Such survey claims should not be taken at face value. Surveys are complex, and too much can go wrong. In the right hands, they can be indicative of public opinion, but pollsters often make mistakes, and they can also use surveys deliberately to manipulate public opinion.
Survey question wording is vital. Survey responses are very sensitive to the way words are used, and subtle phrasing can radically influence answers. Conscientious pollsters know that survey responders often have limited knowledge, so they will attempt to give a balanced introduction to probing questions. However, creating a balanced introduction is very challenging so that it is easy to accidentally present respondents with an unbalanced introduction that will distort their answers.
Pollsters tend to ask general questions, which gives them license to interpret the answers. Often the questions are so vague that they can be interpreted differently. If accidental, this is sloppy work or exploitative if deliberate. Over-interpreting answers to vague questions are useful for propaganda purposes but not for assessing what people really think.
But poorly worded survey questions, with over-interpreted answers, create implausible results for the Main Street Media to drone into politicians’ ears.
For example, the wording of the key question asked in the American Journal of Public Health survey assumed an ideal system: “Requiring a background check system for all gun sales to make sure a purchaser is not legally prohibited from having a gun.” Without a balanced introduction being provided, respondents were asked about a perfect system where nothing could go wrong. There was no mention of possible problems or possible consequences.
Respondents were implicitly assured that all background checks were accurate and there was no chance their information would be used to create a registry.
Such a survey is an attempt to manipulate American gun owners. Luckily, these lies from the Left are failing to do their job because most gun owners already know the truth. No amount of lying will get U.S. gun owners to help UNICS proponents to pass a Universal National Instant Check System law. We know because, as of January 2021, twenty-one states plus the District of Columbia have passed additional types of NICS restrictions; the UNICS proponents have been unable to pass such laws on the national arena. Many Democrats know that if they do pass a national law, they will surely lose their jobs.
One physician, Dr. Michael Siegel, recently suggested that proponents of greater gun control deceive the public by “avoid[-ing] alienating gun owners by creating a perception that the ultimate aim is to take their guns away.” Despite Dr. Siegel’s suggestion to “avoid alienating” gun owners by lying to them, it has been obvious that gun control proponents want to disarm the citizens. During the last few years, gun control proponents have been loudly and angrily shouting their hatred of gun owners. Now that Republicans will control the House of Representatives, President Biden appears more anxious than ever when he demands a new round of gun bans.
Proponents of US gun control have never stopped wanting a list of gun owners that would help them to maximize compliance with new gun bans.
Why Universal Background Checks Can’t Lead to a Federal Gun Registry is a must-read article explaining what the Left wants you to know so that you will accept their promise of societal peace if you abandon your guns. Another good read is, Would Universal Background Checks Create National Gun Registry, which shows some of the dangers.
Criminologists Phillip Cook and Harold Pollack summed up their opinion of why our guns cause problems. They explained, “…these guns form a reservoir that supplies guns to future delinquents, gang members, convicted felons, and other offenders.”
Cook and other gun control proponents believe that the only way to reduce that future supply of civilian weapons is to limit our access to guns, even though we are not the problem. The best way to accomplish this is to know who owns the guns because that has historically proven to be the easy way to achieve the ultimate goal of taking those guns away. According to the NRA-ILA, “the overriding reason that gun owners oppose firearms registration is that they know for certain that government will abuse any such registry.” For more information, read The Catastrophic Consequences of Gun Registration by Dave Kopel, and watch the 1984 action drama classic movie Red Dawn, where Russian invaders to the US search for Form 4473 at local gun dealers to find and confiscate Americans’ guns.
A Universal NICS law will give the Left another chance at creating a list of gun owners. Another chance? Yes, as they’ve already tried it before and almost got away with it. Stephen Halbrook, attorney and firearms policy author, was involved in the NRA’s attempt to prevent Janet Reno, the AG for President Clinton, from retaining the personal data of firearms purchasers who underwent the NICS background check. Halbrook’s article, The Truth About NICS tells the story of government officials who flagrantly broke the original NICS law, which did not permit the creation of a list of gun purchasers to suit their own purposes.
Halbrook concludes, “law-abiding gun owners must stay vigilant so the tool isn’t corrupted by anti-gun actors in the future…Gun registration means gun confiscation.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) took the case to the Supreme Court in NRA v Reno, and in 2000 the Supreme Court ruled against the NRA! Janet Reno’s “audit log” of 6 months duration would stay. SCOTUS found that “the Attorney General has reasonably interpreted the Act to permit retention of such information for audit purposes…” The NICS law meant nothing to SCOTUS.
But, Congress then acted to force the destruction of buyer information within 24 hours of approval and has not passed any expanded NICS law, despite pressure from the Democrats.
Consider that during the first six months of 2020, there were over 21 million NICS checks performed, and one can see how large Reno’s 6-month “audit log” was and could have become. Twenty-one million is a nice chunk of Americans.
Some Blue states became impatient waiting for a UNICS, so they acted and created their own Expanded NICS locally. By January 2021, 21 states and the District of Columbia had enacted legislation that would add in some private sales and so increase the number of background checks in various ways.
Criminologist Gary Kleck, Professor Emeritus at Florida State University, acquired some of the data from those states to investigate compliance rates because “The effectiveness of ‘universal background checks’ is dependent on how many people seeking to acquire a gun from a private party comply with the required background check.”
Kleck compared data from Oregon and Colorado with survey data from Miller et. al. that indicates that 74% of people who purchased a gun through a private sale stated their transfer was subjected to a NICS check. He found that his own data did not agree with the Miller survey data. Kleck found that only “10.6% of private transfers in Colorado in 2019 and 3.5% of those in Oregon in 2017 were subjected to a state-mandated background check.” Kleck also notes that “Compliance among those trying to get a gun via a private transfer appears to be low, which should temper expectations…”
It looks like folks may even say they agree with universal instant checks, but their behavior tells a different story. And if non-felon, generally law-abiding folks are willing to disobey the law of their state by not using Expanded NICS, why should we expect felons to use it? Expanded NICS can only stop banned gun purchases if banned people actually use it.
It should be no surprise that early research seeking to determine the effectiveness of NICS found that “some studies indicated decreases in violence associated with restrictions, and others indicated increases.” More recently, Janice Iwama investigated the 2014 Massachusetts expanded background check law and found, “While there is no statistically significant association between the passage of the gun legislation and most violent crimes, the models for robbery indicate a small increase in robberies…”
Because the word ‘Universal’ has come to mean failure and list when it comes to the NICS gun control proponents, they have started to change the word ‘Universal’ to ‘Expanded’ and ‘Enhanced’ to describe their NICS agenda.
No matter what new lies we may hear, proponents of UNICS know that the changes and additions still won’t work as promised. When folks from Harvard write, “The Vast Majority of Americans Support Universal Background Checks, Why Doesn’t Congress,” they know they are lying. And when Harvard elitists advise us that 72% of NRA members agree, it’s part of another big lie from the Left. When in September 2022, the Washington Post asks, “Will Gun Owners Fight for Stronger Gun Laws,” we know that we gun owners are not going to be snookered towards disarmament the way our Canadian friends were.
We trusted the promises, and we compromised. We learned that gun laws do not affect criminals. We saw Liberal run inner city streets run red with the blood of under-educated youth. And so we will no longer accept the “blame for America’s bloodshed” because we refuse further compromise with harmful laws.
One could say, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To A Universal National Instant Check System And Gun Lists, but they seem to have gotten lost!
About The Authors
Gary Mauser is a professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Check out his blog at JusticeForGunowners.ca for more information.
Alan J Chwick has been involved with firearms much of his life and is the Retired Managing Coach of the Freeport NY Junior Marksmanship Club. He has escaped New York State to South Carolina and is an SC FFL Dealer & Gunsmith (Everything22andMore.com). [email protected] | Twitter/TruthSocial: @E22andMore
Joanne D Eisen, DDS (Ret.), practiced dentistry on Long Island, NY. She has collaborated and written on firearm politics for the past 40+ years. She, too, escaped New York State, but to Virginia. [email protected]