Saturday marked the 15th anniversary of the full implementation of the FBI’s National Instant Check System, which the agency says is working fine, leading one to question why gun prohibitionists aren’t happy with it, especially after reading today’s Breitbart story about the system.
Breitbart’s piece noted, “The NICS system has been used to process over 177 million background checks since it was implemented” in 1998.
In a weekend press release, the FBI noted, “On its busiest days, the system processes more than 10,000 automated checks an hour across 94 million records in FBI criminal databases, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III), and the NICS index of 11 million individuals who fall into certain categories that prohibit them from receiving firearms. Nine out of 10 NICS determinations are instantaneous, so FFLs know immediately whether to proceed with transactions or deny them. To date, NICS queries of criminal databases have resulted in 1,065,090 denials, with 88,479 in 2012 alone.”
That doesn’t seem to appease the gun prohibition lobby, which aims to make buying firearms as discouraging a process as possible, and making it so cumbersome to loan or gift firearms as to create legions of lawbreakers; anything to disqualify as many people as possible from being able to own a gun.
Anti-gunners are particularly perturbed that, according to the FBI, “Records are not kept on individuals whose transactions are approved to proceed. By law, they are purged within 24 hours. NICS has an appeal process in place for individuals whose transactions are denied.”
They would like those records retained, as they would constitute a de facto registry.
What gun control proponents fail to grasp is that criminals will not go through background checks, and they get their firearms from sources other than retail gun shops or gun shows, and that's according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, hardly a wing of the so-called "gun lobby." The BJS report says gun shows are the source of less than one percent of guns used by criminals.
If expanded NICS checks fail to curb crime, what will be next, registration schemes? Nobody wants to broach that subject, and understandably so. It would be politically toxic.
This is one big reason behind Initiative 591 in Washington State. If adopted, it would require that any background checks conducted here comply with a uniform national standard. Right now, that is the NICS check, which the FBI says is operating quite well, and which follows existing law.