More Laws for Government to Ignore?

We’ve been saying for years—decades, to be honest—that America does not need any more restrictions on firearms to combat violent criminals who misuse guns; we simply need to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Our argument has always been that passing new laws will only affect the otherwise law-abiding, responsible gun owners the anti-gun crowd keeps claiming support their “sensible” proposals.

Violent criminals will always ignore gun laws, just as they ignore the myriad other laws that make them violent criminals.

But it seems these criminals are not the only ones who ignore gun laws. So does the federal government, according to President Biden. If you don’t believe us, just listen to what he actually said.

“And to your point, Mr. Baker, regarding the lack of prosecutions on lying on Form 4473s, we simply don’t have the time or manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately.”

Biden said this in 2013, back when he was President Obama’s vice president, and he was speaking to former NRA-ILA Executive Director Jim Baker, who was serving as NRA-ILA Director of Federal Affairs at the time.

This statement was made by Biden during an Obama-administration meeting as part of its then-promotion of a raft of new gun laws. NRA had agreed to attend the PR event to explain its position, and Biden’s response came after Baker had just pointed out, as we have pointed out many times before and since, that new laws are not what America needs.

Clearly, the Obama/Biden team was not interested in enforcing existing laws, only in passing new ones.

Of course, we’re not saying that anyone who gets denied a firearm purchase through NICS should be prosecuted, as the system is far from perfect and results in a number of false denials. Also, some prohibited individuals, especially those with old or obscure convictions, might not even realize that they are legally prohibited from purchasing a firearm.

You see, when people try to buy a firearm through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), or what most simply call a gun store, they fill out a federal form (Form 4473), and are then vetted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to determine if they are prohibited under federal law from purchasing a firearm.

If you fill out the form accurately, and you are actually prohibited from purchasing a firearm, the form will tell you so. Even if you do not realize it, the dealer will usually look over the form, and if there is anything on the form indicating you are prohibited, the dealer will inform you. Dealers don’t want to waste their time contacting NICS if they know the contact will result in a denial. The call to NICS is really to determine if the person who filled out the form has lied about their legal status, which violates federal law.

After NICS has been contacted, roughly 1% of the millions of NICS checks run each year result in denials. Last year, there were nearly 40 million checks run, although that number was well above normal, so let’s look at prior years to put this into some perspective. Before 2020, the number of annual checks averaged about 25 million, so there was an average of about 250,000 denials each year. If a denial is legitimate, then that likely constitutes a federal crime, as the form filled out probably claimed the purchaser was not prohibited.

While not all NICS checks relate specifically to a firearm transfer, the vast majority do.

Now, we know that quite a few of those denials are errors, as countless people have appealed their initial denial and been later approved. But, many individuals incorrectly denied may never appeal, so we do not know the total “false positive” rate for NICS.

In addition, many people who try to buy a gun but are prohibited from doing so by law likely have no idea they are in such a position; especially considering anti-gun extremists are constantly working to expand the list of prohibited individuals.

It’s easy to imagine a 60-year-old who wants to purchase a gun being denied because they committed an illegal act in their 20s that was not a prohibitive offense, but the offense now disqualifies them from making a lawful purchase.

Similarly, there are likely some who have been convicted of committing prohibitive offenses but were never told their offense meant they could no longer lawfully purchase a firearm. Many prohibitive offenses, after all, are crimes that are not violent—think tax violations and other financial crimes—so it is not at all inconceivable that many would not consider such violations to be reason for infringing on someone’s rights protected under the Second Amendment.

With that in mind, there are certainly those who knowingly try to violate the law. Even if you exclude all the NICS denials that are errors, and the ones that are for people who did not know they were prohibited, there are still likely several thousand individuals who are career criminals who, every year, knowingly try to make an illegal purchase in the hope that they could beat the system. Remember, these are actual criminals, and are knowingly attempting to get around the law.

Getting career criminals off the streets, especially those who are clearly identified as breaking the law by trying to unlawfully acquire a firearm, should be a priority for all law enforcement. They’ve even made the job of investigating their criminal activities much easier, as they have literally told the government they are trying to commit yet another crime.

Shouldn’t the federal government investigate these crimes? According to 2013 Joe Biden, the answer is “No.”

Today, things are not much different. Biden, now as president, is again pushing a raft of new gun laws. Included in this latest round of assaults on the Second Amendment are attempts to again expand the list of people prohibited from purchasing firearms, expand the list of firearm transfers that are subject to being run through NICS to include virtually all transfers—under the guise of “universal” background checks—and allow unelected government bureaucrats to wipe out the “instant” in NICS with the power to arbitrarily delay and prevent lawful firearm transfers indefinitely.

But if Biden wasn’t interested in having the federal government investigate and prosecute career criminals who tried to illegally acquire firearms in 2013, it’s unlikely he’s interested in doing so in 2021.

In other words, Biden’s goal of expanding the list of prohibited persons, expanding the scope of NICS to cover private transfers, and allowing indefinite delays on NICS-subject transfers has nothing to do with stopping violent criminals. It is all about expanding the scope of federal authority, and advancing his agenda of diminishing the Second Amendment to the point of irrelevance.

To be clear, the expansion of NICS to all firearm transfers (even temporary loans) will do nothing to deter violent criminals from being violent criminals, but it will lay the foundation for yet more federal expansion of gun restrictions. Specifically, mandatory registration of all firearms and firearm owners. After all, there is no way to “ensure” private transfers of firearms are run through NICS without knowing who currently has which guns.

Again, if Biden and the anti-gun extremists were serious about addressing violent crime in America that involves firearms, they would drop their efforts to expand their control that will only impact law-abiding gun owners, and focus on going after career criminals who have proven they don’t care about local, state, or federal restrictions on their violent, criminal activities.

Drop the façade of promoting more “reasonable” gun control and enforce the laws already on the books that can be used against these predators.

The U.S. House of Representatives, under the iron fist of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), passed the first two bills that Biden hopes will help him to end the Second Amendment. These bills, H.R 8 and H.R. 1446, may soon be taken up by the U.S. Senate, so NRA members and other freedom-loving Americans should take action by contacting their senators, and asking them politely, but firmly, to stop these attacks on law-abiding gun owners, and focus on actually prosecuting violent criminals.

© 2021 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

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