Dear Gun Nuts, Background Checks Are Constitutional. Get Over It!

backgroundcheckDear Gun Nuts and 2nd Amendment Absolutists,

Over the weekend, in an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle, Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Administration was not going to give up background checks, and for good measure. According to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in over 40 states, criminals (not law abiding gun owners) can legally avoid gun store background checks simply by purchasing their firearms at gun shows and through anonymous internet sales. I am not going to undertake a detailed analysis of the statistics, but if you are interested they can be found here. Suffice to say that although background check laws will never be able to prevent all illegal sales nor keep firearms away from all criminals (no law ever prevents all crime), for the most part they do work to keep guns away from those who shouldn’t have them. But, because of the lack of federal legislation on this issue, it is quite easy for a criminal to avoid one, simply by going to another state or a place where a background check is unnecessary. This needs to change. Unless and until we make background checks for gun sales that occur at gun shows and on the internet the law of the land, we will continue to see illegal firearms find their way into our cities and onto our streets. The issue is not dead, we are not going to let it die, because we are unwilling to see more of our children die instead. For the record, background checks are constitutional. Anyone who says otherwise is either uninformed or naive. If you want to know the truth about the constitutionality of background checks, simply read the case law on the subject.

I am going to keep the legal stuff relatively short, since I am not in the mood to write (nor do I think you are in the mood to read) an entire synopsis of 2nd Amendment constitutional case law. However, it’s time to put the universal background checks issue to rest once and for all; they are constitutional. They are not an “infringement” that is so great such that they violate the 2nd Amendment. One needs to look no further than DC v. Heller (the case that gun owners like to cite to all the time when discussing that they have an individual right to bear arms and do not need to be part of a militia) to see that background checks are constitutional. 

“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited… …Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

This is not a terribly difficult concept to understand. One does not need to be a lawyer or a brain surgeon to get it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you asked a child to read the above paragraph they would be able to explain that what the Supreme Court has said is that laws which “infringe” on the 2nd Amendment are nonetheless constitutional if they: 1) Prohibit the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill (those adjudicated mentally ill by a court – not everyone who goes to the psychiatrist once a week), or 2) Forbid the carrying of firearms in certain places, or 3) Impose conditions or qualifications on the sale of arms. Hmmm… let’s think about this for a moment. Background checks do two of these things. They prohibit the possession of firearms by felons and/or those adjudicated mentally ill and they impose conditions/qualifications on the sale of arms. Thus, they are constitutional. How many times and in how many different ways does it need to be explained for some people to get it through their thick heads?

More people have been killed by gun violence since Sandy Hook than on 9/11. Most of these acts of violence have been perpetrated by someone who was not a law abiding gun owner and should never have had access to a firearm to begin with. Background checks take less than 5 minutes and help to ensure that only responsible law abiding gun owners have access to firearms. Background checks do not lead to firearms registries, because the proposed background check law specifically and unequivocally prohibits registries. Background checks protect 2nd Amendment rights by allowing lawful gun owners to continue to exercise their 2nd Amendment freedoms. They do this by keeping firearms away from criminals and those who are mentally ill who should not have them. Those who claim to be law abiding gun owners should have no problem spending the 4.5 to 5 minutes it takes to be background checked, to prove that they are in fact a law abiding responsible gun owner. Background checks do not infringe 2nd Amendment rights—on the contrary, they help to protect them.

In closing, background checks are clearly constitutional. Although you are entitled to your opinions and are free to disagree with background check laws, legally speaking they do not violate the 2nd Amendment. While background check legislation may have failed once, 91% of Americans, including many gun owners want expanded background check legislation to pass. Truth be told, sooner rather than later it will. We are persistent, we are not going to stop fighting for universal background checks legislation, and we are not going away.

Love Always,

A Pissed Off New Yorker

P.S. Get over it!!!!

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!

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  • Libertarian Patriot

    Get over what? Our victory in Congress? LOL

    • Ilyssa

      It won’t last. We’re not giving up.But it’s get over it that that background checks are Constitutional.

      • John Gavel

        who cares, we already own the weapons- good luck coming to get them ilyssa.

      • Ilyssa

        This article is solely about background checks for gun shows and internet sales. I never advocated registration or confiscation of any types of weapons. If you can pass a background check than it shouldn’t be a problem – there is no need to use a loophole. Right now it’s the background check loopholes that allow those who legally cannot own a gun to get one legally. That’s all this article addresses.

      • John Gavel

        since when did criminals follow the law ilyssa?

      • Ilyssa

        So we should just not have any laws? Do pollution laws stop all pollution? No. Do speed limits stop all accidents? No.Do drunk driving laws stop all drunk driving? No. Do drug trafficking laws stop all drug use? No. Then why have any laws at all? Our laws define our values. We do not get rid of them because some people break them.

      • John Gavel

        The laws being passed define a slim majorities definition of values- not every americans. You have guns being confiscated in areas of ny because of their new gun legislation- removing guns from homes because of prescribed medications? Only to have it be the wrong individual- this is only the start. What defines a mental illness where a persons rights shall be revoked? Is having a year of depression enough to not be able to hunt for your life? Where will the line be drawn- bc this administration will only be around for so long- whens the next cheney going to show up and push the limits? I dont see drunk drivers losing the privilege to drive for life, or murders spending life in jail. Why would a patient be completely open with a doctor if they know the govt is looking in his chart?

      • Ilyssa

        I’m in NY. There is no confiscation going on. I have plenty of friends who own assault rifles, they are not being confiscated, but under NY law they have to be registered. As for mental illness, the federal law as it’s proposed only applies to those adjudicated mentally ill by a court. Furthermore, do you know what has provisions that provide more mental health care to people so that those who aren’t adjudicated mentally ill and are still legally able to own a gun don’t fly off the handle? Obamacare. It forces insurance companies to cover people’s psych visits as part of their total health coverage. If more people can get psych care through their insurance rather than having to pay out of pocket, more people will use it.

      • John Gavel

        here is the article, wont let me post the link. BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) Gun rights advocates were outraged this week when it was revealed that a Western New York man had his pistol permit suspended and guns confiscated because police believed he posed a threat due to a mental health condition.

        Attorney James Tresmond threatened to file a lawsuit in Federal Court claiming his client’s health privacy and civil rights had been violated.

        It was reported that the unidentified man was taking a prescription for anxiety.

        The enforcement action started on March 29th when New York State Police asked the Erie County Clerk’s Office to pursue revoking the man’s pistol permit because he owned guns in violation of the mental health provision of New York’s newly enacted guns law called the SAFE ACT.

        “They really pushed us to move quickly on this. We received a subsequent email from one of the State Police sargents making sure that we had taken these firearms away,” said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs.

        The State Police information was reviewed by a Supreme court judge, and the man’s pistol permit suspended and guns taken away.

        But now it turns out that the information was wrong.

        After further investigation, State Supreme Court Judge William Boller has ruled that the police information that was the basis for the action was “in error.”

        Justice Boller writing that the “individual named pursuant to the New York Safe Act was not in fact the above named Licensee.”

        “What happened here is the State Police got it wrong,” added Jacobs.

        The question now is who is responsible for the mix-up.

        The Erie County Clerk’s Office placing blame on State Police investigators, and the State Police maintaining that the Clerk’s office needed to use “due diligence” in getting a positive identification before removing any weapon.

        The following are press releases issued by both the Erie County Clerk’s Office and the New York State Police concerning the matter.

      • Ilyssa

        Right, under NY law – not under federal law. Big difference. My above article solely address federal background check legislation and I am speaking solely about federal law in my above comment. NY has some of the strictest gun control laws – I agree with you there. But, my above comment about NY law still stands – the AR part of the law does not require confiscation merely because one owns a weapon that is not legally available anymore in the state. Even I think the NY law has some problems that need to be sorted out.

      • John Gavel

        If this is what a state is going to do, what do you think the federal government will do? Look up the videos on youtube of the boston searches. I was agreeing at first that the police did the right thing but after watching those videos, police kicking in doors making innocent citizens come out with their hands up while they storm their house looking for a “suspect” (who had been in a boat for a day- under a ripped bloody tarp of a boat? good looking their cops) Im not going to trust them, you can I guess

      • Thanks for your comments. You’ve made the case that needs to be heard and you will never get someone like Mr. Gavel to believe you! He always has an excuse or obfuscation that has nothing to do with the legality and constitutionality of background checks. That’s how the drone spokesmen for the NRA work spewing fear an propaganda in the face of a bill that has an overwhelming majority of support from the electorate. To sum it up, you are wasting your time and breath with people like this!

      • John Gavel

        There are already background checks- so i am missing your point. NCIS. The purposed laws are not covering personal sales, so I dont really see what these laws are really going to change- nothing for me anyways.

        You did receive a background check when you purchased your last weapon right Tommy?

      • Dennis M

        Illyssa,Thank you for clarifying for me that mental illness will adjudicated by a court.

      • Dennis M

        In Connecticut you can lose your license for life for multiple DWI convictions. I would agree with you on mental health issues but is the progunners that are pushing mental health. I think it violent people who should be kept away from guns and I prefer a judge decide that with the exception if a Doctor learn of an imminent threat

    • The Truth Shall Set You FREE

      Much like Obamacare’s victory in congress, and the Supreme Court,… And 30+ attempts at repeal!! LOL right back at ya buddy! You think since you won ONE, 1, UNO, SINGULAR… vote, due to (by their own admission) republicans fear of being seen “helping” Obama, that you can claim victory in the war? You are in for a disappointing surprise! Background checks, banned extended clips & silencers as well as assault rifles WILL be law. Just wait & see my friend, and remember, I told you so!!

      • John Gavel

        you are calling obamacare a victory but it hasnt even taken effect yet- classic. as for your “victory” with assault weapons- pretty sure there was a ban on producing them in like the 80s- no new ones have been manufactured. Unless you are talking about an ar-15 or other semiautomatic weapons- here is the truth, those arent “assault” rifles just like a honda civic isnt a sportscar. lets not get the two confused ok. As for banning these “extended” magazines- millions are in circulation. just as drugs are “illegal” they will be readily available. Look at 3-d printing capabilities nowadays kiddddddddd- youlll never winnnnnnnnnnn hahahahaha

      • Ilyssa

        Again, this article does not address assault weapons or magazine limits in any way. It’s an article that is solely about background checks.

      • John Gavel

        I was responding “truths” comment, not the articles

      • Ilyssa

        Ah, ok.

      • Thats why, until just recently, Bushmaster had their ARs labeled as assault rifles.

      • John Gavel

        An Ar is considered an assault rifle because it has the capability of going from semiautomatic to full- however its illegal in the us to have fully auto weapons without the proper permits and stuff (maybe some grandfather clauses idk).
        It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder
        It must be capable of selective fire
        It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle;
        Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine rather than a feed-belt.
        And it should at least have a firing range of 300 meters (1000 feet)

        Ar15s that are semiauto are not any more of an assault weapons than any other semiautomatic gun

      • Dennis M

        An assault rifle is a selective fire (selective between automatic, semi-automatic, and burst fire) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard service rifles in most modern armies.
        Assault weapon is a political and legal term that refers to different types of firearms and weapons and is a term that has differing meanings, uses and purposes.
        In discussions about gun laws and gun politics in the United States, an assault weapon is most commonly defined as a semi-automatic firearm possessing certain cosmetic, ergonomic, or construction features similar to those of military firearms. Semi-automatic firearms fire one bullet (round) each time the trigger is pulled; the spent cartridge case is ejected and another cartridge is loaded into the chamber, without requiring the manual operation of a bolt handle, a lever, or a sliding handgrip. An assault weapon has a detachable magazine, in conjunction with one, two, or more other features such as a pistol grip, a folding or collapsing stock, a flash suppressor, or a bayonet lug. Most assault weapons are rifles, but pistols or shotguns may also fall under the definition.

  • please if you really wanted to save the kids you would be advocating ENFORCEMENT of the current laws. but… oh wait that’s right “you don’t have the time” im not supporting any new gun laws until the current ones prove to be ineffectual but in order for that to be proven the current laws must be enforced which they are not.

    • Ilyssa

      As a criminal defense attorney I will have you know that our laws are being enforced. There are plenty of gun cases that have come across my desk. This idea that the laws aren’t being enforced is a myth.

      • John Gavel

        hows those gun laws working in chicago ilyssa?

      • Ilyssa

        Just because they aren’t being enforced very well in one place does not mean they aren’t being enforced in other places. Chicago is a straw mans argument. It looks at a single jurisdiction to make a prediction for an entire nation. It does not address the issue of causation.

      • John Gavel

        Chicago is a straw mans arguement because the city is a warzone and rahm emmanuel cannot figure it out. He’s to busy blocking business’ like chickfila from building instead of protecting his citizens. Obama came outta that area too right- interesting? They will pass a law to fix it tho- i trust them

      • And you do know that the majority of the guns in Chicago come from other states, right? States that dont use mandatory background checks.

      • John Gavel

        criminals breaking the laws huh- crazzzzyyyy concept. Where do most illegal drugs come from Sean?

      • Dennis M

        Where do most illegal drugs come from?Only about 15% of illegal guns are stolen, the rest come from a very profitable black market made possible by loopholes in background checks and lax enforcement of weak gun trafficking laws,25% of guns manufactured find their way onto the black market.

      • John Gavel

        Or from our govt- cough fast n furious cough cough. 3-d printing is where its at

      • Dennis M

        Fast and furious illustrates just how lax gun trafficking laws are.And allows millions of guns to flow into the hands of the Mexican drug Cartels.
        Why is it John you have no interest in laws that would have no effect on you as a law abiding citizen but could help keep guns out of the hands of criminals?

      • John Gavel

        Gun laws are pretty lax when the govt is letting you break them- dont really see your point.

        Many have shelled out the 8 grand for a 3-d printer and last i checked the blackmarket doesnt required the nics check so i guess law abiding citizens will have more hoops while the criminals have their weapons handed to them by the atf. I like how biden goes on his gun tour same week the dhs purchases millions of rounds- arent hollowpoints illegal in war- why they need those for “training”

      • Dennis M

        Follow the money. The
        reason our gov’t buys so many bullets is because its corporate welfare for
        ammunition manufacturers who make big profits then pay off politicians to buy
        more.Just because some arms may not be needed doesn’t mean congress won’t buy
        them.They do it all the time for the Pentagon.
        The one time The NRA has
        backed Obama it was on this issue This was copied and pasted from The Institute
        for Legislative Action (ILA) the lobbying arm of the NRA web page. The NRA
        would have never posted it if they did not want to protect the Arms and Ammo
        manufacturers who fill the coffers of the NRA

        Federal Law Enforcement
        Agencies Buy Ammunition

        Posted on August 17,
        2012

        You may recently have seen some in the Internet rumor mill feverishly repeating the obvious truth above, in an effort to stir up fear about recent acquisitions of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security and a number of smaller agencies. The mildest writers have questioned why seemingly mundane agencies would need ammunition at all; more incendiary authors suggest that these government agencies are preparing for a war with the American people.

        Much of the concern stems from a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried about by officers in small federal agencies. These agents have the power to make arrests and execute warrants, just like their better-known counterparts at agencies like the FBI.

        For instance, the Social Security Administration solicited offers for 174,000 rounds of pistol ammunition. But the agency has 295 special agents who combat Social Security fraud that costs tax payers billions each year, so the order works out to roughly 590 rounds of ammunition per agent for training, mandatory quarterly qualification shooting and duty use. More than a few NRA members would use that much ammunition in a weekend shooting class or plinking session.

        Another recent rumor questioned a request for 46,000 rounds of.40-caliber ammo by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA inadvertently fueled that speculation through a clerical error that suggested the ammunition was destined for the National Weather Service. NOAA later clarified that the ammunition was actually for the little known Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, which enforces laws against illegal fishing and marine life importation. The ammunition is for 63 personnel, amounting to about 730 rounds per officer.

        The most widespread of the recent rumors involves a Department of Homeland Security contract for a maximum of 450 million rounds of .40-caliber jacketed hollow-points, to be supplied over the next five years.

        After receiving numerous questions from his constituents regarding the contract, pro-Second Amendment U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and his staff set out in search of the truth. In a press release, Rep. Westmoreland’s office explains:

        If you take the number of agencies that will be using this ammunition – CBP, Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ICE, the U.S. Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, the DHS police force, and all the guards that protect the various buildings these agencies are housed in, and spread that out over 5 years, you start to see that 450 million rounds really isn’t that large of an order. Especially considering it is used for training purposes like firing range and live fire exercises, on-the-job use (though that is very limited), and to shore up their supplies. In fact, there are 65,000 – 70,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS who would be covered under this … ammunition contract. If DHS were to purchase all 450 million rounds over 5 years, then that would equate to only about 1,384 rounds of ammo per year per law enforcement [officer] … assuming the lower estimate of only 65,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS. Considering those agents go through training exercises several times per year, that is not a lot of ammunition.

        Perhaps most strangely, some have cited the purchase of hollow-point ammunition as evidence of the federal government’s evil motives. Hollow-points are the defensive ammunition of choice for federal, state and local law enforcement officers across the country, just as they are for private citizens. These attacks are eerily similar to statements made by gun prohibitionists, who spent the much of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s complaining about “dum dum” bullets. (In fact, the Violence Policy Center’s website still exhibits a publication lamenting that federal ammunition law “has no effect on today’s generation of high-tech hollow-point ammunition.”) The attacks also ignore the fact that federal agents, unlike average taxpayers on more limited budgets, normally train and qualify with their duty ammunition.

        As most gun owners will agree, skepticism of government is healthy. But today, there are more than enough actual threats to the Second Amendment to keep gun owners busy. With two key Supreme Court decisions hanging by a one-vote margin, the Justice Department deeply involved in a cover-up of a disastrous Mexican gun smuggling operation, and President Obama touting a ban on popular semi-automatic firearms, there is no need to invent additional threats to our rights.

      • Bill

        How do you know that? Did you go to Chicago and interview the criminals?

      • Dennis M

        Google “New York Times Strict Gun Laws in Chicago” There’s a map showing where Where 50,000 Guns Recovered in Chicago Came From

      • UGH12

        All states have mandatory background checks per federal law, except if a person has a concealed handgun license or they aren’t purchasing a firearm from a licensed gun dealer, this assuming that the gun dealer is following the laws and most of them do.

      • Dennis M

        Many cite the city of Chicago as having some of the strongest gun laws in the country with a continually high rate of gun crime. Those same critics casually ignore the transformation of New York City from one of the most gun violent cities in the country to one of the safest, having thelowest number of homicides ever recorded in 2012. The vast discrepancy between the two cities simply demonstrates that gun laws, like all laws, are only effective to the extent that they are enforced. Chicago’s judicial system has been woefully negligent in catching, prosecuting and sentencing criminals for gun offenses. New York, conversely, has implemented some of the most rigorous police practices and sentencing guidelines for gun violations in the country as both its crime statistics and streets reflect. What both Chicago and New York unfortunately share is the blight of illegal guns funneled in from cities and states with weaker gun regulations. The vast majority of guns used in crimes on the streets of New York and Chicago originate in cities and states with little to no gun laws. Gun rights advocates are correct in criticizing the effectiveness of selective state and municipal gun measures, but only to the extent that it shows the need for comprehensive federal legislation.

      • John Gavel

        New yorks crime rate is directly related to their stop and frisk campaign. Heres somethinh i read today in the week- “As the nation remains locked in a bitter debate over reducing gun violence, two new studies released Tuesday found that shooting deaths and other gun crimes have already plunged since peaking in the 1990s. There were 18,253 gun-related killings in 1993, and 11,101 in 2011, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. With population growth, that meant that the rate of gun homicides dropped by nearly 50 percent — from seven per 100,000 people in 1993 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2010, Pew Research Center reported. And non-fatal gun crimes dropped even more sharply, by 69 percent.”

      • Dennis M

        Thats not true gun crime maybe down but the number of people shot has been increasing every year, 100,000 people are shot every year.
        A study from the Violence Policy Center showed
        Better Medical Care Has Kept Gun Death Constant, But Total Number of People Shot Has Risen Dramatically in the United States Survivors’ Injuries Often Chronic and Disabling
        The number of Americans killed by guns has remained fairly constant in the nine years for
        which complete data is available in the 21st century.
        Between 2000 and 2008, a total of 272,590 people died of gunshot injuries in the United States. This averages out to about 30,288
        gun deaths per year, a number shocking by comparison to any other developed country.
        But the common focus on gun deaths as a marker to illustrate America’s “gun problem” obscures an alarming trend. The number of persons who suffer nonfatal gunshot injuries―that is, who are shot but do not die―has risen over the same period. this means simply that more people are being shot by guns every year. In other words, America’s gun problem is getting worse, not better. More guns means more shootings. Between 2000 and 2008 a total of 617,488 people suffered nonfatal gunshot injuries in the United States. This averages to about 68,610 persons per year. In 2008, however―a year in which gun deaths totaled 31,593, only slightly above the period’s average―another 78,622 were shot but did not die, a figure markedly above the period’s average. Most striking, the total number of people shot in 2008 totaled 110,215―the highest total recorded during the nine-year period.
        Why have gun deaths remained fairly constant even though the total number of people shot is increasing? The answer is that improved emergency services and better medical care are saving lives that would otherwise be lost to guns.
        The authors of a landmark study in 2002 on the relationship between murder and medicine
        concluded that advances in emergency services―including the 911 system and establishment of trauma centers―as well as better surgical techniques have suppressed the homicide rate. They concluded that “…without these developments in medical technology there would have been between 45,000 and 70,000 homicides annually the past 5 years instead of an actual 15,000 to 20,000.”
        That finding is confirmed by anecdotal observations from law enforcement officials and the medical community. “It would be fair to say gunshot wound victims, if they suffered the same injury 25 years earlier, their chances of survival would be much less,” Dayton, Ohio, police major Pat Welsh said in April 2011. “It’s a credit to the advances in medical technology and procedures….”
        In Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Loring Rue, chief of trauma care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Trauma Center, said in commenting on the fact that while the number of violent crimes was increasing in Birmingham, the number of resulting
        deaths was falling, “I am convinced that not just our hospital, but all those who provide trauma care in Birmingham, make a distinct contribution to keeping the murder rate lower.”
        The bad news is that even nonfatal gunshot wounds often leave victims chronically damaged. “There have definitely been improvements in trauma care, and a remarkable job is being done in getting victims through life-threatening injuries, but we are still being left with injuries that drastically alter lives,” according to Dr. Selwyn Rogers, director of a trauma center in Boston.
        The January 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, in which U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was gravely injured, is a well-known, if not singular, example. Fifty percent of all trauma deaths are secondary to traumatic brain injury such as Representative Giffords suffered, and gunshot wounds to the head caused 35 percent of these.
        Gunshot wounds also account for about 15 percent of all spinal cord injuries in the United States.
        One question that remains unanswered is whether advances in care will outpace advances in gun lethality as the gun industry continues to militarize the civilian market with high capacity semiautomatic pistols, assault rifles, and high-caliber sniper rifles.10 “Many of the victims now have multiple gunshot wounds…,” then-District of Columbia police chief Charles H. Ramsey observed in 2003. “The criminals also use high-caliber, high-powered weapons.”
        As the authors of the 2002 study trenchantly observed, “At some point in contesting the
        outcome of criminal assault to the body, weaponry may yet trump medicine.”

      • John Gavel

        You really write long responses man- wayyyyy to long, cant even entertain it. Cant do ittt

        80% lower for ar15 come w no serial numbers, no need to register. God i loveeeeee it

      • Dennis M

        Can’t take that that much truth can you?

      • John Gavel

        no my iphone doesnt allow for a large enough screen and your paragraphs go into thing lines which is annoying to read

        your are arguing numbers from the federal bureau of stats with violence policy center- bias much?

      • “As a criminal defense attorney I will have you know that our laws are being enforced.”

        “Just because they aren’t being enforced very well in one place does not mean they aren’t being enforced in other places.”

        Just to point out this inconsistency, are the laws being enforced or not. Not to say that Chicago alone disproves all, however it would be fallacious that say that only Chicago doesn’t enforce it’s laws while every other city does.

      • Dennis M

        The idea that we don’t punish criminals is just false.The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.The United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation.China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison.It can
        cost more to keep someone in prison than it does to go to Harvard.Most pro gunners hate paying taxes now and I doubt would want to pay for more prisons.Just as a cost effective measure it makes more sense to try to get
        illegal guns out of circulation.
        Only 15% of guns used in crimes were
        stolen. Criminals get their guns on the black market that were diverted from legal markets due to lack trafficking laws and loopholes in back ground checks.Closing the loopholes would not had changed anything for the law abiding who were undergoing background checks anyway.The same holds true for tightening trafficking laws since the law abiding buy from from reputable dealers anyway.

    • Dennis M

      Some current laws that could be enforced are the ones The NRA is blocking enforcement of. Groups like the NRA while calling for stricter enforcement of law, behind the scenes are doing all they can to block enforcement.There has not been a head of the ATF in six years because the NRA gives money to Republican senators to block appointment of one. The NRA works as a money laundering lobby for gun manufacturers.There is no politician that would want to report he took money from Bushmaster so Bushmaster funnels money to politicians thru the NRA. The less gun laws there are the more guns the manufacturers can sell. Every gun whether it ended up illegal or legal made a profit the day it left the factory.Repealing the Tiahrt amendments would stop a lot of bad guys from getting guns.
      Today’s NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the gun industry.While the NRA portrays itself as protecting the ‘freedom’ of individual gun owners, it’s actually working to protect the freedom of the gun industry to manufacture and sell virtually any weapon or accessory.
      the NRA is the reason there is no serious debate about guns in Congress. So today we live under a series of laws written or advanced by the NRA. Today a state can impose a death sentence or life in prison on someone who commits murder with a firearm. But the “What, me worry?” gun dealer, who supplies multiple murderers with guns he claims were “stolen” from his inventory, guns he never recorded on his books, or guns he sold to straw buyers with a wink and a nod, can operate with virtual impunity, thanks to laws written by the NRA.
      One of these, passed in 1986, drastically reduced penalties for dealers who violate record-keeping laws, making violations misdemeanors rather than felonies. Another established an absurdly high standard of proof to convict dealers who sell to criminals. In 2003, Congress, at the NRA’s urging, barred the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the much-maligned agency responsible for enforcing federal gun laws, from forcing dealers to conduct inventory inspections that would detect lost and stolen guns. Car dealers like to know when inventory goes missing. Gun dealers? Not so curious.

      It’s easy to see why the NRA wants pro-criminal laws. Despite its bombast about liberty and patriotism, it is just the gun manufacturers trade group trying to sell product. Illegal sales are still sales—the criminal market represents 25 percent of all gun sales each year and the NRA does everything it can to protect this shadow market. It then doubles and triples legal sales by yelling “the criminals have guns”–in a mendacious business plan that plays the two sides against each other.

  • Sean

    Anyone here arguing that it was a good thing that criminals can get guns isn’t playing with a full deck.

    • John Gavel

      criminals are criminals because they do not follow the laws- simple as that, but keep making them for your peace of mind

      • Sean

        Then why do we have laws at all? If they are only for peace of mind right?

        Clearly didn’t think that one through Mr. Gavel.

      • John Gavel

        We have laws so individuals like you can sleep safe at night, bc we all know crimes arent happening every second and that jails are not over filled……I guess we could argue now that we have laws because jails are publicly traded companies now trying to turn a profit come to think of it

      • Sean

        They aren’t privatized in other countries, which yes gives us a larger prison population, but the argument that laws don’t work is provable as a false statement.

      • John Gavel

        Proved? How- by laws being broken every day?- yeah i guess that proves it hahahaha.

      • Sean

        We have these crazy things called statistics that ‘prove’ things.

      • John Gavel

        Statistics are never skewed, please keep going

      • Sean

        What do statistics being skewed have to do with laws preventing crime? No one is this daft.

      • John Gavel

        I guess im not understanding the point you are trying to make here sean because there is crime happening all around us, allday everyday

      • Sean

        So you must be typing all this whilst in the middle of a hail of gunfire? No. You live in a first world country surrounded by police who drive up and down your street and get paid to do so. You have 911 which means no emergency is more than 30 minutes to be responded to, which means you can afford the luxury of not understanding what it’s like to live in lawless areas like the Congo, Somalia, etc.

        Laws make sense to everyone, except you apparently.

      • This is standard Gunsuckery. John isn’t even smart enough to know how stupid he shows himself to be.

      • John Gavel

        I guess you are right Jan, my former roommate was not just gunned down in dc while parking his car. Howd those strict gun laws, police presence in the neighborhood (by the capitol) and first responders seconds away help him again? No crimes right- bc that would be against the law

      • So you think if your friend had a firearm that he could of protected him self from a criminal? Cause in any case, if I was a criminal , I would not hesitate to pull the trigger of my firearm faster before you had a chance to even draw yours out, specially if I know you have one or your hands were digging for something.

      • John Gavel

        Ahh ok so its better to not have the option of being armed? Think about what you just said haha it was ridiculous.

        He was shot something like eight times, maybe he could of got a shot off after the second which would cause the criminal to flee- i mean if i was a criminal i wouldnt want to get shot, i want to do the robbing and shooting

      • John Gavel

        Grew up in upstate ny- 518. House got robbed, we waited over 35 minutes for the state police to show up (after our neighbors all did- armed). We have county police but they were even further- why not call our towns police- well we are the second smallest incorporated town in nys- we didnt have a police force. Not every place is swarming with cops enforcing all the laws here sean. I dont know where you live- must be a city kid

      • Dennis M

        Did you call while it was in progress? Or are you upset that after the fact the police didn’t drop everything so you wouldn’t be inconvenienced for 35 min.

      • John Gavel

        Came home to robbery in progress- walked in on it actually- i was six with my mom- she was upset. Wouldnt anyone be?

        And what you are saying here dennis is- we cant rely on the police? Bc maybe they are to busy “to drop everything” guess thats why we are trying to protect ourselves there buddy

      • Dennis M

        DC v. Heller guarantees your right to have a gun for your defense in you home and no one is denying you that.

      • John Gavel

        Not really what me and sean were talking about there dennis

  • any restriction to gun rights is unconstitutional. The constitution is not something you can simply say “with this exception~”
    This whole arguement is flawed because background checks already prevented adam lanza from getting guns. You liberals sure are funny.

    • Ilyssa

      Believe whatever you want to believe about the constitutionality of background checks but legally speaking they are constitutional.

    • So, according to your argument, if we go by the original wording in the Constitution, women and minorities shouldn’t be allowed to vote and African Americans should still be slaves? The Constitution has been Amended 27 times and there are hundreds of cases on the books regarding specific challenges…laws are not absolute but open to interpretation. How can you possibly expect to know exactly what the Founding Fathers intentions were and how can you apply 18th Century law and interpretation to the 21st Century?

    • Dennis M

      Adam lanza didn’t need a background check because his mother gave him the guns thereby it was a private sale exempt from checks.
      It was first reported after the Newtown shootings that Adam shot his mother to gain access the the weapons.
      Search warrants since released show The Mother encouraged him to shoot as a worthwhile hobby.She took him to ranges.She saw to it that was NRA certified in gun safety.She bought guns for him. Search warrants found the gun safe unlocked and was kept in the son’s bedroom.They found the manuals for the guns in his closet.They found a check that was going to be for a gun he wanted for Xmas.The house was full of guns and ammo that he has access to. He shot her in her bed while she slept so he had possession of a weapon before he killed her.
      BTW even if the Manchin-Toomey amendment had passed Adam still would had been exempt from a background check

    • Read DC v. Heller. All the way through.

  • Beth

    Any FFL selling a firearm is already required to do a background check, regardless of the venue in which the sale is made. Yes, that includes gun shows and internet sales. Private citizens are not – but good luck getting THAT passed.How about you stop wasting your time and energy on this, and try getting your representatives to insist that mental health information be included in the NICS database that is used for background checks? THAT might actually prevent more tragedies, unlike your desire to put more regulatory burden on us already law-abiding gun owners.

    • Dennis M

      Funny Gun owners scream privacy invasion at the thought of any kind of gun registry.Yet their solution is a registry of all the mentally ill in case someday they may wish to buy a gun.
      The impassioned pleas to redress gun violence through treating mental illness would be more convincing if they didn’t come from many of the same elected officials who are responsible for cutting funding for mental health by $4.35 billion over the last four years. Additional resources for treating mental illness are also advanced as a panacea for gun violence without solving the riddle of how to compel mentally ill people to voluntarily help themselves.It’s not like you could stick a someones head in a x-ray machine and it would flash no gun for this guy As difficult as effective gun control may be, it will be slightly more challenging to outlaw insanity. Mental health is a great idea but it would hard to do in reality..Even if it were possible to identify potential shooters before a crime, there is another slight constitutional problem of restraining people for actions they have yet to take. Mental illness takes so many forms and its diagnosis is subjective.Most mentally ill are not violent.Most never seek treatment. By most accounts, mass shooters are introverts who only grow more reclusive prior to a shooting Usually there are no outward symptoms, How many time have seen we the news and they interview a neighbor who says ” well gee he seemed like nice guy,always waved hi,kept his yard clean” Who will decide if he
      has a thought that should be reported, his Doctor? Will a patient share his his darkness thoughts if he knows the doc will have to report it . What would be a dark thought that needs reporting? I want to kill somebody? how about I’ll kill anybody I don’t want on my in my house?There are a few gun owners seem to have a fantasy or two about killing in the name of self defense,”come and take it”,”don’t tread on me”, “protected by Smith & Wesson” “consider your man card reissued” “going out feet first” “stand your ground” “my cold dead fingers” “I am a gun owner this door is locked for your protection”. Would those be reportable thoughts? Mental illness is about thoughts.Gun bans should only be based on actions.I often see posted that most mass murderers on anti-depressants. So do we ban guns from anyone who ever took one.What if one suffers a major lost and and had to take antidepressants temporally should the state seize his weapon while he’s on them? What if his job got stressful and took something for anxiety? Insomnia? well Ambien makes you sleep walk, not a good thing for a gun owner.We cannot screen the whole population and deem who is fit and who is not. The only practical way is to screen only those who desire to own a weapon.Would you really want to have a psych exam to buy a gun?
      Calling for mental health solutions by gun owners just maybe a “case of be careful what you ask for”it could very well be a slippery slope you would want to avoid.

      • They want the registry so they can find people to shoot. “That there was a REGISTERED nutcase, I stood m’ground!”

    • Okay, Beth. What do you propose to do with Hunting Daddy, Purse-Protection Mommy, and a teenage Junior diagnosed with “conduct disorder” or “oppositional defiant disorder”?

      Who gets to keep their guns? Or does Junior have to be locked up to protect the family’s Second Amendment rights? Will medicating Junior create a compliant zombie, such that no guns are harmed? Might the family’s Guns! be confiscated if Junior is non-compliant with whatever treatment the mental-health experts say is required?

      What should have happened to Nancy Lanza’s gun collection, and what criteria might have been used to determine that Adam Lanza maybe shouldn’t be trained to shoot?

      Frankly, I think “Firearm Obsessional Disorder” should get its own DSM listing, between “Masculine Anxiety Syndrome” and “Paranoid Personality Disorder.”

      • John Gavel

        What are you even trying to say- ive read this two or three times and am baffled- wowwwwwww

      • Angus

        After reading your comments I now realise why you can’t argue with gun nuts. #1 they have the IQ of a horsefly and #2 stubborn as an ox. You say criminals won’t follow the laws, so why don’t we get rid of all the laws associated with driving and see the deaths from driving skyrocket

      • John Gavel

        1) how do you know horseflies have a low iq? 2) if criminals followed the law, they wouldnt be criminals- theyd be upstanding citizens- like the majority of gun owners.

      • Dennis M

        Jan,Four things to consider

        A GUN is a weapon designed to discharge a projectile,
        usually hand-held.

        A FETISH is an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a
        man-made object that has power over others.

        A PHALLIC SYMBOL is any cylindrical object that may be construed as representing a
        penis especially such an object that symbolizes power.

        CASTRATION ANXIETY is the fear of emasculation in both the literal and metaphorical
        sense.

        It kind of explains it , don’t you think?

  • Bill

    Nice ” for the children” argument. Do you support a woman’s right to an abortion? Yes? Then shut up about this “for the childre” crap. If you have a point (and maybe you do here), you render it worthless when you get hypocritical.

    • Bill

      Btw, being antagonistic and calling us “gun nuts” is hardly going to garner sympathy for your cause from those who might be sitting on the fence.

    • Ilyssa

      Your argument about hypocricy is a non-sequiter. Our other constitutional rights (privacy, liberty, and freedom) protect a women’s right to decide whether she think 6 or 8 cells is a “child.” and protects your right to decide that it is and other people’s right to decide that it isn’t. Sure those are living human cells, but so are cancer cells, and nobody suggests chemo is murder. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion it means pro-freedom. Secondly, your right it might be a bit antagonistic but it got you to read it didn’t it? There is an art to headlines good sir.

      • Bill

        The liklihood of a group of cancer cells ever growing into a human is around zero, I think. FYI, I am pro choice as well just not hypocritical when it comes to this issue. A human is a human regardless of how developed.

      • John Gavel

        Cancer cells are cells which has lost their ability to for controlled growth- its the exact opposite of a healthy cell- why its called cancer n why our body works to destroy these cells before they become an issue

      • John Gavel

        Comparing rogue cancer cells to healthy differentiated human cells- ready to become any part of your body (why we use embryos for stem cells). Interesting comparison there ilyssa haha. You got her with the pro-choice Bill- 35 million abortions since roe vs wade but thats ok bc its their “right”

      • Ilyssa

        You obviously hate the Constitution since you fail to take into account that you are talking about another constitutional right. Oh that’s right I forgot, your constitution only has one amendment and it’s the second one. Everyone else can just take their other rights and buzz off. Anyways, I’m done here. You want any more of my legal advice you can pay for it like every other client – and it doesn’t come cheap.

      • John Gavel

        69 people have commented on your story w 3k roughly liking it on facebook- bigggggg audience you got here. You and Allen are making quite the name for yourselves- chachingggg hahaha

        And I fail to see where I said I hate the constitution or even stated my stance on abortion- I merely put out the facts on the number of abortions since roe vs wade- 35 million. Thats alot of kids the Gifford’s could save (bc its about the kids)

      • Ilyssa

        I make a living off of being an attorney, this is just beer money. But, the more you keep commenting the more we make so keep it up. We appreciate it.

      • John Gavel

        Gotta pay back those student loans someway. And i bet you use it for beer money- whatever works right

  • Violette

    The argument that background checks should not be required because “the laws we have aren’t being enforced” is completely beside the point. I don’t care if someone is prosecuted because they they try to buy a gun and are turned down. It’s the fact that they were turned down that makes the difference. Over in 2010, 153,000 sales were denied due to background checks. Mostly because they were convicted felons. Yes, you might be able to get a gun through a criminal, but most people–even convicted felons–don’t have the connections. Just wander down to gang territory to get a gun and see what happens. I dare you.

    • John Gavel

      Just get a 3-d printer- hows it shoot if its plastic?

      • it breaks after about 5 shots, and that was with a very small calibre

      • Bine646

        Get an 80% lower, feds let you build an assault gun a yr. no serial numbers. Use 3d printer for magazines

  • John Gavel

    Here you go Ilyssa- “As the nation remains locked in a bitter debate over reducing gun violence, two new studies released Tuesday found that shooting deaths and other gun crimes have already plunged since peaking in the 1990s. There were 18,253 gun-related killings in 1993, and 11,101 in 2011, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. With population growth, that meant that the rate of gun homicides dropped by nearly 50 percent — from seven per 100,000 people in 1993 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2010, Pew Research Center reported. And non-fatal gun crimes dropped even more sharply, by 69 percent.”

  • Gun laws should be very strict , yes criminals will always find away but why give them an easier way. The thing is , the system is not harsh enough on people that take lives, it’s not strict enough or we would not have so many in prisons . Harsher laws for what fits the crime would detour more from doing the crime.

  • progressive? towards what?

    Gun background checks ruled unconstitutional

    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a key part
    of the Brady gun-control law, saying the federal government cannot
    compel local police to determine if buyers were fit to own handguns.

    In a 5-4 ruling that marked a huge victory for states’ rights,
    the court appeared to leave intact a required waiting period of
    up to five days before someone can buy a handgun. There would
    be no requirement for the government to check a prospective purchaser’s
    background during that period but local police could do it voluntarily.

    The decision, concluding the court’s 1996-97 term, wrapped up
    a dramatic week for the high court that also included major rulings
    on doctor-assisted suicide, smut on the Internet and religious
    freedom.

    White House reaction to the Brady ruling came swiftly. President
    Clinton, who made the law a centerpiece of his tough-on-crime
    platform during the 1996 campaign, ordered Attorney General Janet
    Reno and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to contact local law
    enforcement officials and let them know that local officials can
    still conduct background checks on their own.

    “The federal government may neither issue directives requiring
    the states to address particular problems, nor command the states’
    officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer
    or enforce a federal regulatory program,” Justice Antonin
    Scalia wrote for the court. “Such commands are fundamentally
    incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”

    The law is named after former press secretary James Brady, who
    was seriously wounded in the assassination attempt on President
    Reagan. It was passed in 1993 after bitter congressional battles
    and was strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association.

    “We feel vindicated by this decision,” said Wayne LaPierre,
    executive director of the NRA.

    The law directs the federal government to create a national system
    for instant background checks by late 1998. Until then, local
    police could continue to make background checks voluntarily.

    Scalia’s opinion was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
    and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence
    Thomas.

    Dissenting were Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth
    Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

    Stevens took the unusual step of reading for 18 minutes from his
    strongly-worded dissent.

    He said the background check requirement “is more comparable
    to a statute requiring local police officers to report the identity
    of missing children to the Crime Control Center of the Department
    of Justice than to an offensive federal command to a sovereign
    state.

    “If Congress believes that such a statute will benefit the
    people of the nation … we should respect both its policy judgment
    and its appraisal of its constitutional power,” Stevens said.

    The ruling is further evidence of the conservative court’s determination
    to shift the balance of power from the federal government toward
    the states.

    Last year, the justices ruled that Congress cannot force states
    into federal court to settle disputes over gambling on Indian
    reservations. In 1995, the court said Congress could not ban gun
    possession near schools.

    The Brady law was challenged in court by county sheriffs from
    Montana and Arizona.

    The Clinton administration unsuccessfully defended the background
    check requirement as a lawful effort to curb the thousands of
    handgun murders nationwide each year.

    The nationwide handgun-murder total dropped to 11,198 in 1995
    after averaging 13,000 a year during the previous three years.

    Also, the Justice Department estimated in February that police
    background checks since 1994 have blocked more than 186,000 illegal
    over-the-counter gun sales. In 72% of those cases, the prospective
    gun buyer had been convicted or indicted for a felony.

    The background check provision required local officials to make
    a “reasonable effort” to find out if a prospective gun
    buyer had a felony record, a history of mental illness or drug
    use, or other problem that would make the sale illegal.

    The law was challenged in federal court by Sheriff Jay Printz
    of Ravalli County, Mont., and by Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham
    County, Ariz. Mack left office in January after being defeated
    in a primary election.

    Printz said his department was understaffed and that conducting
    the background checks would force him to take deputies off patrol
    and investigation duties. Mack said the Brady law shifted the
    primary enforcement burden onto local officials.

    Federal judges in Montana and Arizona ruled that the federal government
    could not require local law enforcement officials to conduct the
    background checks.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, saying the requirement
    was a minor burden similar to the federal requirement that state
    officials report missing children or traffic fatalities. However,
    another appeals court ruled in a separate case that the law violated
    state sovereignty.

    Today, the Supreme Court said the 9th Circuit court was wrong.

    Scalia said the division of power between the federal government
    and the states “is one of the Constitution’s structural protections
    of liberty.”

    “The power of the federal government would be augmented immeasurably
    if it were able to impress into its service – and at no cost to
    itself – the police officers of the 50 states,” Scalia said.

    Before the decision was announced, Attorney General Janet Reno
    was asked by reporters if the proposed computerized federal gun
    check system would be ready by November 1998.

    “The system will be operational at that point, but what we
    all must strive to do is to make sure that the states’ histories
    are as accurate as possible, and we’re working with the states
    in that regard,” she said.

    The cases are Printz vs. U.S., 95-1478, and Mack vs. U.S., 95-1503.

  • ScottfromMilwaukee

    Using your logic on the Constitutionality of background checks, you should have to have a background check before you could post this article. You cannot pick and choose which amendment you choose to honor. We must treat the 1st amendment with the same reverence that we treat the 2nd. “Shall NOT be Infringed”. You can’t have it both ways, well not Constitutionally anyways.

  • Bruhn

    Yes, a universal background check is unconstitutional. Commerce clause of the Constitution allows the Fed to regulate interstate commerce. Private sales between individuals within a State is intrastate commerce.

  • Daniel