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My Musings: Background Checks
So, as before, I wrote a bit about my thoughts on the expansion of background checks that may occur. In theory, with a working check system and no registry I would support the idea, but current proposals do not meet the standards for my own support.

Anyhow, here's what I bothered to write up on the matter, expanded references available in PM on request;

Quote: The United States Senate Judiciary Committee is about to debate and potentially vote on several gun control measures, the most popular of these measures being a proposal to expand mandated background checks on firearms transfers. As the Washington Post and other outlets have recently highlighted current bi-partisan discussions over a background check proposal have hit a significant setback with debates over record-keeping requirements. Regardless of these technical discussions over the actual language of proposals when polling is done on the general question as to whether or not the public supports background checks the answer is an overwhelming "Yes" (O'Keefe & Horwitz, 2013).

As it is said, though, the devil is in the details, and without a clear certainty as to the language of legislation that might yet pass gun-sellers and gun owners are justifiably wary about what the legislation will require of them. Whether record-keeping becomes an element of the law or not it is apparent that the legislation will build upon the National Instant Check System operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A complete replacement of this system is highly unlikely and would be, altogether, impractical at this time. It is relatively safe to assume, although never with absolute surety, that any legislation to pass mandating more background checks will create an influx of checks into this system. Federally licensed gun dealers and private gun owners, therefore, can have a reasonable expectation of what background-check legislation will require based on current practices.

What the general public may not know when they answer "Yes" in support of background checks is exactly what such checks will mandate of firearms transferors and transferees. Some of the present issues with the NICS checks that will be dramatically expanded if more background checks are required ought to be addressed. Currently, in the states that allow federally licensed firearms dealers to conduct a NICS check directly dealers will either contact NICS by phone or through the Internet to run a background check. For these dealers calls and internet checks are usually completed quickly, but many dealers work in states that require a State-level system to contact NICS on the dealers behalf. In fact the majority of the background checks processed through NICS are done through these state users (2011 NICS Operations).

As such, it is worth noting that the expanded NICS checks new law would require will be forced through state-level systems that, in many cases, are overburdened by current call volumes. Employees for federally licensed dealers in Pennsylvania have recently been subjected to the failures of the Pennsylvania Instant Check System where phone calls to run background checks are met with busy signals and where employees can be left on hold for over an hour simply to speak to an operator who contacts NICS on their behalf. The failings of the Pennsylvania system, however, cannot compare to the problems in Colorado. Prior to December 13th of last year the average queue time for a background check through the CBI InstaCheck Unit exceeded 40 minutes and the CBI's statistic report for the month of December notes that " Due to the high volume experienced in December, Average Queue Times are not avalible[sic] between 12/13/2012 - 12/31/2012. The approximate Average Queue time for the Internet/Phone from this time period ranged from 7 - 10 days" ("Firearms Statistics", 2013).

With background checks to be expanded these state-level systems will face increasing burdens. The most glaring problem of all is that as State and Federal governments look to expand the required number of background checks relatively few are looking to fix the issues with the current systems. Instead the news headlines simply regurgitate the obvious message that most people support background checks when they never bother to ask the pollsters if the respondents even know what a background check really requires. Some Senators even propose adding a background check on ammunition sales; a requirement that if implemented without a change to current systems would overburden the systems to such an extreme, and cause an extreme increase in ammunition prices, that serious constitutional questions will arise simply over the reasonableness of the time-frame that the government may delay rights to the innocent in hopes to weed out the criminal few.

If Congress passes into law a mandate for expanded background checks without addressing current issues the laws of unintended consequences will rule the day. It can take longer for a citizen to buy a gun than for states to implement new gun laws and those intent on implementing new laws seem to have no such haste to fix the issues they create. If a background check bill passes and background check systems are not fixed expect the courts to hear the matter shortly. It may take a judge's order to get current state background check systems into working order without new federal law, but with a new proposal enacted into law litigation is likely, if not certain.
IronSight, proud to be a member of since Sep 2012.
I hadn't thought about the pics fee being added to ammo sales. if there is one thing that would encourage bulk sales, that's probably it. good write up. I still support complete removal of nics/pics. the only way I'll be okay with even a small and incremental increase in the bg check process is if there is truly compromise and we get national carry and mandatory police training on firearm rights of citizens/fines for those who abuse their position of authority by hassling law abiding gun owners. I'm dreaming, I know.

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