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Biden to Congress: Ban ‘Assault Weapons’

By: Teresa Mull

Joe Biden is doing what gun owners knew he’d do: call on Congress to take away every law-abiding American’s Second Amendment rights.

On the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting, Biden said in a statement:

Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) notes so-called “assault weapons” are “the most commonly-owned rifles in America.” The organization also warns supporters background checks are a guise intended to create a Universal Gun Registration and force “every gun sale into a government database.”

“Once again, anti-gunners are shamelessly exploiting a tragedy to advance their political agenda that will do absolutely NOTHING to curb senseless gun violence,” Gun Owners of America wrote in a message to supporters. "Instead, by creating more and more obstacles for decent and honest citizens to acquire firearms, anti-gunners are ensuring that ONLY evil-doers will get their hands on guns."

The facts, of course, are not on the side of would-be gun controllers, not that they care. GPM has reported in the past (and it bears repeating):

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to check on the criminal status of firearms purchases, was launched in 1998. NICS represents the most recent expansion of gun control at the federal level. For the gun control crowd, though, NICS is not enough. They now want to add another layer of gun control through the establishment universal background checks (UBCs), which require costly background checks on all firearms transactions— even private sales and transfers. Twelve states already have UBCs on the books.

NICS doesn’t work. The Crime Prevention Research Center reports:

Ninety-three percent of NICS denials turned out to be false positives There were 71,010 initial NICS denials in 2009. Of those denials, just 4,681, or 6.6 percent were sent over to the BATF field offices for further review. On the topic of denials, the U.S. Department of Justice reported, “The remaining denials (66,329 – 93%) did not meet referral guidelines or were overturned after review by Brady Operations or after the FBI received additional information.”

…in other words, a huge majority of the time, the people being denied access to firearms are not criminals, but are law-abiding citizens who happen to share the same name with a criminal.

NICS Disproportionately Punishes Minorities, Military Veterans
The bureaucratic errors inherent in NICS that create false positives negatively affect minorities the most because they are more likely to have similar names.

What’s more, NICS is more likely to punish military veterans, too, because 99.3 percent of mental health NICS names were veterans in 2012 according to research from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Been There, Banned That

What's more, the U.S. has already dabbled in an “assault weapons” ban, and a 2004 National Institute of Justice concluded, "…[T]here has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury."

Teresa Mull (teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.

 
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