Paul Jenkins: Expanded gun control rules are doomed to fail in US

commentJuly 6, 2013 

The pseudo-logic embraced by gun control ninnies to arrive at "common sense" solutions in their hysterical crusade against the Second Amendment defies reality. It requires that you believe laws prevent bad people from doing bad things; that spoons make people fat; and that the argument about guns really has nothing to do with government control.

You also must overlook plunging violent crime rates despite increased gun ownership, the ever-declining number of mass shootings -- a lightning strike poses more danger -- and ignore the fact that localities with the strictest gun control are plagued by the most crime. But our betters never tire of trying to push us down their rabbit hole.

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- wounded in 2011 by a deeply troubled man who killed six at an Arizona political event -- and her retired astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, are the latest to urge "responsible" gun ownership.

"Expanding background checks will help create a uniform standard for all gun purchases and prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining powerful weapons," Giffords wrote in a USA Today opinion piece.

She is dreadfully wrong. It would do neither.

Giffords and Kelly formed "Americans for Responsible Solutions" and are on a quixotic quest through seven states to peddle universal background checks for all firearms sales. They plan to spend $20 million to get their way.

The idea is to visit states with lawmakers who in April thankfully balked at supporting deceptive congressional legislation that would have imposed universal background checks -- while establishing a de facto national gun register, gutting the federal Firearms Owners' Protection Act and consolidating state-held personal information. Sen. Mark Begich joined those refusing to participate in the cynical effort to parlay the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School murders into a gun control tour de force.

In Alaska, Giffords and Kelly met with gun owners and gave Begich, facing an expensive, hotly contested election next year, a welcome opportunity to defend the Second Amendment.

Begich's break with gun-grabbers angered Democrats and folks like anti-gun New York Mayor Mike "Big Gulp" Bloomberg, but his recalcitrance will pay dividends. Getting roughed up for protecting gun rights is political gold in Alaska.

Voters here understand gun control rhetoric routinely is disingenuous or simply wrong. Kelly, for instance, wondered how many people denied guns at stores, with mandatory background checks, then bought one at a gun show or on the Internet, an Associated Press story reported.

You cannot buy guns willy-nilly on the Internet and have them sent to you -- unless you are a licensed dealer. The rest of us must have them shipped through a licensed dealer, fill out a federal form and get National Instant Criminal Background Check System approval.

Criminals ignore that. Forty percent of them get guns on the streets, another 40 percent from family and friends. Gun shows and flea markets? Less than 2 percent obtain them there, statistics show.

What about the mentally ill or drug abusers? They are the problem -- and there may be no answer. Virtually invisible to current background checks, they likely will remain so. Jared Loughner, accused of shooting Giffords, filled out necessary forms and won approval to buy a gun. He had not been adjudicated mentally ill and his name was not in the system. His case is not unique

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Bloomberg's website, reports 23 states and the District of Columbia have forwarded fewer than 100 mental health records to NICS. Seventeen submitted fewer than 10; four, none. Forty-four have submitted fewer than 10 records to the controlled substance file at NICS; 33, none. Most federal agencies do not share substance abuse records with NICS.

Advocacy groups oppose expanding NICS, citing privacy concerns and fears of discouraging the mentally ill from seeking help.

Add to all that repeated federal attempts to create a national firearms registry -- despite a law prohibiting it -- and you can see why expanded checks are unwelcome in many quarters: they simply will not work. Criminals do not ask permission, the mentally ill are invisible -- and expanded checks would give far too much information to an untrustworthy government.

Nobody wants criminals or the mentally ill to have access to firearms, but totally preventing it in a free society requires frighteningly draconian measures. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote to James Madison: "Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium."

"I prefer liberty with danger to slavery with security."


Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.

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