The following is a guest editorial and analysis by Sam Bocetta of Gun News Daily
It’s incredibly rare for proposed gun laws to be anything but a blunt instrument used to casually strip the right to bear arms from law-abiding Americans. That’s why it’s such a shame that the one piece of legislation beneficial to gun owners, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, comes with a poison pill in the form of “Fix NICS.”
The Fix NICS Bill aims to improve on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which became an easy target for angry liberals after the Sutherland Springs shooter purchased a gun because of information missing from his NICS files.
That seems like a noble cause at first glance, and it even got bipartisan support, something that’s unheard of for most gun bills. There’s just one major problem – fixing NICS will do nothing except make it even worse.
The first thing to understand with this initiative to fix NICS is that in this case, “fix” is a codeword for “expand.” The federal government would be taking a system with a terrible track record and making it even bigger. It’s not like the government has done a good job in the first place when it comes to large computer systems and emergent technology. It’s not surprising that blockchain-based gun companies like Blocksafe (TRIG) have fared better than most government-backed blockchain systems.
NICS already misses on thousands of gun buyers who would be barred from purchasing firearms because of something on their records. And guess what happens when NICS gets it wrong? The FBI sends a request for ATF agents to retrieve those guns. It issues thousands of these requests every year. Since the ATF is already understaffed, many times, those agents simply decide that the buyer doesn’t seem dangerous.
That’s usually a safe assumption, because of all the NICS denials, 95 percent end up being false positives.
Politicians such as Chris Murphy and Dianne Feinstein have claimed that the Fix NICS bill would result in the NICS having more accurate information, which would help keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Because as we know, if a criminal can’t purchase a gun legally, they just give up and decide to make an honest living.
In reality, if Fix NICS gets passed, then the government will be combing through Social Security, Obamacare, Medicaid, and Medicare looking for records of medical collections, as well as ADHD, Alzheimer’s, PTSD and other common mental disorders in conjunction with people who have had guardians appointed. If you fit that description, good luck purchasing a gun.
It may seem absurd, but there are 257,000 veterans who served our country and had their right to bear arms taken because of traumas they suffered. All they did was seek counseling, only to have their psychiatrists appoint guardians over their finances. Just like that, they were on the NICS ban list, and several even had their guns confiscated by police.
What we have in Fix NICS is a bill that does nothing to stop criminals from getting guns but threatens the gun rights of many veterans. For those veterans, their only line of defense if an armed intruder breaks in may be a loosely holstered handgun within arm’s reach of the bed, or ultra compact pistol under your pillow. Fix NICS could leave them with nothing.
Veterans aren’t the only ones who will suffer if Fix NICS passes, as it would also bar gun purchases by fugitives of justice. Again, this sounds like a good idea, until you learn that the most common crime committed by a “fugitive of justice” is forgetting to pay a traffic ticket.
Considering the damage Fix NICS would do, it’s mind-boggling that the House Leaders would include it in the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. It would seem that it was thrown in there to appease the left, but if so, it hasn’t been successful. Even with the inclusion of Fix NICS, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has still receive substantial criticism from misinformed liberals who think it would invite criminals to carry guns.
Although NICS background checks may be a sound concept, the execution has been lacking. Preventing criminals from buying guns is something that any American can get behind, but every person still has the right to due process.
It’s a tenet of our democracy that people must have due process before we strip any rights away from them. The way the NICS works right now, it directly conflicts with that, because it has taken veterans’ gun rights away without that due process. Expanding the NICS through the Fix NICS bill will only endanger more of the veterans who risked their lives to protect this country.
Sam Bocetta is Editor-in-Chief of Gun News Daily