If Gun Buyers Were Mexican

The NYT has a follow-up on Charlie Savage’s earlier article about all the gun safety provisions lying dormant at DOJ. It describes the gaps in the background check system due to states not sharing their data with the federal government.

Nearly two decades after lawmakers began requiring background checks for gun buyers, significant gaps in the F.B.I.’s database of criminal and mental health records allow thousands of people to buy firearms every year who should be barred from doing so.

The database is incomplete because many states have not provided federal authorities with comprehensive records of people involuntarily committed or otherwise ruled mentally ill. Records are also spotty for several other categories of prohibited buyers, including those who have tested positive for illegal drugs or have a history of domestic violence.

In the past I’ve drawn a comparison between our country’s treatment of terrorists and gun nuts, arguing that it has prioritized the less urgent threat.

But this background check database raises interesting comparisons with DHS’ Secure Communities, particularly the effort to ensure that any undocumented person arrested for a crime gets deported. Like terrorism, Secure Communities has hit a point of diminishing returns. As with terrorism, Secure Communities is built to allow for false positives.

Nevertheless, the government has prioritized getting that database completely functioning, with participation from every state.

While the law also allowed the Justice Department to withhold some general law enforcement grant money from states that did not submit their records to the system, the department has not imposed any such penalties, the G.A.O. found.

Not so with gun buyers, apparently.

And the comparison here offers one other lesson. One reason for the delay in data-sharing from the states is the difficulty in implementing an appeals process.

After the Virginia Tech shooting, Congress enacted a law designed to improve the background check system, including directing federal agencies to share relevant data with the F.B.I. and setting up a special grant program to encourage states to share more information with the federal government. But only states that also set up a system for people to petition to get their gun purchasing rights restored were eligible under the law — a key concession to the National Rifle Association — which proved to be an extra hurdle many states have not yet overcome.

Frankly, ensuring people have due process is one of the least offensive things the NRA does (would that they championed the civil rights of felons more generally).

If we demand this for gun ownership, why don’t we demand it for far more damaging terrorism and deportation data mining?

Tweet about this on Twitter3Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook1Google+0Email to someone

3 Responses to If Gun Buyers Were Mexican

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @yeselson @reftpt @StephanieKelton Still, pretty stark then to now.
3mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @reftpt: I've seen this before but I can never get over it. MT @StephanieKelton: #LaborDay poster from 1956. http://t.co/rFJ8LH9147
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @drfarls But ... academics. Aren't rules socialist there? (And before I realized today was Sun, was gonna say no one takes Mon classes)
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @fmanjoo Also never seen people saying "Oh well, JP Morgan Chase shouldn't have any responsibility to secure online stuff" @steveglista
12mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @drfarls Surely they can't have classes scheduled for the day after labor day?
14mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @mmasnick There's a VIrgin joke here but I'll spare you. @VirginAmerica
16mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @sarahjeong: @darth @strngwys if technology isn't *reasonably* creep-proof, someone fucked up.
22mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @fedbooks Better D than Richard Sherman? Doubt it. Better than last year? Yes.
22mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @memefan2000 Sure. Great ads. But he was also the first for whom it was a kiss of death for his day job.
25mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Ut oh. Richard Sherman does the Campbell's Soup ad that is generally a kiss of death for the season.
27mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV I'm gonna need more popcorn to get through the second half of this game.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Heh. #GoACC They still have the worst officiating in college football. Two major blown calls in a row.
59mreplyretweetfavorite
December 2012
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031