Stuff the NRA Says: “Background Checks Don’t Work”

We must admit, this is something they say all the time. Over and over and over again. With as much as they say it, it is boggling that they are always talking about how we need to add more records to the NICS system. We’ll just chalk that one up pure, unadulterated pandering to those odd few who believe the NRA supports reasonable gun laws (in case you missed it: they don’t). But they said it again! And this time, it is particularly foolish.

Before we delve into the mess that is the NRA’s newest “background checks don’t work” rant, it seems like a good idea to let you read it. Here it is.

Now here are their points, in order:

“Background checks don’t work because there aren’t enough records in the NICS system.” That one is actually almost valid. The truth is, lots of states do an awful job of reporting all of their records to the background check system. That’s something that probably should be fixed. But it also has nothing to do with the effectiveness of background checks in general. Here is a fact to counter that: since the Brady Bill and the background checks connected to it came into effect, over 2 million sales have been denied due to the checks, even with the poor record submission of a number of states. That’s effectiveness.

“Background checks don’t stop criminals from trying to obtain firearms.” To be honest, we’re not entirely sure what that is supposed to mean. If it just means what it says, and there isn’t some hidden gun lobby secret meaning we aren’t getting, that seems like a pretty pointless and obvious statement. “Speeding laws don’t prevent people from speeding” would be another example of the same thing. It is just a rephrasing of their “criminals commit crimes” thing again.

“Background checks don’t prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms.” See two paragraphs above as the response is exactly the same.

“Background checks haven’t stopped mass shootings.” Okay, sure, they haven’t. Know what else hasn’t? “Good guys with guns.” But background checks do reliably limit the access criminals, domestic abusers, and other prohibited persons have to guns. And that does, as data has shown over and over, decrease the number of shootings, gun deaths, and specifically firearm suicides. The exact opposite is true for more “good guys with guns.”

So there you have it. The NRA’s latest attempt to dismiss background checks again ends in total failure. Here is an interesting note to finish up with though: the NRA, specifically Wayne LaPierre, has been trying to take credit for the creation of the background check system for the past few weeks. First, that’s a dirty lie. Second, why are they trashing a system they claimed to create? What in the world would the point of that be? It is like saying “hey everyone, look at this neat and reasonable thing we did! Oh yeah, it is totally useless!” Thankfully for the sane side of things, neither of the NRA’s claims is true: background checks work and it has nothing to do with the gun lobby (if anything, they work in spite of the gun lobby).

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