On Friday, “Dirty Jobs” expert Mike Rowe posted his thoughts on President Obama’s call for broadening background checks on firearms purchases.
He said that although he supports background checks, he doesn’t see the point in expanding them.
The White House would be mistaken to assume that I oppose background checks on gun purchases. I do not. I’m just skeptical that expanding a broken system is the best way to keep guns away from bad guys and lunatics.
Currently, thousands of people deemed mentally incompetent by the courts are NOT registered in our National Check System. That’s insane, if you’ll pardon the irony, in part because it’s so easily correctible. Likewise, The ATF says that most states report less than 80% of their felony convictions to the national system. As a result, nearly 7 million convicted felons are not currently registered. Is it any surprise that nearly every mass killer in recent memory passed a background check?
Seems to me, our current system is only as good as the records in it, and right now, those records are laughably incomplete. But even more troubling are the tens of thousands of people who ARE in the system, that keep trying to buy guns illegally with absolutely no consequence.
Lying on your application to purchase a firearm is a federal offense, but very few are prosecuted for doing so. According to Politico, the Feds have prosecuted just 1.5% of all those individuals who have attempted to purchase a gun illegally. If my math is correct, that means 98.5% of people who are NOT allowed to own a gun, have not been prosecuted for trying to buy one.
Maybe it’s a manpower problem? Maybe it’s a resource problem? But whatever the reason, many thousands of individuals who try to purchase a gun illegally are allowed to keep on trying. Many eventually succeed, and then use that gun in the commission of a crime. This strikes me a serious problem. And yet, I’ve received no tweets from my favorite action heroes, asking me to support an effort to fix the system we have. Why is that?
To be clear, I’m not a member of The NRA. Last time I joined a club it was The Boy Scouts, and that was a long time ago. But from what I can tell, the NRA is not the reason that so many criminals and lunatics are able to buy guns today. Nor do they appear to oppose the kind of overhaul that would give us a more effective check system. In fact, wasn’t it The NRA that demanded background checks back in the mid-nineties, the moment the technology was first made available?
Regardless, we now possess the technology to update and maintain an accurate data base of felons, lunatics, gang members, terrorists, B-list celebrities, and other unsavory types that we can all agree should never be allowed to own a weapon. We also possess the ability to identify and prosecute anyone who attempts to buy a gun illegally. But if we don’t have the resources or the commitment to administer and enforce the system we have, why in the world would we want to make it bigger?
#When there’s a hole in your net, you don’t need a bigger net; you need a smaller hole.
#When your foundation is shaky, you don’t keep building on top of it, you knock it down and start over.
Should The White House ever find itself in need of a tweet in support of that approach, please help yourself to either of the above. But if our elected officials are going to rely on actors and comedians to advance their political agendas, let’s not limit them to 140 characters or a list of pre-approved talking points. Seriously, where’s the fun in that? In the name of authenticity, let’s encourage our celebrities to use their own words.
Hey – it seems to be working for Trump…
Rowe followed up with this tweet and found plenty of kindred spirits on social media:
— The Real Mike Rowe (@mikeroweworks) January 15, 2016
— John Hatter (@Decoder2) January 16, 2016
@mikeroweworks You oughta run for POTUS cuz you have more common sense than any politician. At least on this point 😉
— Vicky (@Vicky_NM_USA) January 16, 2016
@mikeroweworks thanks for eloquently voicing an opinion shared by many. PS got my permit cause bad guys don’t care about background checks
— amy schmidt (@p00kee1970) January 15, 2016
@mikeroweworks From one Marylander to another, you da man, Mike. You’re welcome to tag along for a range trip any time 🙂
— DC-W (@DC_W9000) January 15, 2016
— Daniel Porter (@danielporter731) January 15, 2016
@mikeroweworks Dammit Rowe. Your common sense is refreshing as hell. Unfortunately, elected officials don’t care if it doesn’t help them
— MopedWheelieMaster (@MattPomy) January 16, 2016
There are a few commonsensical people in Washington — it’s just that they’re drowned out by the screaming quacks in the White House.
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