5/22/2013

Jeff Nugent's support for background checks

I have known Ted Nugent for many years and have recently gotten to know his brother Jeff.  Both are very interesting and smart people who I respect.  But I am writing this note because of Jeff's very disappointing op-ed in the Washington Post.  The op-ed is more a list of feelings and attacks on those who oppose his position than any actual facts.


I believe strongly that expanding and improving mandatory background checks will keep a lot of people who aren’t entitled to Second Amendment rights from having easy access to guns.

Everyone wants to keep criminals from getting guns, but the evidence for background checks effectively doing this is what?  I have seen lots of studies by criminologists and economists, but I don't know any that show that background checks by the federal or state governments have reduced any type of crime rate.

Why would responsible gun owners want to protect people who threaten not only our safety but our gun rights? . . .

Enhanced background checks need not threaten the Second Amendment. Why are the NRA and the elected representatives who support it so slow to realize this? Or do they fear a slippery slope toward greater restrictions on gun rights? If they don’t want to burden a flawed system, they should be part of fixing it.

I oppose expanding background checks, but I would strongly argue against the claim that I "want to protect people who threaten not only our safety but our gun rights." The problem is that virtually everyone who is stopped under the current system is a law-abiding individual.  

If you primarily stop law-abiding citizens who need to get guns quickly for self-defense and not criminals, crime rates can rise, not fall.  

1) It would have been nice if Jeff Nugent had requested that the huge false positive rate with the current background system were fixed.  

2) Suppose that Jeff is right that background checks lower crime rates, everyone should pay for it, not just people who are buying guns.  If everyone benefits from a government policy, everyone should pay for it.

3) The system is supposed to be an "instant" check system.  The Manchin-Toomey bill speeds up checks for gun shows to be done in 48 hours, versus the 72 hours under the current law.  It obtains this 48 hour limit by switching resources from background checks at gun stores and using them for gun shows.  48 hours will still be useless for gun shows because the vast majority only last two days.  If you buy a gun on Saturday morning, the approval process can be delayed until Monday morning.  As it is, my research finds that so-called gun show regulations reduced the number of gun shows in a state by about 20 percent.

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