Background Checks Reduce Gun Violence?

I just came across this article labeled California’s Background Check Law Had No Impact On Gun Deaths, Johns Hopkins Study Finds. Interested, I read it and found in the second paragraph, that the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California at Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, determined that background checks had no impact on gun deaths.

Anyone with common sense would realize that this is no big surprise, but these “smart and educated” people cannot understand why this isn’t working. People who have been following firearm and 2A related news, will likely understand that California has highly restrictive gun laws. Some of these include the bullet button, restricting certain firearm accessories, private sales processed through an FFL, magazine capacity restrictions, a 15 day wait on firearm transfers and other restrictions.

Politicians claim these laws will reduce firearm crimes, murders, suicides, and accidental death. They also are quick to include young children in murder and criminal statistics, to play on those that don’t understand firearms. Statistically, young child gun related deaths are a result of children who are uneducated with firearms, that accidentally shoot themselves due to their curiosity.

Jon Miltimore (2018) quotes, “The legislation would ‘keep more guns out of the hands of the people who shouldn’t have them,’ said then-Republican Gov. George Deukmejian.

‘I think the new laws are going to help counter the violence,” said LAPD spokesman William D. Booth.’”

Miltimore (2018) also states that “following implementation of California’s law with 32 control states that did not have such laws, they found ‘no change in the rates of either cause of death from firearms through 2000.’”

It boggles these researcher’s mind as to why these laws don’t seem to work. Well let’s look at why these criminal acts are not affected by such laws. Webster defines a criminal as “one who has committed a crime,” and “a person who has been convicted of a crime.” The definition of crime is, “an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government.” Another words, a criminal is one who disregards and violates the law. Would a criminal follow certain laws in order to violate others?

Logical reasoning, which anyone with common sense should do, would lead one to believe that someone that is intent on using a firearm for illicit activity, would disregard the law. Why? Because they are criminals. If someone wants to purchase a firearm to…worse case scenario, murder someone, or maybe rob a store, would not to go through the proper channels, and for good reason. Why would a criminal avoid a background check?

Anyone that has legally purchased a firearm, knows they have to fill out an ATF Form 4473, (link provided for info.) Lying on this form is a violation of federal law and a felony, thus a criminal act. Once filled out, a background check is performed in accordance with local, state, and federal law. Contrary to popular belief, even when you purchase a firearm from an FFL at a gun show, the process is the same. There is no loophole. The FFL also uses a log book that tracks where the firearm came from and where and who it went.

This allows law enforcement agencies to track a firearm collected from a crime scene, from manufacturer to the FFL that makes the initial sale. So don’t gun laws help reduce gun violence?

Knowing that by following the law and getting a background check to acquire a firearm, through private party transfer or FFL sale, information will be tracked to a point. A criminal doesn’t want to get caught if at all possible, especially prior to committing the act. When someone purchases a firearm from an FFL, his or her information is collected, and kept up to 20 years after the FFL gives up their license. That info would allow law enforcement to identify the individual that legally obtained the firearm.

Also, if the purchaser has derogatory information in NICS, such as any disqualifiers listed on the Form 4473, then they would be unable to acquire the firearm through legal means, which is the point of the system. Is it any real surprise that a criminal will get a firearm by means of avoiding background check?

I wish that more people would understand this concept. It’s annoying to think people believe more gun laws will stop criminals from committing a crime. Last I checked, felons, domestic abusers, and drug users (yes, even recreation or medical marijuana that is legal in your state,) are prohibited from owning firearms. Stealing or robbing is a crime. Murdering is a crime. Lying on the ATF Form 4473 is a crime. Purchasing a firearm for someone else (straw man purchase,) is a crime, however, purchasing a firearm as a gift for someone that can legally own it is legal. If someone is going to use a firearm to commit a criminal act, would you think they would follow the law to legally obtain a firearm?

Links and references:

ATF (2020). Form 4473.

Miltimore, Jon (December 18, 2018). California’s Background Check Law Had No Impact on Gun Deaths, Johns Hopkins Study Finds.

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