Posts Tagged ‘universal background checks’

Why Universal Background Checks Cannot Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of People With Mental Disabilities – – What Can

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

by  Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council 


Keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental disabilities is a goal supported by everyone from Gun Violence Prevention Groups (GVP) to the NRA and gun lobby and gun owners.


But they differ on how this can be done. GVPs believe—fervently—that Universal Background Checks (UBC)—a background check for every gun sold whether by a dealer, in a private sale, over the Internet or by mail order—will keep guns out of dangerous hands. The gun lobby opposes UBCs and advocates “fixing the mental health system.” “If we had no mentally ill people, the problem would be solved.” But this is a red herring.


The position ignores all the developed countries with the same percentage of people with mental disabilities as the U.S. but not the same gun violence. Why? They have sane gun laws preventing gun proliferation and people with mental disabilities having access to them.


Even if we had UBC the problem of keeping guns out of the hands of mentally disabled people would not be solved. Why? Because the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)—the database maintained by the FBI intended to flag prohibited purchasers when they try to buy guns— is missing 93% of the mental health records.


How many mental health records should be in NICS?


Psychologist Martha Stout, a clinical instructor at Harvard medical school, indicates in her book “The Sociopath Next Door” that four percent of the U.S. population consists of “conscienceless” sociopaths—12 million Americans. Based on data provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 28.7% of American adults—66.5 million people—have been diagnosed and live with mental illnesses including major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar and anxiety disorder.


The June 30, 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report shows  a total of14.8 million prohibited purchasers in the NICS Database of which 4.5 million are in the category of Adjudicated Mental Health (Mentally Disabled). But the NICS database should have 66.5 million mentally disabled prohibited purchasers entered—not 4.5 million—62 million records (93%) are missing.


Almost Empty Glass Clip Art at - vector clip art onlin


Clearly, with 62 million mental health records missing, UBC cannot possibly keep guns out of the hands of people with mental disabilities. Eighty-five percent of all mass gun killers since 1982 passed their background check; all but 12 shooters in over 81 mass shootings were legal gun owners


Recent high profile murderers confirm this dangerous situation is ongoing. The Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge shooters and the Tucson, Aurora, Fort Hood, Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, Planned Parenthood, Chattanooga, Kalamazoo, Roanoke, Umpqua, and Lafayette shooters all passed their background checks.




Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council

Dangerous People Who Should Not Have Guns Routinely Pass Their Brady Background Checks. What Can Be Done?

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

By Elliot Fineman

CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council


Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Fund Memorializes Mom, 3 Kid

Since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was established, FBI data show that 222 million Brady background checks were conducted from 1998 to 2015. Of those 2.4 million (1.2%) were blocked.


We are told to take comfort from these data but what we are not told is how many of the 220 million that were not blocked should have been. (The NRA has made sure these data cannot be collected.)


Over 85% of Mass Killers Pass Their Background Checks


According to Mother Jones magazine, of 83 mass shootings since 1981, all but 12 were legal gun owners meaning that 71 (over 85%) had passed their Brady background check.


Recent high-profile murderers who passed their Brady background checks include the Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge shooters and the Tucson, Aurora, Fort Hood, Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, Planned Parenthood, Chattanooga, Kalamazoo, Roanoke, Umpqua, and Lafayette shooters.


Purchasers With a History Of Violence, Domestic Abuse and Anger Issues Consistently Pass Their Background Checks.


Almost daily we hear the toll of gun owners who passed their background checks but unleashed gun violence at the workplace, on the highway or upon their intimate partners.


Megan Short, 33, (pictured with children) recently murdered along with her three children in Sinking Spring Borough, PA was trying to leave an abusive relationship when the shocking violence happened.


Her husband went to a licensed gun shop in Lancaster County and purchased a .38-caliber handgun and a stock of ammunition two days after his wife expressed fears of her wellbeing to police.


Homicidal, and with two prior police reports for domestic violence, Short nevertheless passed his background check and committed the murders.


A year ago, in Roanoke, VA a clearly mentally deranged applicant—known to have a history of violence and anger control issues—purchased a gun two weeks before killing two reporters as they were broadcasting.


What Can Be Done— “Brady Plus” Background Checks


What will stop this carnage? Real background checks—perhaps to be called “Brady Plus” background checks—that should be as thorough as background checks conducted for adoptions.


Models of “Brady Plus” background checks already exist—in the U.S. to buy a machine gun and in the U.K. to own or purchase guns in general.


As I wrote on November 22, 2015 (Gun Control We Actually Do Today– And Have Done For Decades- And It Works. What A Surprise!)


“…every machine gun is registered— and every current machine gun owner or would-be purchaser or relative the machine gun owner might want to transfer the machine gun to— including their children—must go through a full (total) background check.


This includes having to submit fingerprints and a photograph which are kept on file, a criminal record check, examination of local records, interviews with local law enforcement, a character evaluation including neighborhood acquaintance interviews, work place interviews and personal interviews.”


Real Background Checks Work


Because of these thorough U.S. background checks, there have not been any machine gun incidents (shootings/murders) in decades. They are Exhibit A for the efficacy of real background checks.


“Brady Plus” Background Checks Can Only Happen if President Obama Declares A State Of Emergency Due To The Gun Violence Epidemic.


“Brady Plus” background checks are not going to happen at the congressional level. To issue the executive order that such real background checks would require, President Obama must first declare a National State of Emergency due to the gun violence epidemic. It is essential you get friends, family and people in your world to sign our petition calling on President Obama to act now.


Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council

Stopping Gun Violence Requires Presidential Leadership of a Multipronged Approach

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

by Elliot Fineman, CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council
December 13, 2015


The Absurdity of Executive Orders to Halt the Gun Violence Epidemic Without Declaring A National State of Emergency

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council
December 6, 2015



Sunday, November 8th, 2015

by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council

November 8, 2015
Once again all the gun violence prevention groups are certain that now—since the school shooting in Umpqua—we have reached a tipping point. Enough is enough they say—and this time it is different. But, this is exactly what they said after Columbine, and after Virginia Tech, and after Tucson, and after Sandy Hook and after Aurora—and it never was different. Why?
Problem is Structural


Saturday, October 31st, 2015

by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council


While all of the gun violence prevention groups—large and small—are pushing for universal background checks (a background check for every gun sold) they overlook the fact that in the last eleven high-profile gun massacres, each of the killers or suspects passed a background check. Universal background checks would have done nothing to prevent these massacres.


To prevent the Charlestons, Auroras and Umpquas, universal background checks—which only look at an electronic database which is missing millions of records—will not suffice. We need “universal real background checks —checks that are as thorough as those done for adopting a child. (By the way this is how they do it in other countries—like England.)




Checks should include interviews with the people who actually know the purchaser (neighbors, family, workplace associates) and interviews with the purchaser himself. Every one of the last eleven high-profile killers was known in his community to be mentally unstable and deeply troubled. They were clearly unfit to be gun owners. Nonetheless, they passed their background check.


Our side’s incremental approach—this is the best we can get right no; we will improve it in the future—has played a major role in causing the gun violence epidemic.
The impact of past incremental approaches includes:

When the initial Brady Background Check Bill (Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act) was developed and enacted in 1993 drafters agreed to make reporting of prohibited gun purchasers by states optional—it is still not mandatory. As a result, studies show that today 90% of state mental health records that should be in the database of prohibited purchasers are not.* These people routinely pass background checks and some commit mass murders.


When the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was passed in 1994, instead of our side insisting that the definition of an assault weapon be based on function—any firearm that fired more than 10 bullets a minute—our side agreed to have assault weapons defined by the technical mechanism used to extract and install a magazine. This allowed manufacturers to install a cheap button on the side of the assault weapons they already manufactured which circumvented the definition and nullified the ban. Today, far more lethal assault weapons are sold as the meaningless ban was allowed to expire in 2004.


Now many gun violence prevention groups—not National Gun Victims Action Council— are pushing for universal background checks when they should be pushing for universal real background checks.


It is highly unlikely that either one will pass because of the structural problem in the Congress that gives undue power to the significant number of pro-gun states. (I will write about why that is the case next week.) It is the structural problem that explains why no sane gun laws have been passed at the federal level since 1993. While some point out that smoking and seat belt laws took a long time to pass, the cost of delay of sane gun laws is 30,000 lives per year. We cannot sign up for a solution that will take decades to achieve.


The certain way to deal with the horror of gun violence now is for President Obama to declare a state of emergency due to the gun violence epidemic and then unilaterally issue the unrestrained executive orders needed to halt it—including universal real background checks—orders he cannot issue without declaring a state of emergency. That is why we urge you to sign our petition asking him to do just that Petition for State of Emergency

*Feasibility Study- Illinois State Police, Nov. 7, 2009.
NGVAC Analytical Study December 12, 2014


NRA Puppet of the Week- Iowa Senator Joni Ernst

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Your “I-only-had-one-pair-of-shoes” snivel speech after President Obama’s State of the Union speech was touching. But your vow in your TV ads to “unload” on the Affordable Care Act as you fire six rounds–cute!– is a little less meek. So are your opposition to universal background checks, your carrying a gun in your purse and your plan to push for national right to carry reciprocity.
Trigger-happy Senator who also wants to play “victim,” you JONI ERNST are the NRA Puppet of the Week.
National Gun Victims Actions Council is the U.S.’s largest gun victims group. Join our effort to get corporate America to take a stand against gun violence. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.  Follow us! @GunVictimsAct

See List of All NRA Puppets


What the Charlie Hebdo Attack Reveals About U.S. Gun Law Insanity

Friday, January 9th, 2015


By Elliot Fineman

CEO of National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC)


As French police went house to house the day after the Charlie Hebdo terror attack, news outlets reported that suspects Cherif and Said Kouachi were on the U.S.’s “no fly” list.


The brothers were entered into the U.S. government’s Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) system, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center watch lists and finally into the U.S.’s “no fly” list, reports Yahoo News. The “no fly” list prevents people who are considered a “threat to civil aviation or national security” from buying any ticket for commercial aircraft in the United States.

Terror suspects in Charlie Hebdo massacre were on U.S. Ôno flyÕTerror suspects in Charlie Hebdo massacre were on U.S. Ôno flyÕ

Yet, because of the U.S.’s insane gun laws, the brothers, if they lived here, could amazingly have gone into any licensed gun dealer and legally bought as many guns as they wanted because being on the “no-fly” list does not make someone a prohibited gun purchaser in the United States!


People who are on the U.S.’s “no-fly” list but are still allowed to legally buy guns in the U.S. is why, at NGVAC, we do not ask for common sense laws–we ask for sane laws. U.S. gun laws are not lacking in common sense–they are insane.


Other examples of insane U.S. gun laws include gun manufacturers being the only consumer industry exempt from liability lawsuits, guns not being required to be registered or their owners licensed and no background checks conducted for gun show and private sales.


As the U.S.’s largest gun victims’ group, NGVAC is baffled and infuriated at how such insane gun laws remain on the books, despite shooting after grisly shooting. There is only one reason. When any sane gun law is proposed, the gun lobby, led by the NRA, plays its “confiscation card.” A new gun regulation, like universal background checks, will lead to the government taking everyone’s guns, it shouts. Both paranoid and insulting to the intelligence, the “confiscation card” allows the NRA to defeat sane gun laws at the same time it widens its guns-everywhere-all-the-time agenda with more insane laws.


One example is the NRA actually agitates for laws that allow soldiers diagnosed with PTSD and people with severe dementia to legally purchase guns. What could go wrong? And, recently, the NRA got guns legalized in national parks and on Amtrak trains–ironically on the property of the same government it says wants to confiscate guns.


The gun lobby also defends sales to civilians of TrackingPoint’s “can’t miss” sniper rifle which has no defensive use and is ready-made for terrorists, insurgents and hate groups. Its ads show a 12-year-old girl hitting a target 1000 yards away–ten football fields–every time.


As international terrorism increases, we in the U.S. should not feel exempt or safe. Certainly there are cells in the United States ready to commit the type of barbarism that happened this week in France. And, even if such terrorists make the government’s “no-fly” list, thanks to the gun lobby they can still legally buy guns. Allowing this situation is not a lack of “common sense”–it’s insanity.

National Gun Victims Actions Council is the U.S.’s largest gun victims group. Join our effort to get corporate America to take a stand against gun violence. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. @GunVictimsAct


Tallahassee Murder is Third Arson/Shooting of Officers This Year

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Curtis Wade Holley, who police identify as the arsonist/murderer who took the life of Leon County Sheriff deputy Chris Smith this week in Florida, was known to police. He was in the system for issuing previous threats and being “antigovernment.”


Was Holley a legal gun owner whose weapons were not scrutinized as he became dangerous? Did he buy his murder weapons from a legal gun dealer after his threats became known–thanks to huge holes in the NICS background check system? Did Holley buy his weapons in the many background check-free sales ops the NRA defends? Hey, shady people have gun rights!


However Holley procured his weapon, we have the NRA to thank for the death of another law enforcement officer. The NRA blocks a registry, universal background checks, mandatory reporting of lost guns, bans on high capacity magazines, retention of owner data beyond 24 hours, illegal trafficking legislation and more. The NRA even works to restore the “gun rights” of convicted felons, people under orders of protection and people with severe mental illness. Sales are $ales.

William Spengler Identified As Webster Firefighter Shooter; Kill

Who remembers William Spengler? Last Christmas Eve, Spengler, a felon convicted of killing his own grandmother, set a fire to entice fire fighters to his location in Webster, NY and shot and killed two fire fighters. Spengler bought his weapon at Gander Mountain, according to published reports, picking out an AK 15 while a straw buyer stood by.


Police Shoot, Kill Kurt Myers, Ending Standoff in Herkimer, NewWeeks later in March, Kurt Myers set his home ablaze and fatally shot a correctional officer, a retired correctional officer and two others in Herkimer County, NY. Like Spengler, he was widely known to be unbalanced and dangerous.


Four months later, Pedro Vargas started a fire in his Miami area apartment and shot and killed the building manager and his wife when they came to investigate. For eight hours Vargas terrorized his five-story apartment complex and killed four more people. He was also well known in his community as unbalanced and angry.

It is ironic that Vargas’s rampage, the murder of deputy Chris Smith and Myron May’s library rampage all happened in Florida which has led the nation in stand your ground and other gun proliferation laws. Law enforcement officers have disproportionately been killed by guns in Florida and in 2007 three major Florida law-enforcement groups and a coalition of police, prosecutors, politicians and parents of children slain by firearms called for tightening of eligibility rules for concealed weapon licenses. Since then, cop wannabes George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn have further earned the state its “Gunshine state” nickname.

Why do lawmakers enable “guns-everywhere” legislation that kills their own law enforcement officers and fire fighters? How could the threat of “government tyranny” be worth arming government-hating murderers like Spengler, Myers and Holley?


Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.

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