16 June 2008

Author Suggests That Local Background Checks Are Better Than Federal Backgrounders

From Newsweek magazine:

"There's nothing simple about gun control, a tangle of legal, political and public-health issues complicated by cultural preferences and regional biases. Passions run high on all sides. Lifelong hunters who grew up with firearms, urban victims of gun violence, Second Amendment scholars, NRA lobbyists, chiefs of police—they've all got cases to make and they make them well, often contentiously.

"For the past 15 years, much of the debate has centered on the effectiveness of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the federal gun-control bill that was passed in 1993. Critics say the focus on law-abiding gun buyers doesn't address the real issue—bad guys who acquire their weapons illegally. Supporters say that the bill stops thousands of illegal gun purchases and deters crime and violence. Now medical research has come to the rescue, sifting through the data to figure out which legal measures work best to reduce firearm suicides and homicides."

"In a paper published in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Steven Sumner, a third-year med student (who conceived the project), and Dr. Peter Layde, codirector of the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin, found that local background checks, which are optional and used by just a handful of states, were more effective than the federal background checks mandated by the Brady law. The report, which has the elegant simplicity of the best research, compared the homicide and suicide rates in states that perform only federal checks with states that do state-level checks and those that perform local-level checks. The local-level checks were associated with a 27 percent lower firearm suicide rate and a 22 percent lower homicide rate among adults 21 and older, the legal age to purchase a gun. (The state checks also reduced gun violence, but by much less.)"

The medical profession, often working in lock-step with the gun control crowd, does love that phrase "gun violence."

How about just looking at "violence" for a change? Clearly, as the Heller opinion looms closer, and the gun control cabal realizes they are losing much of their clout, their focus is on new areas and they are using new language. I wrote last week of the Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) initiative to demonize "super-dangerous weapons." What are those, you ask? Well, they are competition rifles -- more common known as assault weapons to the uneducated and to the antis. Used interchangably (and incorrectly) with the words "assault rifles," these "weasel words" will be the new assault upon the Second Amendment.

Now back to the article. The study makes the case that local background checks, used in only a handful of states, do a better job because there is access to mental health records and domestic violence reporting.

Of course they miss the point, once again, that criminals are not getting their guns at retail stores. Law enforcement stats show overwhelmingly that criminals get their guns illegally. So once again, a study is purporting a better way to limit access to firearms, in the name of crime control.

And once again, the only people affected are law abiding taxpayers who want the means to legally defend themselves.

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