September 06, 2013

Can Ten Save Two?

A story is making the rounds about how many folks were denied permission to purchase firearms in July here in Colorado (the first month the "universal background check" law was applicable). Here's one and here's another. I'm not sure if those two sites are affiliated, but it appears to be an AP story that both used almost verbatim. The Denver Post has a lengthier treatment of the same story. And what is this story? To quote the 7news headline linked above:

"Ten people with criminal records denied guns during first month of new universal background checks"

In July, 10 folks tried to buy privately and failed a background check. The Denver Post claims 561 people went through the background check process, which I think would make a better headline:

"over half a thousand suckers people actually complied with a twice unconstitutional law!"

The Denver Post article mentions in passing that there are some denials that result from errors, bu they can be appealed and overturned. That's not exactly the whole picture:

In Colorado, the local NRA affiliate along with then governor Owens pushed and passed a bill that made arrests without a positive disposition a reason for a denial.

To put it simply, if you get arrested cause you're wearing the same color jacket as the guy that just knocked over the bank, and two hours later the cops realize their error, apologize profusely and let you go, you may very well be denied permission to buy a firearm. If you went to trial and were acquitted there'd be a record of a positive disposition. If the charges are merely dropped, or not even filed, then there's not any record.

The process is to write the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's department that handles such things (no phone calls and no in person meetings) with an explanation of why you were arrested and why there's not a disposition. Having a clerk of whatever court that would have been involved send you their records on you to forward to the CBI helps. The process takes about 30 days.

So those ten denials may be vicious axe murderers who wanted to go high tech. Or they could be five couples that tried to sneak into a movie theater in Indiana. Or they may have all released balloons on a Florida beach. Or maybe they all had their lobsters imported in plastic bags instead of cardboard boxes. Or maybe they were all arrested at some point, then released withotu charges since they turned out not to have been involved with Jimmy Hoffa's murder.

The CBI does not release the reasons for denials. If I had time (which sadly I lack) I'd dig to see if they even publish a rate of errors concerning denials. So there's no way to do anything more than speculate as to whether these ten people were escaped mass murderers or folks that wrote a bad check to cover their mortgage or that were mistakenly arrested or simply had a middle initial that was typed in wrong by the CBI clerk.

"I'm excited to hear that 10 people were denied access to guns because they were unqualified,' said state Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, one of the two sponsors of the bill."

Public servant Fields, herself a convicted shoplifter (among other things) is of course glad that ten people were denied their Right to Arms by the state. She's grasping desperately for any sort of relevance she can to justify the unconstitutional law she sponsored.

Senator Brophy had the following to say:

"...during the legislative debates for the bill, Democrats claimed nearly 40 percent of gun sales were done privately, a figure far below what the CBI data show. The 561 private checks processed in July represent 2.9 percent of the total number of background checks for gun sales that month.

'So, either the Democrats were wrong in that statement or a tremendous amount of people are not following the law,' Brophy said. 'I think it's the latter."

I'd correct Senator Brophy though; this universal background check law - indeed all laws requiring government permission to own or carry a weapon - is unconstitutional, so disobeying it (or ignoring it entirely) is not a case of folks not following the law. It's people that are simply ignoring a legislatures' attempts to not follow the law.

The point of this story about 10 people failing a background check in 1 month is, methinks, to bolster whatever support the politicians that voted for it may have, as the recall elections for Public Servants Morse and Giron may have national implications.

So look for more articles trying to make a big deal out of ten people who may or may not have been "unqualified" to purchase a firearm. Don't look for articles detailing the cost of running these background checks, especially since the CBI charges Coloradans now for running them. Don't look for any articles on people injured or worse because they were denied their Right to Arms by some similar law. And especially don't look for any news articles discussing the legitimacy of background checks in the first place, or if they pass constitutional muster (well background checks for firearms at least - if the subject of background checks for voters, or even showing identification to vote comes up, then the Praetorian Press gets all Clarence Darrow in a hurry).

Oh, Billll has a post up about the recall elections and what you can do to help. The folks at RMGO have a 60 second ad up about how public servant Morse disregards his constituents. Over at The Independence Institute, Jon Caldara has been busy. According to Mr. Caldara, any Colorado resident can legally vote in the recalls, thanks to the recent changes in voter laws here. This post has the details. And he has a video response and challenge to public servant Morse's objections to his using Morse's own words in context.

If you live in the districts of public servants Morse or Giron (or if you just live in the state and follow Mr. Cladara's advice), go on and vote the two bums out - final day for voting is this Tuesday. And if anyone tries to mention the ten denials as justification for keeping those particular two bums, by all means educate them within earshot of other voters.

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