Rebecca Colaw Supports Background Checks. Her opponent didn’t say.

At a forum in Smithfield, Virginia, the candidates for Virginia’s 64th House of Delegates district were asked about their position on background checks. The Republican candidate Emily Brewer said that she supports the Second Amendment. She said that gun sellers have a right to refuse to sell to anyone they don’t want to. She said she supports the right to carry. She said nothing about background checks.

Rebecca Colaw, the Democratic candidate, was clear: She supports them. She said that as a lawyer, she knows where criminals get guns. They get them from gun shows.

In 2013, Emily Brewer tweeted her support for President Obama’s executive order on background checks, and now she won’t mention background checks while answering a question about them.

I find it disturbing when a politician who knows what’s right is afraid to say so.

Background checks won’t prevent every tragedy and won’t stop every criminal or mentally ill person from getting guns. But they’ll make it harder. Some will get caught using fake ID’s and some will get caught because their mental state prevents them from understanding the consequences of trying to get a gun. Others will have to work harder to arm themselves or supply guns to others.

Rebecca Colaw is a gun owning Democrat who believes in our right to bear arms and clearly states her support for background checks. Most Virginians support background checks, too. We should work to elect candidates who agree with us and aren’t afraid to say so.

Proof that Illegal Guns don’t Come From Gun Shows – As Long as You Don’t Think to Hard.

I came across a recent NRA-ILA article about a Bureau of Justice Statistics crime report. The first two paragraphs, a quarter of the article, contain nothing about the crime report and are, instead, a list of insults about President Obama on topics ranging from the economy to golf.

The subject of the article is introduced in the third paraghraph with,

Adding to the bad news for the Obama agenda, a report issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS-a component of the Justice Department) shows that firearm homicides in general, and violence at schools, have decreased substantially during the last two decades

This seems odd to me because the statistics the NRA is citing show a precipitous drop in violent crime since 1993, which is when the Brady bill was passed. To me, that seems like good news for the “Obama agenda”.

A lot of people argue that the Brady bill had no effect. They argue that a) The Brady bill only effected 32 states, and b) Crime started dropping before the Brady bill, in 1991. But the states that the Brady bill didn’t effect already had strict gun control laws. Before the Brady bill, people who lived in those states wouldn’t find it difficult to get guns elsewhere.

Also, from at least 1970 until 1990, peaks were often followed by dips lasting a couple of years, followed by continuations of the rise. That means that by 1994 when the Brady bill went into effect, the crime rate should have started rising again as it did in 1976, 1983 and 1987.

Bureau of Justice Statistics Violent Offenses per 100,000

I’m not calling this proof that the Brady bill worked or that it worked by itself. There are a lot of theories about the drop in crime since the ’90s and I personally like the lead abatement theory. I just don’t see how a drop in crime rate since an important piece of gun control legislation was put into place looks bad for gun control.

But another point that the NRA and other anti-background-check organizations are cheering about is the small percentage of guns obtained at gun shows by criminals who were arrested while possessing those guns.

40 percent of criminals get their guns from friends and family members, and another 37 percent get theirs from theft or other illegal sources

. Rolling “theft or other illegal sources” together glosses over the fact that direct theft is a relatively rare means of obtaining a gun. Must guns held by criminals during their arrest came from family or friends. The next biggest block came from illegal purchases.

What the report doesn’t say is where the guns came from before they fell into the hands of illegal dealers or others willing to provide guns to people about to commit crimes.

A guy who wants a gun but can’t get one because of his criminal record probably isn’t going to steal one and he’s probably not going to wait for the next gun show to roll through town. He’s probably going to go to someone who buys and sells guns and is willing to put them in the hands of people who can’t pass background checks. That person, if he also has a criminal record ( which seems likely for someone who sells guns to criminals ), probably gets his guns from gun shows, the internet, or trade with other dealers, etc. Closing loopholes won’t stop all of these sales, but will stop a lot of them. It will certainly stop a lot more than the less than 1% that gun control opponents would have you believe based on the BJS report.

Just because a prisoner responding to a survey says, “I got my gun from a friend”, doesn’t mean that universal background checks wouldn’t have prevented that gun from getting into the hands of a criminal.

100% Background Checks: Constitutional and Vital

I’m neither a linguist nor a constitutional scholar, but I have this to offer:

United States Constitution Article 1, Section 2:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

“the People” here refers not to every person, nor every citizen. It doesn’t even refer to every White man. In the early days, only White, male property owners could vote. This single fact proves that the Framers of the Constitution allowed exceptions when they used the phrase, “the People”.

I get angry at anyone who sarcastically asks what I “can’t understand”. If those ignoramuses would take their heads out of the darkness they might realize that the Framers did not write the Constitution for children and the words therein don’t necessarily mean what a second grader might understand them to mean.

Thankfully, we corrected Framers’ errors (they were mortals, after all), by issuing amendments declaring men and women of all races and economics statuses full rights under the Constitution. But that doesn’t change the fact that “the People” was a term that included the possibility of exceptions. In fact, our entire criminal justice system depends on the possibility of exceptions.

Exceptions to the People who’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed would include Robert Wigg, who murdered his wife Deborah with a 9mm which the state of Virginia, thanks to the strong gun lobby here, allowed him to keep despite the restraining order resulting from the first time he tried to kill her. The Framers would not have objected to such an exception.

Furthermore, the Founding Fathers would not object to the government knowing where the guns are. The armed citizenry was their volunteer army, and our early leaders conducted counts of firearm ownership at various times throughout history.

There is neither a valid constitutional argument against background checks nor a public safety argument. I am loosing tolerance for the idiotic reasoning that criminals will get firearms anyway. The logical conclusion, (for those capable of drawing such conclusions), would be that no law should ever be made because criminals will disobey it. To give credit where it’s due, there is a difference between that argument as applied to background checks and the same argument as applied to disarmament, such as the D.C. gun law overturned by Heller. Regional disarmament and background checks both impede access to firearms, but disarmament affects the law abiding more greatly than criminals, while background checks does the opposite.

Remember the word’s of the NRA’s Wayne LaPeire, before he proved himself a psychopath and a liar by saying the opposite a few years later:

We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere, for anyone,”.

Anyone who still holds loyalty to that double-speaking draft dodging monster should be ashamed. It’s one thing to change your mind – in fact the biggest failing of extremists is the inability to change their minds even when proven wrong – but it’s another thing to change your mind and whip up murderous hatred against people who still believe the words you used to say. Wayne LaPierre has no values other than a willingness to say what he’s paid to say by people who profit from violent fantasies and paranoia.

The only people against 100% background checks are gun sellers worried about loosing sales and the Orcs who they’ve whipped into a frenzy with paranoid delusions about national disarmament and uninformed interpretations the Constitution. If you’re one of those Orcs, you’re essentially supporting murder for profit and doing no good whatsoever for the Constitution or for the People of the United States of America.

Update, Mar 24 I’m not changing the text above but I should have avoided words like “idiotic” (as I usually do). Here’s a post proving you can disagree without being an idiot.