Gun purchase background checks are broken

In the wake of the deplorable event in Sutherland Springs Texas, it should be stated the gun purchase background check system is broken. NICS was created to be an instant criminal background check system. However, it is now being called into service for checking mental illness without federal standards applied to the reporting states and federal agencies.  The lack of complete and validated reporting is largely because of anti-gun zealots and their desires to attack gun ownership.

It appears, according to the most recent information, the murderer responsible for murdering 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs was dishonorably discharged from military service and should have been reported to NICS as disqualified. In addition, he was apparently investigated on several occasions for incidents that should have brought his mental state into question.

Many gun control advocates tell a story of the NRA and gun rights supporters fighting against background checks while failing to mention the NRA supported the creation of NICS and background checks. Since January 2016 states have been given flexibility with HIPAA requirements so they may report mental illness as a disqualification. However in at least some cases this is being manipulated for political purposes. The VA, under President Obama reported veterans as mentally disqualified for having financial problems. In New York State, Governor Cuomo has reported hundreds of thousands as mentally disqualified without notifying the subjects of his finding in most cases and without due process allowances to challenge the state’s finding. Clearly these acts are done to attack gun ownership more than to make the background check system function to prevent guns being sold to disqualified people.

If the background check system is to function effectively we need federal reporting standards defining why and when reporting mental illness is required. In addition, we need ‘due process’ of law. If one is accused of mental illness the reporting entity should notify the accused and be prepared to defend their accusation. Instead, anti-gun politicians propose secret lists and no due process of law. Unfortunately, anti-gun politicians choose to attack gun ownership while giving lip service to improving gun safety. If the anti-gun politicians were actually trying to prevent gun violence they would change their tired calls for new kinds background checks and fix the one that exists now.

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