Archive for background check

Quickie- Gun Vote Boosts Toomey's Approval In Pennsylvania



Sometimes when you do the right thing, you are rewarded.

The U.S. Senate vote to reject background checks for people buying guns online or at gun shows leaves 34 percent of voters "angry," while 36 percent are "dissatisfied." Only 5 percent are "enthusiastic," with 22 percent "satisfied."

Pennsylvania voters approve 34 - 29 percent of the way U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is handling gun control and give Sen. Toomey an overall 48 - 30 percent approval rating, his highest ever. By a 54 - 12 percent margin, voters think more favorably of Toomey because of his co-sponsorship of legislation to require expanded background checks.


Cartoons of the Day- Finally, Congress Votes on Guns







Poll-itics: Swing states swing for gun control


File under, "Bite Me, NRA." Was that too harsh? Oh well then.

Via Politico:

Voters in key three swing states preferred President Barack Obama to Mitt Romney on gun control issues, and overwhelmingly support a number of gun control measures, according to a poll released Thursday from an advocacy group.

The survey of voters in Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado found 45 percent of voters trusted Obama on gun issues, compared with only 40 percent who trusted Romney. Obama had the largest advantage in Virginia, where he led Romney 48 percent to 39 percent. In Colorado and North Carolina, his edge was tighter: 44 percent to 40 percent and 42 percent to 41 percent.

Surprisingly, and I believe Rachel Maddow mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, the NRA's impact on Election 2012 was minimal:

Two NRA groups spent at least $12 million attacking the president and boosting Romney, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

How'd that work out for you, NRA?

Interestingly, more than 40 percent of voters in all three states said gun control was not a factor in their vote, although "64 percent of Coloradans, 74 percent of North Carolinians and 71 percent of Virginians said gun control should at least be a 'somewhat important' priority for Obama."

Background checks were also a big priority.

So what's taking so long? Must be that GOP obstruction thing.


Families of victims & survivors of Virginia Tech shooting join Mayors Against Illegal Guns to "demand a plan" from presidential candidates


 I get emails:

                                                                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        


 Mayors Against Illegal Guns Launches Interactive Map Showing States Still Fail to Submit Millions of Mental Health Records to the National Do-Not-Sell Database – Even After Latest Series of Mass Shootings

48,000 Americans Will Be Murdered with Guns in the Next President’s Term – If Washington Fails to Act –

            Sixty-seven family members of victims and survivors of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting today sent a letter to President Obama and Governor Romney demanding they develop a plan to fix the broken U.S. background check system that regularly allows guns to be sold to dangerous people, including the shooters at the Virginia Tech and Tucson mass shootings. To highlight the continued failure of states to report mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition simultaneously launched an interactive map revealing how many mental health records states have reported and how far behind some states are compared with the best-performing states. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have shared fewer than 100 records with NICS. The map is available at and a full copy of the letter is available at

In their letter, more than five dozen Virginians affected by the shooting ask the presidential candidates whether they support measures requiring a criminal background check for every gun sale and how they will work to ensure that all records of prohibited purchasers are included in the national background check system. According to a recent poll by Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 74 percent of NRA members and 87 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun. In 2007, Seung Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech after passing two gun background checks because Virginia state agencies never shared his mental health records with the national database of prohibited gun purchasers. After the shooting, Virginia substantially improved its reporting and now boasts the highest mental health record reporting rate in the nation.

The letter is part of a larger campaign by survivors of gun violence and the 700-member Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition to demand that the presidential candidates offer specific plans explaining how they would address the fact that 48,000 Americans will be murdered with a gun in the next president’s term if they fail to take action. More than 150,000 supporters have signed their petition, available at

“The families of the victims and survivors of Virginia Tech have waited long enough for our nation’s leaders to spell out concrete plans to prevent gun violence,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “More than 40,000 background checks for gun sales and permits are run every day in this country – but the system can’t save lives if states don’t hold up their end of the bargain and report the records of seriously mentally ill people who are not allowed to buy them. The system is broken. Every missing record is a tragedy waiting to happen and it’s time for Washington to compel all states to submit the records that are necessary to make the system work. Our public safety depends on it.”

            “One of the missing records in the system could have prevented the Virginia Tech shooter from getting his hands on a gun that killed 32 people,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “In the five years since the massacre at Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth of Virginia has done its part to step up reporting to NICS – other states should not wait for the same kind of tragedy in their own communities before making it a priority to keep guns away from those who shouldn’t have them. The family members and survivors of the Virginia Tech, Tucson and Aurora shootings – and all Americans – deserve immediate action to prevent these tragedies and the 34 American gun murders that tear apart communities every day.”

The interactive map, based on the most recently released FBI data, allows users to see how many mental health records their state has reported and how their state is doing relative to the top-performing states, after controlling for population. The number of gun background checks conducted in each state in 2011 is also included to show how many checks were run against the incomplete database. Twenty-one states and D.C. have reported fewer than 100 mental health records – putting their communities at significant risk: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

                The map builds upon the Mayors’ 2011 report “Fatal Gaps: How Missing Records in the Federal Background Check System Put Guns in the Hands of Killers” – a first-of-its-kind analysis revealing how millions of records identifying seriously mentally ill people and drug abusers never enter the NICS database because of lax reporting by states and federal agencies. The 50-state analysis also identifies factors that have helped some states successfully share their records with the federal database.


Gun crazy


One more edition of today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Gun crazy

Re "The Tucson excuse," Editorial, Feb. 4

I have been out of work for 10 months. I have interviewed with many companies. In some cases, for me to even be considered for an interview, I have been required to take many tests, submit to drug screening and agree to very extensive background checks.

But I can purchase a gun and as much ammo as I want with few questions asked.

This makes no sense, and Democrats are correct in calling for strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Your editorial points out that 1.6 million mental health records have not been entered into the database. The alleged Tucson shooter reportedly used drugs. I have no such history, but I am willing to comply with the testing to help me get a job.

Why would anyone not want gun buyers to submit to tests that would prove they are qualified to own and operate a weapon?


Mayors Against Illegal Guns, MLK III, Gun Violence Victims Call For Universal Background Checks


It's reassuring to see some action being taken lately on gun control and background checks. Let's hope some of it gets real results. As Rachel Maddow said, it's not a done deal that nothing can change just because the NRA is big and powerful. Things do get done, laws do get made, and have gotten passed, in spite of efforts by gun lobbyists:

Via Open Left:

With survivors and family members horrific gun violence in attendence, Mayors Against Illegal Guns(MAIG) today announced a major new plan to keep guns out of the hands of people who already aren't supposed to have them under existing law-like the shooters in three historic catastrophes: Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Tucson.

"The time has clearly come to finally fulfill the intent of the common sense gun law passed after the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, by creating a loophole-free background check system for the sale of firearms," said MAIG co-chair NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"The best way to respond to the heinous acts of violence we have seen in our nation's history is to prevent them from ever happening again," added MAIG co-chair Mayor Thomase Menino. "Lax creening in response to these tragic shootings is no virtue."

Michael Bloomberg has a post up at HuffPo about this too. Please go read it.

I also received a press release. Here are a few excerpts:

The bi-partisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, led by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, was joined by Martin Luther King III and dozens of survivors and family members of gun violence victims to launch a national campaign urging Congress to take two simple but critical steps to fix our nation’s broken background check system: 1) fulfill the letter of the historic 1968 gun law and ensure that all names of people prohibited from buying a gun are in the background check system; and 2) fulfill the intent of the historic 1968 gun law by subjecting every gun sale to a background check. [...]

“There are those who fail to truly read the 2nd amendment,” said Mayor Menino. “They ignore the need for a common sense approach to guns in our communities. The best way to respond to the heinous acts of violence we have seen in our nation's history is to prevent them from ever happening again. Lax screening in response to these tragic shootings is no virtue.”

“For decades we have tolerated senseless gun violence, which has struck down too many of our fellow citizens, particularly our young people,” said Martin Luther King III, President and CEO of the King Center. “If we want to create a nonviolent society, we must enforce our public safety laws to keep the angry and dangerous few from destroying the peace and harmony of the many. I wholeheartedly join Mayor Bloomberg in calling on the President and Congress to finally deliver on the long unfilled promise to make sure that every gun buyer  passes a background check. It is unconscionable to do anything less.”

Pdf describing legislation is here.

Sign the petition here.


The deadly loophole: Gunning for trouble


By GottaLaff

Hey kiddies, guess what? Another mentally unbalanced person got their hands on a gun because of guess what?

Go on, guess.

Give up?

The gun show loophole! Yayyy!

Yes, the right wing, anti-government Pentagon shooter, John Patrick Bedell, got his gun at a gun show through the gun show loophole, with no background check. Feel safer yet?

QuickDraw McLoopHole had already been declared too, er, abnormal to buy one through a federally licensed dealer, but pfft! That didn't matter:

Two guns used in high-profile shootings this year at the Pentagon and a Las Vegas courthouse both came from the same unlikely place: the police and court system of Memphis, Tenn.

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that both guns were once seized in criminal cases in Memphis. The officials described how the weapons made their separate ways from an evidence vault to gun dealers and to the shooters.

Wow, hmm, gee, how'd that happen?

[O]n the day of the Pentagon shooting, March 4, the Tennessee governor signed legislation revising state law on confiscated guns. Before, law enforcement agencies in the state had the option of destroying a gun. Under the new version, agencies can only destroy a gun if it's inoperable or unsafe.

Seems Version 2.0 needs to be updated.

But with that in mind, it's only natural that oversight would tighten up, right?

[...] 24 states — mostly in the South and West, where gun-rights advocates are particularly strong — have passed 47 new laws loosening gun restrictions.

Gee, that doesn't seem logical. Oops, did I say "logical"? Logic has nothing to do with this!

What, am I nuts?

No, but QuickDraw was:

[T]he weapons first went to licensed gun dealers, but later came into the hands of men who were legally barred from possessing them: one a convicted felon; the other mentally ill.

Change we can't believe in.

But come on, realistically, what are the chances of some psycho ending up finding that one special dealer who would slip him a lethal weapon:

Law enforcement officials say Bedell, a man with a history of severe psychiatric problems, had been sent a letter by California authorities Jan. 10 telling him he was prohibited from buying a gun because of his mental history.

Nineteen days later, the officials say, Bedell bought the Ruger at a gun show in Las Vegas. Such a sale by a private individual does not require the kind of background check that would have stopped Bedell's purchase.

But privatizing stuff is the GOP's answer to everything. What could possible go wrong? Death? Don't be silly. Murder? Ridiculous! Selling lethal weapons to a disturbed individual who would subsequently go on a shooting spree? Impossible!

Here's the deal, gun owners: Nobody's trying to take your firearms from you. But keeping them out of the hands of unstable felons and the mentally ill doesn't do anything to threaten your freedoms.

The real and growing threat is to innocent lives, not the Constitution.