What’s the most effective way reduce gun violence in the United States? According to those who oppose self-defense mandating background checks for every firearm transfer would reduce gun violence. It’s an idea that sounds good to a lot of people on paper but only because they haven’t stopped to think about what that entails. Background checks require government approval for firearm transfers. Mandating background checks for every firearm transfer would, according to opponents of self-defense, ensure bad guys couldn’t acquire firearms. The biggest flaw in this plan is that it relies on government, which is more than happy to provide firearms to violent individuals:
Five years before he was shot to death in the failed terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, Nadir Soofi walked into a suburban Phoenix gun shop to buy a 9-millimeter pistol.
At the time, Lone Wolf Trading Co. was known among gun smugglers for selling illegal firearms. And with Soofi’s history of misdemeanor drug and assault charges, there was a chance his purchase might raise red flags in the federal screening process.
Inside the store, he fudged some facts on the form required of would-be gun buyers.
What Soofi could not have known was that Lone Wolf was at the center of a federal sting operation known as Fast and Furious, targeting Mexican drug lords and traffickers. The idea of the secret program was to allow Lone Wolf to sell illegal weapons to criminals and straw purchasers, and track the guns back to large smuggling networks and drug cartels.
Instead, federal agents lost track of the weapons and the operation became a fiasco, particularly after several of the missing guns were linked to shootings in Mexico and the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona.
This is actually the same flaw every plan that relies on government suffers. How can you rely on an entity that steals, kidnaps, assaults, and murders people to stop theft, kidnappings, assaults, and murders? Do you really think an entity that drops bombs on child in foreign countries and pardons the violent actions of its law enforcers is going to have any moral opposition to handing a firearm to a person known to have a history of violence? Fast and Furious was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) operation that involved selling firearms to people suspected of being involved with violent drug cartels. Supposedly the operation was meant to track where the firearms went. Those firearms did end up in the hands of drug cartels but the ATF didn’t do a very good job of tracking them.
A background check systems can’t work if it relies on an entity that is motivated to provide firearms to violent people. Since the government is motivated to do exactly that the background check system supported by opponents of self-defense can’t decrease gun violence.