Obama also blamed the Senate’s rejection of his 2013 gun control proposals on that perennial anti-gunner bogeyman, “the grip of the NRA on Congress.
Whether to capitalize on a tragedy for political purposes, or because their urge to “do something” isn’t tempered by a sense of reality, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) reacted to the deplorable murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week by saying that they may reintroduce so-called “universal” background check legislation to require background checks on private sales and trades of firearms, including those between many family members and friends. NRA members and supporters will recall that a previous version of the Manchin-Toomey “universal” background check legislation was soundly defeated in the U.S. Senate in 2013.
As we noted at that time, such a system could only be enforced through national gun registration. But don’t just take our word for it, even Obama administration “experts” wrote that the effectiveness of “universal” background checks “depends on . . . requiring gun registration.”
Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that Manchin wants to focus on preventing the acquisition of guns by people diagnosed with a mental illness. However, the person who admitted to the South Carolina church shooting had no such diagnosis in his background. Like the perpetrators of a large percentage of other multiple victim shootings, he passed a background check to acquire a gun because there was nothing in his record to prohibit him from doing so.
Background checks don’t stop criminals from stealing guns, or buying them on the black market, as noted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in Table 14 of a May 2013 report. And they don’t stop criminals from getting guns through straw purchases—using people who can pass background checks to buy guns for people who cannot pass them—as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives indicated in a separate report.