Anti-gun activists love knee-jerk reactions, because they are done with virtually no logical thought process involved. You simply get people emotionally riled up and make blankest statements that have no real basis in fact or reality. One of their favorite knee-jerk reactions is to push for state and a national gun registration, while expanding universal background checks.
While background checks make sense and are useful tools, as with anything that involves the government, it is not done well and is full of flaws. A prime example is the recent mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois, in which a felon obtained a firearm when the state and local police dropped the ball and did not prevent a man with a violent history from legally buying a firearm.
Illinois State Police acknowledge Gary Martin lied by answering “no” when asked if he had a felony conviction while filling out his application for an Illinois firearm owner’s identification card on Jan. 17, 2014. In fact, Martin had a prior felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi in 1995 and served five years in prison.
Martin only lied about his prior conviction and provided all the other requisite information – which should have been enough to stop him from obtaining a firearm. After all, he gave his correct name, date of birth and all other relevant personal information. He only lied about his prior conviction for a violent felony and five years’ imprisonment. Despite the obvious lie, the system should have identified Martin as ineligible for firearm ownership, but it did not, and five lives are lost as a result.
You can’t fault Martin for lying. After all, that is what criminals do. Yet, Democrats quite foolishly rely upon the honor system to conduct background checks – much like they rely on the honor system in gun-free zones – where 98 percent of the nation’s mass shootings have occurred.
Martin on Jan. 31, 2014, obtained his Illinois firearms license and shortly after used it to buy a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol from an Aurora firearms seller. When Martin bought that firearm on March 6, 2014, he passed a second background check, despite using his correct name and date of birth. The gun dealer abided the law and utilized the Illinois background check system to determine whether or not Martin lawfully could buy a firearm. State and federal authorities okayed the transaction.
Therein lies the issue: The government did not do as required to stop a violent criminal from obtaining a firearm and eventually using it on innocent victims at his place of work. Those victims likely had no access to a firearm to protect themselves against a violent felon who never should have gotten that gun.
Instead, the five law-abiding coworkers died, and six others were wounded by a lying, violent criminal who never should have obtained that firearm under current laws.
Shortly after Martin obtained his pistol from the Aurora gun dealer, Illinois State Police discovered the felony conviction and notified Martin that he had to surrender his firearms license and either turn over his pistol to the police or transfer it to someone licensed to own firearms. Once again, local police relied upon the honor system, rather than actually enforcing existing laws.
Many people died and were wounded as a result when the 45-year-old Martin learned his employer fired him that same day, and he used that same firearm to exact his demented revenge.
Illinois State Police indicate Martin is one of thousands of violent criminals who obtained firearms despite undergoing background checks in Illinois. Of about 10,800 revocation letters issued by the State Police in 2018, most recipients never bothered to respond, USA Today reports.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told USA Today that “thousands and thousands” of firearms remain in the hands of those who had their right to own them revoked in the state. Yet, in no instance was anything actually done to remove the firearms. So, when it comes to relying upon background checks and the state and federal governments to protect innocent lives, we might as well be sheep led to the slaughter.
Illinois is renowned for its strict gun laws, which are possibly the nation’s most restrictive. Yet, an unarmed populace suffered greatly, despite the existence of the very same gun laws Democrats now push at the national level. Clearly, the anti-gun crowd is stuck on stupid.