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Op-ed: The real gun facts

Let me start by saying the loss of any innocent life by any means is a tragedy. The anti-gun movement is spreading a lot of disinformation about gun violence and gun laws. Let’s look at some data the FBI released about weapons used in 2019 homicides: handguns 6,368, knives/cutting instruments 1,476, personal weapons/hands-fists-feet 600, blunt objects bats/clubs 397, and rifles 364. The New York Times said, “since 2007 a total of 173 people have been killed using an AR 15 type weapon.” There are approximately 10,000 people killed in the United States each year by drunk drivers and another 2,841 people are killed in car crashes linked to distracted driving. As you can see, rifles of any type are the least used weapons in a homicide.

What happens when a F.F.L. dealer receives a firearm in the shop? They check to see the serial number on the B.O.L. matches the serial number on the firearm. Next the firearm information is entered in their gun registry book, date received, manufacturer, model, serial number, type, caliber and who it was purchased from (Name and F.F.L number if dealer and driver’s license information if individual). The dealer must retain this registry book.

When you purchase a firearm from a dealer you have to fill out form 4473 and pass an NICS background check. If you answer any of the questions on form 4473 incorrectly it is a felony. When the dealer calls in your information for a background check the government gives them three options, proceed, delayed or denied. If the response is delayed or denied the dealer isn’t told why. If the response is delayed and the government has gotten back with you in three business days then the sale can take place. If the sale can take place the dealer goes back to their gun registry book and finds the firearm in question. Then they enter the date of purchase, name, driver’s license number of purchaser and individual number of form 4473.

It is the government’s responsibility to see that all the information put in is updated and correct. If a sale is denied it is the dealer’s responsibility to contact law enforcement. The question here is why? Since only NICS-FBI knows the reason for denial and the person in question may have committed a felony why don’t they contact ATF, U.S. Marshals or law enforcement side of FBI? I don’t know of any dealer that would object to moving the waiting period for delayed from 3 days to 5 days. No dealer wants to put a firearm in the hands of a person that should be denied.

Whenever a F.F.L. dealer sells a firearm to an individual they must conduct an NICS background check whether it is at a gun show or at their shop. If a dealer sells a firearm on the internet, it isn’t mailed to the individual purchasing it. The firearm is only shipped to a licensed F.F.L. dealer after the seller has received a copy of their F.F.L. and confirmed they will accept the firearm. The dealer receiving the firearm will do the background check before the transfer can take place.

There is also a lot of misinformation concerning “ghost guns.” When a dealer receives a lower receiver it has a serial number and is logged just like any firearm. Furthermore, when it is sold the person purchasing it must go through the NICS background check just like they were buying a complete firearm.

I also don’t know of any dealers who would object to any person purchasing a firearm having an NICS background check. If an individual makes a straw purchase, purchasing a firearm for someone who can’t purchase it legally themselves, or gives a firearm to someone who legally can’t have it, both people have committed a felony. I personally wouldn’t sell a firearm to an individual without going to a dealer and having a background check done. I could be selling it to a person who can’t legally possess a firearm, and would be guilty of a crime. The only exception to this would be if I were giving a firearm to my children or grandchildren, in which case I would know if they legally could possess a firearm

So we are now to the real reason for the anti-gun push by the current administration. The president has said, he was going to take our guns and hold gun manufacturers responsible for their misuse. If he is going to hold gun manufacturers accountable for the misuse of their products by individuals he had better take a long look. The companies that manufacture knives, hammers, ball bats, cars, alcohol, cell phones and phone providers just to name a few — and the people that sell them — have to be held accountable also for the misuse of their products.

If not, then his gun policies are arbitrary and capricious. The worst domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history occurred on April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City. The Alfred P. Murrah Building was targeted using a truck and fertilizer. The attack injuring 759 people and killing 169 people, of which 19 were children. The explosion damaged 300 buildings and the cost of the damages was in excess of $510 million. The U.S. Attorney in charge of the investigation, Merrick Garland didn’t hold the trucking or fertilizer companies responsible for the misuse of their products by individuals.

We don’t need more gun laws. We need the ones we have to be enforced. A little common sense on both sides would go a long way here. Moving the delay period from 3 to 5 days, background checks for all purchases, insuring information in NICS is correct and current, and NICS notifying federal law enforcement if purchase is denied.

It is not gun safety the left is pushing but gun confiscation. That is why the pro-gun people find it hard to give on anything. They are afraid if they give on anything the left will just want more.

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Larry Barton is a former social studies and history teacher who was principal of Williamstown High School from 2000-2005. He lives in Glenville, and works occasionally at a local gun shop.

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