U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- While the establishment media is now portraying President Donald Trump as “backing away” from earlier promises that he would consider “very meaningful background checks” as part of a new strategy to deal with mass shootings, mentioned only in passing, in coverage by the New York Times and others, is a fact that about which the press seems reticent.
On Sunday, the president reminded reporters, “People don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now.”
The Daily Beast buried that comment ten paragraphs into its story about the president’s remarks, while the NY Times put it in the third paragraph.
The president’s observation could be the result of reported telephone conversations Trump and the White House had with gun rights leaders Wayne LaPierre at the National Rifle Association and Alan Gottlieb at the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Those conversations came in the wake of shootings in Texas and Ohio earlier this month.
But there appears to be a hard-to-kill myth that a high number of gun sales occur without background checks, and that such checks might prevent the kinds of incidents that happened recently. The press tends to ignore revelations by authorities that guns involved in these tragedies were purchased legally, as the firearms recovered in Texas, Ohio and one week earlier, in California, were. Likewise, the guns used by the Las Vegas mass shooter, and other high-profile killers, were also purchased legally.
An exception would have been the Sandy Hook murderer, who killed his mother and took her legally-purchased guns to commit his mass mayhem. He thus avoided any background check. Or the Springfield, Ore., shooter who murdered his parents before taking his father’s legally-purchased guns to Thurston High School two decades ago.
Criminals, on the other hand, ignore the background check requirement. As underscored by the incident in Philadelphia where a convicted criminal allegedly had firearms with which he shot at police, and emphasized by SAF's Gottlieb in a prepared statement to the press, gun control laws routinely fail their intended purpose.
The Washington Post Fact Checker has put the lie to claims by such notables as former President Barack Obama (2013) and more recently Sen. Bernie Sanders (back in February) that 40 percent of gun sales involve no background checks. In Sanders’ case, the newspaper poked at the aging presidential hopeful by headlining the article with the notation that he had resurrected “a ‘zombie’ claim on gun sales without background checks.”
But a look at the monthly FBI report on its raw data shows that millions of background checks have been initiated just this year and that since the system went online, more than 320.5 million background checks have been conducted by the National Instant Check System (NICS). While not all of those signify a completed firearms transaction, it is evidence that the country does conduct background checks. If the system needs improvement, that’s a consideration, but the implication of repeatedly demanding “expanded background checks” following a mass shooting tragedy is that the killers got their guns without such a check, and the facts in these cases suggest otherwise.
Trump is now being criticized by the NY Times for having “echoed the standard response to mass shootings delivered by the N.R.A.” about the need to “focus on the mental problems of the gunmen rather than how they were able to obtain their guns.”
But that’s disingenuous at best because if the killers in these incidents purchased their firearms legally, there is nowhere to go with that narrative. They cleared background checks.
By reminding reporters that there are strong background checks already and that people don’t realize it, the president just might have undercut one of the main demands now on the table from the gun prohibition lobby.
It does raise the question: Do most Americans understand that there is a background check system in place and that it has been working for more than 20 years?
And by stating the obvious—as the president reportedly did Aug. 18 when he told reporters, “I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don’t want them to forget that, because it is. It’s a mental health problem.”—he shifts the conversation away from such things as gun bans, “universal background checks” and other proposals that, according to critics, only erode the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
The Daily Beast reported, “that Democrats remain willing to work with Trump to reach a legislative compromise on guns.” Second Amendment activists question how there can be a “compromise” on what many see as infringements on a constitutionally-protected fundamental right.
So, when Congress returns next month and takes up more gun control measures, it may be up to their gun-owning constituents to remind them about the president’s comment.
About Dave Workman