Author: Krey, Patrick
Date published: July 18, 2011
Gun-rights enthusiast John Lott recently explained that the Brady Law background check process is filled with holes. Lott explained that "the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) ... accidentally flags many lawabiding people, stopping those who simply have the same name as a prohibited individual from buying a gun." Lott also noted that, after reviewing the numbers for 2009. 93 percent of the initial 71,010 denials were found to be okay to purchase a gun.
Of the seven percent that went on for a deeper review involving being referred out to other agencies (i.e., FBI. BATF, etc.), over 51 percent resulted in cases where the check wasn't even completed.
Ultimately, Lott calculated an "initial false positive rate of roughly 94.2%," and this "still doesn't mean that the government hasn't made a mistake on the remaining cases." Lott calculated another higher error rate, based on those cases where the denied party was actually proven to be unable to purchase a gun in a court of law. of 99.98 percent, which might be higher than the actual rate since an assumption can be made that some banned parties did not pursue their case to trial. Still, with numbers like this (a false-positive rate somewhere between 95 percent and 99 percent), it's no wonder that, as Lott puts it,
no study by criminologists or economists has found that the Federal Brady Law has reduced national crime rates.
Lott continued on to explain that the delays involved for those who trigger falsepositives add up. Those unfortunate people have to wait long periods of time for their case to be resolved even though they ultimately do get their gun. With results like this, it's no wonder that gun-controllers view the NICS as a move in the right direction. Ifs a logical step on their path to total civilian disarmament.
- PATRICK KREY