I’m not writing this to pillory Rob Pincus. Lord knows there’s enough of that going on already on social media, 2A message boards, and the like.
What I want to know is how someone with his 2A bona fides can say with a straight face that expanding the background check system, to include criminalizing private transfers, will effectively reduce gun-related violence.
Because there is no credible evidence to suggest that that is the case. None.
Let me back up a minute.
For those that don’t know what’s going on, Pincus wrote an open letter recently with Dan Gross, the former president of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, entitled, “Guns in America: Ending the Culture War & Starting a Productive Conversation,” that calls for both sides of the gun divide to come together to embrace strategies to curb gun violence in America.
Though I believe Pincus’ intentions are grounded in a sincere attempt to impart positive change (not sure about Gross’ agenda in all this), the reality is most of the letter is stilted rhetoric detailing repackaged solutions that come across as nothing more than lip service to 2A supporters.
Things like “raise awareness,” “educate the public,” “enforce existing laws” — all stuff that we as a society should already be doing to the nth degree, but we’re not because, well, so much valuable time, energy and money are being used to stop Bloomberg and his minions from disarming America.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: imagine if Bloomberg called off his gun-grabbing dogs altogether. Imagine if he hadn’t wasted $1 billion on the 2020 election (including his own failed presidential bid) and instead partnered with gun-rights group to put all that money behind suicide prevention (suicides account for two-thirds of gun deaths), gun safety training for young people, improved mental health treatment, violence interrupter programs in high-crime neighborhoods, the hardening of schools, churches, and other soft targets.
You know, stuff that actually shows promise. How many lives could’ve been saved this past year alone?
It’s a question we’ll never know the answer to, sadly. Bloomberg isn’t interested in funding programs that work. Destroying the 2A is his sole focus. And, the roadmap to doing so starts with criminalizing private transfers.
Which is why it’s so puzzling that Pincus would close off the letter with the following call to action: “Fortunately, the policy area with the most synergistic message is also the one that represents what we believe is the greatest potential for impact: Expanded Background Checks.”
This is B.S. Pincus is too smart of a dude not to recognize it as such. No proof exists to suggest that what anti-gunners call “universal background checks” reduce gun violence.
Whether it’s prison surveys from inmates involved in gun crime that show the vast majority obtained their firearms using methods that would NOT be thwarted by expanded background checks, or studies from unbiased think tanks like Rand.org that find “private-seller background checks have uncertain effects on firearm homicides” (emphasis added), or the fact that most mass killers have no disqualifying record that would prevent them from buying a firearm in a commercial setting, you can’t hang your hat on background checks as a legislative priority unless you’re ignoring the facts.
The sole purpose of universal background checks is to prime the pumps for universal registration. This has always been the case. In fact, our own government has admitted as much.
National Institute of Justice Deputy Director Greg Ridgeway noted in a 2013, Obama-era memo, titled, “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies,” that the effectiveness of universal background checks depends on the “ability to reduce straw purchasing, requiring gun registration and an easy gun transfer process” (emphasis added).
Again, I’m sure I’m not telling Pincus stuff he doesn’t already know. Pincus has been a pro-2A advocate for decades. All of this is common knowledge to dyed-in-the-wool gun guys.
I will say that in his defense, Pincus does explain in the letter that he would carve out an exception to make “it impossible for the government to compile a comprehensive list of gun owners.” I’m sure he means it, too.
But the problem is Pincus won’t be in the room when the sausage is being made, nor will he be on the Senate and House floor when lawmakers are giving the bill their final yeas and nays.
The most recent national legislation — H.R. 8 Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2021 — does include a clause prohibiting a national gun registry. But that prohibition only applies to that specific bill. It isn’t a prohibition on the federal government in perpetuity. Once Congress realizes that enforcing universal background checks is impossible without a national registry, Democrats will start to push for one. And the next time they gain the White House and a majority in Congress, they’ll make it law.
So, my question for Pincus is this: why tee up support for a bill that will have no measurable impact on crime, that will leave the door open for more draconian legislation, and that effectively does the bidding of the most anti-gun zealot known to man, Michael Bloomberg?
I’ll end by saying, I don’t know Pincus personally. I met him in passing once at a SHOT Show some years back and found him to be a nice guy and an asset to the gun community.
And based on his published material online, I know he is not an idiot. But in this isolated case, it’s like he’s acting as a useful one for the Bloomberg machine. What gives?