Background checks to curb gun violence are 'no miracle,' author says
John Lott sometimes wishes all the rhetoric espoused by anti-gun advocates matched the reality.
“Background checks are not any type of miracle," Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of the novel “More Guns, Less Crime,” said during a recent appearance on the "Chicago's Morning Answer" radio show on WIND. “You look at people who get stopped from buying guns, 99 percent are false positives, or people who just simply have names similar to those who they really do want to stop. The notion that having background checks are going to stop criminals from getting guns, I wish it was that simple.”
"Chicago's Morning Answer" is co-hosted by Dan Proft, who also is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
Lott felt the need to express himself anew on the issue in the wake of the recent Texas church shooting that left 26 people dead.
“Pretty much every time within a couple hours of a gun attack, you have people calling for gun control laws,” he said. “In this case, you have people calling for universal background checks. If they had just been willing to wait, they would have known that type of law wouldn’t have been relevant.”
Lott said he also finds it ironic that Democrats didn’t push the idea of greater gun control in 2013 following the Sandy Hook school shooting, a time when they had complete control of Congress.
“They could have done anything they wanted,” he said. “Why not try to make sure the existing laws we have work better.”
Lott said he grew tired last year of hearing Democrats boast about how there had been 3 million fewer dangerous people stopped from purchasing guns because of various checks and balances.
“That’s simply false,” he said. “What they should say is there have been 3 million initial denials and about 99 percent of those have been mistakes.”
In the Texas shooting, 26 people died when gunmen Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at a small-town church that relatives he was known to be feuding with often attended.
Kelly was only stopped after two men, widely described as heroes, gave chase after engaging him in gunfire.
Kelly was once a member of the Air Force before being convicted by a general court-martial on charges of domestic abuse. Military officials have launched an investigation into why his conviction was not properly entered into a database that would have prevented him from legally making any gun purchases.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, President Donald Trump expressed many of the same points raised by Lott.
The president also told reporters he is convinced the issue “isn’t a gun’s situation,” before adding “fortunately someone else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction” or the rampage “would have been much worse.”
Kelly, who arrived at the church wearing all black, later died of a gunshot wound.