After we learned that the Texas church shooter obtained his weapons because he lied on his background check, it’s important to understand what our leaders are doing to enforce existing gun laws. Just consider what Joe Biden stated to the NRA years ago.
Submitting false information on a background check form – ATF Form 4473 – is a felony. You can’t get a firearm legally unless you pass the background check and if you lie on the form, it’s punishable by up to ten years in prison.
But that’s exactly what Devin P. Kelly did. And nobody cared.
Kelly was convicted of assaulting his wife and stepson while in the Air Force. He also escaped a psychiatric hospital and spent a year in the brig.
Those facts should have kept him from buying a firearm, but the Air Force failed to update the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, so Kelly’s history never showed up when a check was run.
There is a bipartisan effort to close that gap, but how our lawmakers are enforcing existing gun laws matters. It matters a lot.
So let’s look back to early 2013. America was still reeling from the Sandy Hook massacre, when a man entered a school and killed 26 people. The country wanted answers and President Obama set up a task force – led by then-President Joe Biden – to come up with solutions.
The NRA was invited to meet with Biden, but it didn’t go well. According to reports at the time, they had a very short and unproductive meeting with the vice president. Here’s how The Daily Caller put it at the time:
During the National Rifle Association’s meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and the White House gun violence task force, the vice president said the Obama administration does not have the time to fully enforce existing gun laws.
Jim Baker, the NRA representative present at the meeting, recalled the vice president’s words during an interview with The Daily Caller: “And to your point, Mr. Baker, regarding the lack of prosecutions on lying on Form 4473s, we simply don’t have the time or manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately.”
Baker said the NRA was given five minutes to present their case. In those brief moments, they begged the administration to enforce existing gun laws.
But Biden was unmoved. He already had his sights set on his solution. More laws. More gun control acting on people who won’t carry out these attacks.
That was then.
Since President Trump came into office, however, prosecuting gun crimes has become a top priority.
One of Attorney General Jeff Sessions first orders was to step up these prosecutions and in July, the Justice Department announced that federal gun prosecutions rose 23 percent.
In the three months immediately following the Attorney General’s memo – April, May and June – the number of defendants charged with unlawful possession of a firearm (18 U.S.C. 922) increased by nearly 23 percent compared to those charged over the same time period in 2016. The number of defendants charged with the crime of using a firearm in a crime of violence or drug trafficking (18 U.S.C. 924), increased by 10 percent.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it shows the disdain Democrats have for enforcing existing laws. People don’t obey laws they know aren’t enforced, right?