Loading...
BYH: To the City of Greenville, NC. Your town is a boring town, filled with drunks(bars), nothing else to do. Crimes in...

Little progress in enforcement of existing gun laws

Gun Laws Domestic Abuse Q And A
1 of 2

A customer looks at a pistol at a vendor's display at a gun show held by Florida Gun Shows in Miami.

AP Poll Guns
Loading…

Monday, March 11, 2019

Gary Martin was exactly the kind of person that gun control background checks — a federal system now 25 years old — was designed to catch.

It failed. Again.

In Mississippi in 1994, Martin stabbed his girlfriend with a kitchen knife, beat her with a baseball bat, and warned “we are all going to die” if she left him. He should have never been able to buy a gun after that. But many years later, shopping for a gun in Illinois, Martin lied about his criminal past, and a federal background check missed his felony aggravated assault conviction and prison term in Mississippi for attacking his girlfriend.

Martin bought himself a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun.

Illinois authorities later discovered the error and revoked Martin’s firearm permit. But all that happened next was a letter from the state police telling him to give up his gun. Despite the state’s tough gun laws, he didn’t. Instead, in February, as he was being fired from a warehouse job in Aurora, Martin used his Smith & Wesson to kill five co-workers and wound five police officers before being shot to death.

Last week, two important pieces of gun control legislation passed the House of Representatives. One closes the so-called gun show loophole by requiring universal background checks, an idea favored by 85 percent of Americans. The other extends the background review period from three days to 10, allowing more time for disqualifying records to be found.

Both bills have an unlikely future in the Republican-controlled Senate. But improvements of any kind will ultimately fall short when existing laws are not vigorously applied. Americans can hardly be expected to get behind new gun laws when authorities keep bungling old ones.

The Brady Law of 1993, mandating the criminal-background check, has never been adequately enforced. (The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, administered by the FBI, was established in 1998 in response to Brady.)

Nearly 1.5 million people have been denied firearms under the system. But unlawful purchases still occur because agencies fail to provide NICS with necessary records or don’t follow up when mistakes are made.

And people keep dying.

The Air Force failed to notify NICS about the criminal record of a discharged airman who then bought an assault-style rifle and killed 26 people at a Texas church in 2017.

Travis Reinking’s guns were taken away in 2017 after a White House trespassing incident. Police gave them to his father, and investigators said Reinking later used one of them to allegedly murder four random people at a Waffle House near Nashville last year.

A report last year found 112,000 cases in 2017 where people lied about their backgrounds to buy a gun, a potential felony. Only 12 cases were prosecuted.

Of the 10,818 people in Illinois like Martin who had their gun licenses revoked last year, more than 8,000 kept their illegal guns. According to the Chicago Tribune, 10 people were arrested for the offense.

Some progress has been made. Last year, Congress passed legislation offering incentives to state and local agencies to improve NICS compliance. But the Justice Department told The Wall Street Journal that states have yet to submit millions of records to the FBI.

Federal record submissions have increased by 400 percent, but a requirement that military service branches like the Air Force do a better job of reporting criminal backgrounds has not been met. The Department of Homeland Security has also failed to abide by the law.

The nation is awash in firearms. The least that federal, state and local agencies can do is enforce existing laws preventing the violent and the mentally ill from acquiring guns.

USA Today

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

March 24, 2019

The minimum wage is now less about pay and more about inequality.

As a practical matter, the minimum wage doesn’t apply to the vast majority of workers. In North Carolina in 2016, only 38,000 out of 2.5 million workers earned exactly the minimum wage. (Another 52,000 workers — mostly…

March 23, 2019

Last week we wrote about Democratic ambitions to pack the Supreme Court. This week the Electoral College is on the chopping block as Senator Elizabeth Warren comes out in favor of its abolition, Beto O’Rourke makes sympathetic noises and Colorado’s Democratic governor signs a bill…

Electoral College-3

March 19, 2019

The indictment of dozens of wealthy parents, including several Hollywood actresses and business leaders, along with the top college athletic coaches they allegedly bribed, tells a shocking story of corruption and deception in college admissions. If the charges are true, these privileged but…

College Admissions Bribery

March 19, 2019

There is no other way to put this: Arming teachers in North Carolina classrooms is as bone-headed an idea this year as it was last year. And the year before.

Small wonder a number of public school teachers have expressed fierce opposition to a pair of bills in the General Assembly that would do…

021019teachers05

March 16, 2019

To recklessly throw around claims of voting fraud is to play a dangerous game that could do lasting harm to our democracy.

Yet politicians from the White House to the local level are indulging in that game more and more. Social media and casual conversation cheer them on.

NPR pointed out a recent…

Election 2018-North Carolina

March 12, 2019

Body-worn cameras were supposed to serve as a silent witness in confrontations between police and civilians and usher in a new era of public confidence in law enforcement through transparency.

As a Thursday hearing in Nash County Superior Court shows, we’re failing on both fronts.…

Bailey.jpg.jpg

March 11, 2019

Gary Martin was exactly the kind of person that gun control background checks — a federal system now 25 years old — was designed to catch.

It failed. Again.

In Mississippi in 1994, Martin stabbed his girlfriend with a kitchen knife, beat her with a baseball bat, and warned “we are…

Gun Laws Domestic Abuse Q And A

March 05, 2019

Could the president known for his turbulent relationship with the media and strident criticism of negative news stories become a free-speech savior?

In a bombshell pledge during a two-hour speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he’d put…

March 04, 2019

Placing police officers in more of North Carolina’s public schools could be a positive step toward increasing school safety — if it’s done the right way.

The school safety committee formed by Gov. Roy Cooper after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February has…

Gun Violence Cooper

March 02, 2019

Whether he’s a big believer in the Constitution or just terrified of a President Bernie Sanders with unchecked power, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis got it right last week on President Trump’s so-called national emergency at the Mexican border.

North Carolina’s junior senator split from…

Trump Border Security
81 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 9
        Next Page»   Last Page»