A few years ago California implemented a program to tie their registration databases into their background check databases, and then create a new database of people who have guns but are prohibited by law from owning them. Sounds great right? Well, only if you’re not a gun owner, or are and believe that these databases are actually accurate, which often times they are not. California has been sending police door-to-door as they’ve been going down the list and taking guns, forcing false positives to prove their innocence. Now this issue is finally getting media attention.
Phillips says, “It was traumatizing.”And shocking for the retired nurse, now a stay at home grandma, who’d never been in trouble before.“My first thought was ‘oh no what did my kid do.’ “The officers were there for one thing.“They were looking for the guns, because one was registered to me.”Phillips didn’t know yet, but her name was listed in California’s Armed and Prohibited Persons Systems. She was now considered someone who wasn’t allowed to own, or be around, firearms. So, all of her husband’s guns were confiscated, but not before being laid out on the front porch for neighbors to see.
Read the whole thing. If you spent enough time around pro-gun attorneys you’ll hear of cases far worse than this. You’d be surprised how many stories I’ve heard of mental health commitments being erroneously classified as involuntary, when in fact it was someone voluntarily seeking help.
We already know that a good number of NICS denials are false positives. The 2014 numbers say 14% of challenged denials were overturned, and there were 30,100 persons who have been issued a UPIN number. For those of you not familiar, if you challenge a NICS denial and win, you get a unique identifier that you give to the dealer upon each transaction, which lets the system know you’re cleared despite an erroneous record in the FBI’s database. In a lot of cases, it’s to clear up confusion with someone else with the same name and date of birth who has a criminal record.
So potentially, while California may be reaching a lot of genuinely prohibited persons in their wide dragnet, they will have a very large number of false positives. This is yet another reason we won’t agree to registration. We know from the registry the federal government already runs, the NFRTR — which is the database that contains NFA items like machine guns, short barreled rifles and shotguns, and silencers — that the registry is a bloody mess that ATF has been trying to quietly clean up for years.
If California did not have registration, they could never have tried this kind of “common sense” approach using shoddy data that’s going to end up with and uncomfortable number of old ladies proned out on their front porches. And criminals? They don’t register their guns with the police.