This isn’t good news, folks

A lot of people are pointing to a CNN article that references an official statement that the shooter bought the pistol used in the attack himself (and thus passed a NICS check), rather than being given one; despite being under indictment for a disqualifying charge. This is being used as a talking point about the uselessness of BG check. That’s not a good argument against universal background checks, though, certainly not one for our side. It’s an argument for doing away with NICS, yes, but replacing it with the kind of invasive and lengthy background check that predated NICS, and is still in use in NJ and some other places.

We need to be very careful about handing talking points to the other side – pointing out flaws in NICS gives them ammunition to replace it with an actual background investigation.

40 thoughts on “This isn’t good news, folks”

  1. It’s also not the first time this has happened. To date the antis have largly used people who have passed the NICS check as a reason to ban private sales.

    That doesn’t mean they’ll *keep* doing that however. They do use the vauge phrase “Expanded background checks”

    Though a differnce here is the chatter that this time the perp was a prohibited person. But that could also be wrong.

  2. Is SC not reporting prohibited people to NICS in a timely manner?

    If so, that is something that *should* be rectified.

    1. NICS was allegeldy “improved” after the VA Tech shooting. (Another case where an infringement was bypassed – the killer waited out a 30-day waiting period on handgun purchase, and IIRC, used AWB-compliant magazines as well)

  3. My understanding is that he had prior drug-related convictions. Wouldn’t that have disqualified him under SC law? In PA it would have…

      1. If they were felonies, yes.

        Misdemeanor? Nope. Not in the list.

        Being a current addict or user of illegal drugs is a DQ, but that’s not legally implied by a previous conviction, as far as I’ve seen in the US Code or on a 4473.

        1. Given the propensity to overcharge, the misdemeanor drug charges tend to be very minor indeed; and some are still DQs on sentence length

  4. The same article also says he reloaded five times. Magazine restrictions against non armed targets do nothing except give people a false sense of security. Quite frankly, its morally reprehensible that opportunities to do something **effective** are squandered by the anti 2A crowd to do anything.

    Could this shooter have been stopped? Possibly, but I doubt if any one law or even a series of laws are the right tool for this evil.

    There ought to be a law is great for those who want to live their lives on autopilot and who refuse to accept there is evil in this world.

    Sometimes we need to act beforehand. I’m sure there were warning signs, although I would bet the family shared the shooter’s views on many subjects.

    I don’t have an answer. There may not even be an answer as to what could have been done to stop these murders. But eliminating wrong answers is a necessary step to finding the right one.

    1. I saw a reference elsewhere to the shooter having purchased a “45 caliber Glock.”

      There are only a handful of pistols that fit that description, but they all have near-AWB magazine capacity.

        1. That’s why I said “near-AWB” magazine capacity: the G36 has less, the G30 is dead on, and the G21 is a bit over.

    2. I’m also sure there were warning signs, and they are probably always there.

      The problem about “There were warning signs”, sadly, is that (1) they are subtle, and difficult to interpret properly, and (2) often easy to see only in retrospect.

      And this is why “There ought to be a law” is bound to fail, no matter how hard we try. It is also why we need to be prepared.

      I think it’s important, whenever these things happen, is to *always* ask “Would the proposed law have stopped this event from happening?” If the answer is “no”, then it’s probably not a good law…or, at the very least (such as with mental health reform) we should only pass the law if it will nonetheless help lives, even if this particular even t won’t have been stopped.

      1. Another valid question that never seems to be asked is what the adverse effects of the proposal will be for those who have never, and will never, commit the crime the law proposes to make more illegal.

  5. We shouldn’t be giving the anti’s fuel for the fire, but I know alot of people will be.

  6. You do realize that it doesn’t matter either way? Had he failed the Brady check and somehow gotten the gun, it’s an argument for more background checks and gun control. Since he did pass the background check and got the gun, it’s an argument for more background checks and gun control. The fact that someone, somewhere has a gun is an argument for more gun control, in their minds.

    So what do we do, say nothing ever? I don’t think we can let the failures of gun control slide. When it’s proposed as a solution, it needs to be exposed as the morally bankrupt fraud it is.

    1. This.

      The notion of “prohibited persons” is constitutionally equal to literacy tests, and background checks are are constitutionally equal to poll taxes.

      1. You can deprive someone of their constitutional rights after “due process of law.” Otherwise, you couldn’t imprison them.

        1. In my quest for brevity I appear to have left my previous post lacking in clarity.

          I have no problem with a limited-term specifically adjudicated prohibition being applied to an individual while that individual is a ward of the state. Thus, prison/parole/probation/similar = prohibited if specifically adjudicated.

          Where I have an issue is the permanent nature of the current status quo whereby an applicable conviction is accompanied by a life-long abridgment of fundamental liberties. Also at issue is that lifting that prohibition basically requires the individual to bear the entire burden of proof that they are reformed, which basically requires them to be wealthy white men.

          I believe that the current system is unconstitutional due to the unlimited nature of the prohibition, the lack of any specific adjudication of the prohibition, the burden of proof and cost for any proceeding to actually adjudicate the prohibition, and that sending people out to live as second-class citizens constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

          Given the number of successful “as applied” challenges to individual prohibitions, it would appear that at least some of the judiciary agrees with some or all of my position.

          1. I’ve said a couple times (perhaps not here), that every part sentences, custodial and non-custodial, should either have a definite term or be for life; and that non-custodial portions of sentences should not be for life.

  7. I’m preaching to the choir, but the question I’d like to ask the anti-freedom gun bigots is why do we have to do any background checks? It’s counter to the Constitution to have to prove myself to be a good person before I exercise a civil right, except for guns, because GUNS!

    We used to have total leniency and there simply were not widespread violence issues because of the availability of firearms. Remember SEARS mail order, going to the hardware store, and so on. Did we have total unmitigated carnage…no. We need to be on the offensive that GFZs and the BG checks accomplish nothing and should go away.

    …Stepping off my soap box now. Sorry.

    1. I agree, and if I had my way I’d go a step further and bring back the old laws that Required every household to have a usable firearm and ammunition.
      And watch the crime rate drop as fast as the perps.

    1. Plenty of non-nefarious reasons for that. There’s an active police investigation ongoing, after all, and the race for a scoop means that everyone will run with what they have, whether it’s substantiated or not. As happens in every newsworthy event.

      1. In a philosophical sense, I don’t believe that the right to free speech/free press should extend to the careless dissemination of false information. In other words, similar to the long history of jurisprudence on slander/libel, and Holmes Jr.’s oft-quoted line about falsely declaring there to be a fire in a crowded theater.

        In practice, I’m not sure how such a legal theory could be implemented without doing more harm than good.

        Still, if it could be accomplished, I believe it would help in this kind of situation.

  8. It looks like they’re going after the “gun show loophole”

    In addition to CNN’s complaining here’s the president blaming the gun show loophole.

    Uh… so far CNN’s still saying the purchase was made at an FFL in person.
    Has that changed?

    I’ll note the president is only implying the purchase was made at a gun show. (Nervermind the whole FFL requirement…)

    Do they just not care? Is there more to the story that’s coming out?

  9. Roof DID NOT have a disqualifying charge or conviction. His pending drug charge has been widely misreported in the press as a felony, which is incorrect.

    You can access the court’s database here:

    If you do the CAPTCHA thing and then enter his name, you can see the Lexington County drug charge. It is an “any other prescription drug” charge, which is a misdemeanor.

    1. Was it punishable by a term in prison of more than a year? That makes it a “felony-light.” At any rate, the point stands. The argument can be made that a thorough background check would have bright to light his moral failings..
      I disagree, but you can bet the anti’s well push that

      1. No. The maximum sentence is six months. The law he is charged with violating is SC Code of Laws 44-53-370(d)(2). This is the “any other schedule 1-5 drug” charge, meaning it is the charge if you have a prescription drug without a prescription and the specific drug is not listed elsewhere in the law.

      2. How thorough? And why would drug-related offenses necessarily prohibit in the case of a “thorough background check”? You have states like CO that have legalized narcotics. You cannot be prosecuted for smoking marijuana there, so being a gun owner and a drug user in “some” parts of the country using “some” kinds of drugs would not necessarily be a DQ offense since it’s not even an offense in the first place.

        Then on the opposite spectrum you have most other states where possession is some kind of lesser offense.

        1. Federal law doesn’t recognize state legality of use. The question on 4473, per the Federal laws at issue, is “are you an unlawful user of or addicted to.” Per Fed law any use is unlawful, thus you’re a prohibited person regardless of formal convictions and if you mark “no” you’ve also lied on the 4473, a crime in itself.

          1. “Any use is unlawful.” Yes BUT that is not the question that is asked on Form 4473. The question is “Are you an unlawful user . . . .” — that means RIGHT NOW, as of when you are answering. The questions is NOT “have you ever used” or even “have you used in the last month.”

            Plus, that is something that cannot be picked up on NICS. NICS can tell whether the person has ever been arrested or convicted for a drug offense. But not whether they “are” an unlawful user as of this moment. Roof passed the NICS check, and that was the correct result.

            1. I wasn’t addressing Roof. If you use legally under state law, the issue I was addressing, you are, until Fed law changes, still a prohibited person per Federal law and the 4473.


    Here’s a sense of him going with the “deeper background checks!”

    Note the harping on the age and the strong implication that the purchase was made right before the murders.

    Note there isn’t a saying on *what* “common sense stuff” he’s acutally pushing for.

    Though do note the ritualistic anger at the failure of the 2013 congressional gun control.

    That’s the core of their complaint, it doesn’t matter what Congress does, just as long as it does *something*.

    Nevermind that nothing in the 2013 bills that the antis pushed would have stopped the SC perp from making the purchase (or if it was the father-to-son, that that was exempted).

    So yes, can see a more intrusive background check, waiting periods, and perhaps even a morals check (maybe NY state style where you have to have letters of reccomendation).

    The question is if they have the disipline to present those NICS tweaks or if they’ll lard up with some AWB bans, gunshow bans, and magazine bans too.

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