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Universal Background Checks Won’t Solve the Problem

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Last year a University of Utah track athlete was shot and killed on campus by a man she had dated and reported to police about his suspicious behavior.

University of Utah police found Lauren McCluskey’s body in the back seat of a car on campus after her worried mother called police.

McCluskey, 21, apparently had a relationship dispute with the shooter, identified as Melvin Rowland, 37.

The shooting led police to lock down the campus for hours while they searched for the suspect.

Early the next morning Salt Lake City Police found Rowland downtown and briefly chased him.

Rowland slipped into the back door of a church, where he was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Rowland was a registered sex offender and was convicted in 2004 on a felony charge of enticing a minor and attempted forcible sexual abuse.

Lauren had dated Rowland for about a month before she learned about his criminal history and ended the relationship.

Rowland had lied to Lauren about his name, age, and his background.

Shortly before the shooting, Lauren was on the phone with her mother, as she was walking back to her apartment after her night class.

Suddenly, Lauren yelled, “No, no, no!” That was the last anyone heard from her.

Sadly, in the month prior to the shooting Lauren had contacted University of Utah Police regarding Rowland’s behavior.

She reported that he had attempted to extort money from her, and that she believed he was stalking her.

Ultimately, this tragedy led the family of Lauren, as well as the community to ask many questions.

One question was, how did Rowland, who was a convicted felon, obtain the .40 caliber pistol he used to commit the murder.

Stupidly, the owner of the gun used to kill Lauren had loaned the weapon to the murderer in exchange for $400.

Nathan Vogel, 21, admitted in court that he deceived a licensed Salt Lake City dealer to purchase a .40-caliber pistol.

As part of a plea agreement, he avoided a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison, instead getting credit for time served and being on supervised release for three years.

In addition, Vogel is prohibited from possessing a firearm in the future.

Vogel was indicted for the illegal buy after police discovered that he provided the pistol to Rowland, who wasn’t allowed to have one.

Vogel told officers that he and Rowland had worked together as security guards, which is why he got the gun, and Rowland knew he was short on cash.

Rowland offered Vogel $400 to borrow the gun, which Vogel thought he was using to teach his girlfriend to shoot.

Instead, Rowland used it to kill Lauren.

Here’s the problem, guns carried and used by felons, gang members and other criminals are most likely obtained by transactions that violate federal or state law.

My point is universal background checks won’t stop criminals because the majority of them obtain their guns illegally.

With that in mind, here are the top reasons universal background checks will ultimately fail to stop criminals.

Background checks hurt law-abiding citizens. The majority of background check denials are mistakes.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check system is inaccurate and nearly 95% of denials are false positives.

The databases the government uses to determine eligibility for gun purchases are rife with errors.

Ironically, this is the same problem experienced with the “No Fly” list.

Remember the five times that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy was “initially denied” flights because his name was on the anti-terror “no fly” list?

His name was just too similar to someone that we really did want to keep from flying.

So, expanded checks are more likely to keep guns away from law-abiding than from criminals.

Background checks don’t stop criminals. Expanding background checks wrongly suggests gun ownership is the problem, when in reality evil people are the problem.

In fact, a national survey of prison inmates found that just 10 percent of male respondents who admitted to having a gun at the time of their arrest had obtained it from a gun store.

The other 90 percent obtained them through a variety of illegal ways such as buying them from criminal associates, or even stealing them.

Lack of mental health reporting. While people point to guns as the problem, they fail to look at the bigger picture of mental health issues.

The thing is individuals with mental health issues who are prone to violence are, by law, “prohibited persons” who are not allowed to lawfully access a firearm.

The problem is the current background check system is a data-driven input system, therefore, it can only check what information is inputted into it.

In many cases, states and others fail to enter legally allowable information that would stop a “prohibited person” from passing the background check.

Basically, if the information isn’t in the system, it won’t stop anyone.

Universal background checks simply won’t stop criminals.

The reality is these people will obtain guns elsewhere, and an inaccurate background check only hurts lawful purchases.

Don’t forget that requiring background checks including for private sales cannot effectively be accomplished without creating a gun registry.

The last thing you want is for the government to track every gun you purchase.

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