Connecticut Senators Urge
Obama to Break the Law



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By Kurt Hofmann, July 15th 2015
JPFO writer contributor, © 2015.

Gun ban zealots had no doubt planned to exploit the savage, senseless, racially motivated butchery of nine black churchgoers to push for their biggest "gun control" priority of recent years--universal background checks. Those plans hit something of a snag when it was revealed that the alleged killer had purchased the handgun he used from a licensed dealer, with the background check requirement in place.

This came as a surprise to many, because of the alleged perpetrator's recent arrest for felony drug possession--a crime to which he admitted guilt. By federal law, even with the conviction still pending, his name is supposed to have gone on the "prohibited person" list, rendering him ineligible to purchase a gun, and unable to do so under the FBI-administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The FBI has now admitted it screwed up in not flagging his name, allowing him to essentially "run out the clock" on the three-day deadline for the FBI to establish his ineligibility to purchase firearms. From the FBI's website:

If the search is matched to any potentially prohibiting records, the NICS Section must reach out to judicial and/or law enforcement agencies for the information needed to render a final decision. The Brady Act allows three business days for this purpose. If the information is not obtained within the three-business-day time frame and a final decision of proceed or deny is not made, the FFL [Federal Firearns Licensee--a federally licensed gun dealer] has the option to legally transfer the firearm.

Chris Murphy (D)

And the gun ban zealots rejoiced, because even without the so-called "private sales loophole" to rail against, they do indeed have a scapegoat: the three-day deadline for the FBI to find a reason to block the sale. Not quite as much as they wanted, but it will have to do. And both of Connecticut's United States Senators, Chris Murphy (D) and Richard Blumenthal (D) are wasting no time in jumping on that lame horse and seeing how far it might take them. From their press release:

In response to the announcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Charleston shooter Dylan Roof should have been prohibited from purchasing the firearm used in the murder of nine men and women last month, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today announced that they will call on the Administration to take executive action to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by closing a loophole in the law and putting an end to the "default proceed" rule. Under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the "default proceed" rule currently allows federally licensed firearms dealers who have initiated a background check, but have not been notified by the FBI within three business days whether or not the sale of a firearm to a certain individual would violate law, to sell the firearm.

Richard Blumenthal (D)

Murphy and Blumenthal are, by the way, not bothering to mention that although federal law requires that the sale be allowed to proceed after three business days, the check into the purchaser's background is supposed to continue, and if, after any length of time, it is determined that the purchase should not have been permitted, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is supposed to be notified that a prohibited person has nevertheless bought a gun, and the BATFE is supposed to retrieve it (and presumably arrest the purchaser). The alleged killer returned to pick up the gun not three days after the background check was initiated, but five days, so even that is apparently an insufficient period of time to determine if a purchase is legal or not. Furthermore, he bought it two months before his atrocity at the African Emanuel Methodist Episcopal Church, all of which time his ineligibility could have been discovered, the gun retrieved, and the purchaser arrested. None of that happened, so Murphy and Blumenthal apparently believe that two months and five days is too tight a deadline.

But that's far from the worst of it--the senators want Obama to "take executive action" to lift the deadline (on what, remember, is called an "instant criminal background check"--three days is hardly "instantaneous"--and now that's apparently not enough)? As per the actual text of the law, the gun dealer must be permitted to proceed with the sale if certain conditions are met--including this one:

(ii) 3 business days (meaning a day on which State offices are open) have elapsed since the licensee contacted the system, and the system has not notified the licensee that the receipt of a firearm by such other person would violate subsection (g) or (n) of this section;

That is the law, and the President is not endowed with any legitimate power to just up and change laws as he sees fit. Obama would no doubt dearly love to have such power (and seems sometimes perhaps to think he does have it), but he does not, and cannot ever be given that power over an ostensibly free people.

Murphy and Blumenthal presumably know this, but are urging Obama to take this reckless, unconstitutional course anyway. Is it just idle political theater--something they have no real hope of happening, but will further strengthen their already well established anti-gun street cred, or do they truly hope to goad the President into this crime?

A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.

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