Sunday, January 08, 2017

"Debunked"? Why?

I'm reading this news release from the NRA, and I don't know why the NRA is taking this approach:

NRA-ILA | 40 Percent Myth Further Debunked by Suspiciously-timed Harvard Report:
This week saw the publication of survey data compiled by Harvard Injury Control Research Center’s Deborah Azrael, Matthew Miller, and Lisa Hepburn, that should finally lay to rest the long-debunked factoid that 40 percent of firearms sales occur without a background check.
Who keeps track of how many firearms sales are conducted without a Background Check?  And how do they do that?  Wow, that's impressive: intuitive databases abound!

But that assumed factoid ignored:
Frankly, I'm resentful of the Federal Government's intrusion into the private sale of firearms.   Why is the NRA so particular about reassuring folks that "ALL" firearms transactions are registered and monitored?   Isn't the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Constitution?

(Yes, I am ignoring the part about criminals and madmen, temporarily, for the purpose of discussion; where does it say "except for ...." in the Constitution?  Some states are currently toying with the concept of restoring Second Amendment Rights to convicted felons; is this A Good idea, or not?   How about restoring "Voting Rights" for convicted felons, which seem to be part of the same package deal?   Isn't "suppression of civil liberties" part of penal retribution?  Should it be?)

What purpose does it serve, to require Universal Background Checks?

The stated goal is to prevent sales to criminals.  How would that work?  Do thieves and murderers obey the law?  I'm imagining a potential mass murderer agreeing to a background check during the purchase of a firearm, and ... uh, no.  It's just not working for me.  I figure that they just steal the guns.  After all, they're criminals.

On the other hand, I can think of at least one good reason why universal background checks are "Not A Good Idea":


I don't so much care about the added expense and inconvenience which Universal Background Checks imply (although that is a factor, at least), but why do these background checks require that the serial number of the firearm be part of the process?

The only reason I can think of is that this allows somebody to track the serial number of the gun; and the name (and other biographic information) of both the buyer and seller will be entered into a database somewhere.

Which is, of course, against the law unless deleted within a 'reasonable time period' (typically, one week if I'm not mistaken).  And of course I believe that the information will be permanently deleted.

If that is true, why?

Why enter the information into a database if it's due to be deleted in a week?  What's so magic about a 7-day time period?  Who gets that information, and what do they do with it? Impermanent data has no value.  I've been in the Data Processing business for most of my adult life, and I never saw any organization go to the bother of designing, building, maintaining and updating a database unless there is a reason for keeping a history into perpetuity.

 (Oh, sure: "backup"; it's a standard DB feature.  Right!  And I'll still respect you in the morning!)

This makes no sense at all!

Of course, we are assured (by the federal government ... oh, THAT'S a reliable source!) that the data is deleted "Real Soon Now".

So why is it entered in the first place?   They tell us that the information is only used to confirm that the buyer is not a felon, or a registered madman is trying to purchase a firearm.

 (Is there a "MadMen Database" somewhere, and who maintains it or vets the data input to make sure than any 'non-madmen' are not erroneously included? What ... the "No-Fly List?"  No, The Government would have no reason to conflate "Suspected, but not confirmed, terrorist" with "don't let this guy buy a gun".)

I thought it over, turned it around in my mind, and I still can't figure out why a private transaction should be entered in a database.

Sure, 'they' tell us that the transaction is not actually recorded; it's just input so they can check it against their 'people who we don't think should have a gun' list.

But why do all the assurances mention that the transaction will be deleted in seven days?
Why delete it if it isn't entered?  Can't they just check the buyer against the MadMen Database, without recording it?

Is it possible that "They" are lying to us??

"Just because I'm paranoid, that doesn't mean that 'they' aren't out to get me."

(also:  The check is in the mail", and "of COURSE I'll still respect you in the morning!")

I am reassured.  What possible reason can 'they' have to lie to me?


Anonymous said...

Simple: It is government workers, generating useless and unnecessary paperwork and data collection to justify their existence at the federal feeding trough, and an increase in next years budget.

Mark said...

Anyone who believes the data is deleted after a week (or ever for that matter) must have several imaginary friends as well.

Jerry The Geek said...

All of my friends, Mark, are "imaginary".

Even including you.

Mark said...

I thought it was "a great imagination".