Online background checks


As the gun debate heats up both on campus and around the nation, another variable enters the mix: the validity of online background checks.

Ultimately, people in the area need to be able to decide whether they want [the Concealed Carry Act], but background checks are universal said spokesperson Colin Goddard during interview a few short days after presenting at CU. 

As a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and representative of the Brady Campaign, Goddard has traveled the country making statements on gun control – most recently here on the CU campus.

His focus is not on removing guns from the hands of citizens, but on improving the quality and efficiency of the background check system nationally in order to legitimize the gun industry.

Two main flaws in the current system have been exposed over the years. First , the federal background check system relies solely on felony or crime records and mental health evaluations- both of which need to be provided by individual states.

Second, the reliability of gun merchants can be unpredictable. According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) Public Inquiry Officer, Susan Medina, all licensed dealers are required to run background checks on buyers. All private re-sellers need to make what is known as a reasonable attempt to ensure an individuals ability to purchase a firearm.

However, Goddard himself has shown that private sellers in gun shows all over the country too often skip background checks, sometimes not even checking for a state drivers license. In one instance, he and his friend bought hundreds of dollars worth of firearms and assault weapons without once showing ID.

When they attempted to return them to the police station, they were subjected to an exhaustive background check1.

In our state, background checks are actually done at a local level. According to Susan Medina, the CBI does seven total database checks: four federal and three additional checks for each individual name. Although statements cannot be made on how this compares to other states, it does result in a fairly in-depth check overall, which does not rely exclusively on the federal system.

According to the organization Demand a Plan, we submit about 30, 885 mental health records annually to the federal database. That leaves 11, 192 that go unrecorded, in a state system that runs over 336, 296 background checks per year. According to the same source, Colorado submits mental health records more reliably than almost any Midwestern state, but less reliably than Texas, the West Coast and New York. Our main gap is not the background checks per se, but the number of people calling background checks in at all. In Texas, 1, The issue of gun control in America grows increasingly heated as the years pass. As college students in a swing state this election, this is just one example of an issue which now affects us in our day-to-day life, right here on campus.  Brendan G. Craine, a sophomore majoring in Japanese, feels that the gun control issue is too widely ignored. Especially in the wake of the VA Tech and Aurora Theatre shootings, the topic of gun control has become too poignant an issue to be ignored. Craine said. ìIt is all too clear that we need to take a strong look at the relationship we have with firearms in our everyday lives.  The decisions students make- as gun owners, voters, and residents have the potential to impact this debate deeply.

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