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The Truth About Background Checks

Wayne LaPierre says our nation's broken background check system is one of the greatest failures in the history of American leadership.

Wayne LaPierre says our nation's broken background check system is one of the greatest failures in the history of American leadership.

Episode Transcript

Here's what the media won't tell you. The NRA has fought for 20 years to put the records of those adjudicated mentally incompetent into the National Instant Check System. And until the politicians demand that they are submitted, killers who are legally prohibited from owning firearms will walk into gun stores and pass every background check they take.

So if they really wanted to make a difference, the media would lead every newscast with a reminder that the names of millions of violent felons, criminal gangbangers and adjudicated mentally incompetent and dangerous people are missing from the background check system. But no one gets ratings by telling the truth about how to stop mass killers … so they don't report that 38 states submit less than 80 percent of their felony convictions to the system, leaving more than 7 million felony convictions in the dark.

They don't tell you the truth. Instead, the only thing the average American has heard about background checks is the absolute fallacy that what we need is more. The system is only as good as the records within it … and the records only get submitted if the politicians demand it.

What do the Oregon killer, the WDBJ killer, the Charleston church killer, the Santa Barbara killer, the Maryland mall killer, the L.A. airport killer, the D.C. Navy Yard killer, the Aurora movie theater killer, the Tucson killer, the Virginia Tech killer and both Fort Hood killers have in common? Every single one of them passed a background check.

If you cast a net and the fish swim through the holes, you don't need a bigger net. You need tighter holes. But when it comes to a background check system that's missing the names of millions of prohibited people … the politicians don't want to fix it.

The best-kept secret is that the National Instant Check System wouldn’t exist at all if it weren't for the NRA. It's true. Back in the '90s, President Clinton forced passage of a mandatory waiting period on every handgun purchase in America. Not a background check. A wait.

But NRA said as soon as the technology was available, their wait had to be replaced by an instant background check, done by the dealer, at the point of sale. NRA supported it, NRA got the votes and NRA got it passed.

"The best-kept secret is that the National Instant Check System wouldn't exist at all if it weren't for the NRA."

We demanded an honest system that was supposed to make sure good people can purchase firearms as quickly as possible. A system that catches violent felons, the adjudicated mentally incompetent and dangerous, and every other prohibited person right at the point of sale … where they would be prosecuted for a federal felony. But they aren't! What has happened instead is one of the greatest failures in the history of American leadership.

In 2010, roughly 80,000 prohibited people committed a felony by trying to buy a gun. Just 44 were prosecuted for it. Does that sound like a good number to anybody?

So when you hear politicians who won't fix the broken system talk about expanding it, don't buy it. Demand what works. Put armed security in every school. Fix the broken mental health system. Enforce the federal gun laws against every criminal thug on the street. Prosecute dangerous people when they show up to buy a gun. And for God's sake … put every prohibited person into the system.

That's what common-sense gun laws look like.

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