The Washington Post recently reported on ISIS terrorist propaganda directing how to obtain firearms in the U.S. Reporting is fine, when you are dealing with facts. However, in this case, the Washington Post did not even come close.
It seems that ISIS, potentially listening to rants by uninformed gun control advocates, believes it is easy to obtain a firearm in the U.S. without an ID or background check. In the Post’s and ISIS’ defense, they do make it clear that this cannot happen at a federally licensed firearm retailer (FFL).
Where the Post failed was in its coverage of ISIS’ assertion that gun shows are an “easier means of arming oneself for an attack.” In truth, whether at a gun show or in the shop, every firearm that is purchased from an FFL—by federal law—requires a background check. On average, about 75 percent of the sellers at a gun show are FFLs. However, that still leaves 25 percent.
Federal law is the basis, but many other restrictions are often in place at a gun show. For example, most gun show promoters require all vendors leasing space at a show, including private parties, to agree to run background checks on all sales—regardless of whether they hold federal licenses or not. This may not be rooted in federal law, but gun owners are some of the most law-abiding citizens and understand what’s at stake. This may not account for 100 percent of sales, but it is darn close.
For the doubters, a Justice Department survey of inmates in state and federal prison that were incarcerated for a crime involving a firearm reported acquiring their firearm from a gun show was about 0.7 percent (less than 1 percent). That same survey found that about 40 percent acquired the firearm through illegal means such as theft.
ISIS later goes on to suggest robbing or ambushing an FFL. I am not sure what they are going use to do this, but it does beg the question, “If it is so easy to buy a gun at a show, why would you need to rob or ambush an FFL?” The Washington Post’s next error is to suggest that banning people on the Terrorist Watch list from purchasing a firearm would somehow prevent ISIS from obtaining firearms. This is such a flawed point; it is hard to sum up. However, the watch list is secret and severely flawed. An unknown number of people would be swept up and their Constitutional rights infringed if the watch list was the litmus test. To be clear though, the watch list does come into play; it is simply not a disqualifier.
When a firearm purchase goes through a FBI NICS check and a name matches the terrorist watch list, federal law enforcement is notified and the transaction automatically goes into a delayed status for three business days. This means no one is walking out with the gun the same day or from a gun show. These extra days give law enforcement the time necessary to do its due diligence and take any action it deems appropriate.
Even during a private party transfer, the seller is responsible for the sale. If it is legal in your state, and you choose to forego a transfer through an FFL, you are on the hook if the buyer was not legally allowed to posses that weapon. And as for the suggestion that “You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check…” the terrorists are wrong again. A private party can never do a private party transfer of a class III weapon or any item requiring a tax. With all of the red tape you go through to buy one of the firearms or items, it is hard to imagine anyone just “selling it on the street” without any federal paperwork.
How would you rate the Washington Post’s coverage? What about ISIS’ belief regarding how easy it is to acquire a firearm in the U.S.? Share your answers or thoughts in the comment section.