During the Reagan administration, after the terrible attempted assassination, the Brady Bill was passed into law. The NRA fought hard to block it, but with national sensitivities what they were at the time, it passed. President Reagan called it an "enforcement mechanism" that "can't help but prevent thousands of illegal gun purchases."
Part of the bill was the requirement that prospective gun buyers should submit to a background check, which would ensure they were filling in the forms accurately as far as felony convictions and other prohibitive marks on their record. Before this, non-qualified persons simply lied on the form.
From the beginning the bill included the proviso that after the background check is completed and no disqualifying record is found, "all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer are destroyed." This was a concession to the gun lobby pressure that no hint of gun registration should result. The only problem was there was no specification as to exactly when the records should be destroyed.
During the Clinton administration it was decided that the records of these background checks should be kept for six months, consistent with the FBI recommendation. The NRA mobilized itself to fight against such rcord-keeping based on the concern that it would create a type of registry of gun owners. The problem with that according to them is such a registry could eventually be used for gun confiscation. The NRA demanded immediate destruction of all background records. Their argument was rejected in court.
A compromise was arranged whereby the background check information would be maintained for 90 days, instead of the full six months allowed by law. But even that wasn't good enough for the NRA, who under the Bush administration lobbied to have the records destroyed "within twenty-four hours," supposedly for "privacy concerns."
The result of these efforts on the part of the NRA is dasastrous. All because of their paranoid conviction that the government will eventually use these records to take their guns away, they have succeeded in manipulating the system and weakening good laws. We've talked about a number of cases lately which, had the background check information been available, might have been detected much earlier - the Mexican lady in Texas, and the North Dakota students, to name just two.
Not only are frequent buyers of guns going undetected because of this, but crooked gun dealers who aid criminals and straw buyers are nearly impossible to detect. The results are more murder, more bloodshed, all because the NRA, working on behalf of their members, is so concerned about privacy. The baleful results are incalculable.
I feel this is one of the worst, most blatant distortions of the national gun policy. I say anyone who supports the NRA, anyone who approves of these lobbying tactics that end up costing lives, must share in the responsibility for the gun violence in America. This guilt trickles down to every single legitimate gun owner, unless he has to good sense to distance himself from these dirty politics.
(Quotes taken from Lethal Logic by Dennis A. Henigan, pp 151, 152)
What's your opinion? I'd really like to know.