What’s more, while the F.B.I. database, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, has nearly 6.5 million records of prohibited buyers, two-thirds are simply the names of undocumented immigrants, who as a group constitute just 1 percent of those who were denied a gun.
In contrast, the entire prohibited-buyer database holds just 2,092 names of drug abusers, and only one of every 5,000 prospective buyers in 2010 was denied for reasons of mental instability.
A big part of the problem is that people who should be on the list, like those diagnosed with severe mental-health problems, are often left off, either because of bureaucratic hurdles or because several states are slow to report them to the federal government. According to a report by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence,
New Jersey submitted just eight names in 34 months from 2008 to 2010, compared with 60,677 from Texas.
The president should therefore call for several additions to the database: names on the terrorist watch list, military recruits who fail drug tests and patients ordered to undergo mental-health treatment, if their doctor or family requests they be added. He should also demand that reluctant states supply court records on mentally incapacitated residents.
An approach aimed at the person, not the gun, has a real chance of winning bipartisan support.
Somehow, I feel an approach like that, which certainly does focus on the people and not the gun, would not receive any more support from the pro-gun folks than an outright ban would.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.