When human beings make a mistake, and know they are making a mistake, they attempt to rationalize their decision. Most of the time, these justifications are shallow and nonsensical.
Here’s a perfect example:
When Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law sweeping new restrictions on firearms this week, he cited the prevention of suicides by handgun as one of the reasons he supported the legislation.
“However many homicides we have each year with handguns, we have about 20 percent more suicides,” he said. “That number drops significantly when you have universal background checks.”
The new law in Colorado expands the requirement for background checks to private and online gun sales. Previously, only licensed firearm dealers were required to run a background check. Now, nearly all firearm purchasers will have to undergo a background check, and experts in suicide prevention say adding that extra layer to the process could save lives.
While there are generally several high-profile examples of suicides around the nation where someone obtained a firearm for the sole purpose of shooting themselves every year (often via shooting range rentals), there is no data that I can find that suggests that Colorado’s expanded background checks play any roll at all in stopping such suicides. Hickenlooper’s claim is highly suspect, and CBS News can hardly be accused of threatening to commit an act of journalism in repeating such an unsupported claim uncritically.
The only way the law would possible contribute to the prevention of suicides is if the person is either:
- a criminal, at which point they are unlikely to obtain a firearm legally anyway
- someone who is mentally ill and has had their mental health records reported to the FBI NICS system
And how does Colorado do in reporting their mentally ill to NICS?
In Colorado, only a tiny fraction (about 1%) of people who have gun-disqualifying mental health histories have been reported to the National Instant Check System, where they could be discovered in a routine background check of a prospective gun purchaser.
In other words, the law was designed to fail, Hickenlooper knew it would fail, he lied about it anyway and CBS let him get away with it because they play for the same ideological team.
Did I miss anything?