Department of Pre-Crime and People Whose Looks I Don’t Like

I, for one, now feel much safer knowing that, in this dangerous world of ours, we are not only employing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make sure evildoers can’t get their hands on the All-Empowering Tools of the Second Amendment, but that we are also using highly-trained slack-jawed precogs who have harnessed the power to look into a man’s soul:

As someone who uses the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to check the status of potential gun purchasers, I have reservations about the proposed changes, even though I strongly believe that neither felons nor the mentally ill should have access to firearms. Actually, it is my concern over the mentally ill potentially accessing firearms that has me worried.

One provision of the bill that was described thusly:

The senator suggested earlier this week that he was pleased with negotiated language that would explicitly protect the ability of veterans designated as having psychological conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, to buy guns. The measure would also authorize procedures that would allow those successfully treated for mental illness to regain the ability to buy guns.

I’m neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, and I do not have anything beyond a layman’s understanding of how the human psyche is damaged nor healed. Frankly, based upon what I’ve seen of people who have been to psychologists and psychiatrists, I’m none to certain that the experts have any idea, either.

For this reason, I’m extremely leery about how they might determine whether someone who was once determined to be mentally ill is now “cured.”


While a NICS background check is an important tool in sorting out those who should not be allowed to purchase firearms, it is simply one tool based upon documented information.

In my opinion—and I believe that I share this opinion with many who sell firearms on the retail level—one of the best tools to determine whether someone should be allowed to purchase a firearm is an employee trained to look for certain “red flag” characteristics in a buyer. For every high-profile killer like Seung-Hui Cho, there are many potential purchasers without a criminal or mental record who should not be allowed to purchase firearms for other, less technical but still reasonable concerns.

I have, on more than one occasion, turned down a transaction after a NICS background check came back allowing the sale to proceed simply because something “wasn’t quite right” about the purchaser. Displayed maturity, firearms safety, certain mannerisms, personality traits, or other suspicious behavior can all be reasons to deny a sale that a database simply cannot account for.

I’m guessing “Twitchy” Mustafa might have a bit more difficulty in obtaining “home protection” than quiet loner Jimmy Ray…

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....