Sunday, February 21, 2010

Caldara Calls for End of Insta-check

John Caldara, a local libertarian leader, wants to end Colorado background checks for gun buyers in favor of federal checks. Ending the local checks would save the state $1.7 million per year, Caldara claims.

Federal law requires a background check on everyone who buys a gun. Colorado goes a step farther and requires a check from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as well. The CBI check, called Insta-check, checks the FBI's databases but also checks against Colorado records.

I asked my Dad, a retired police officer, to explain the difference between the two systems. (Dad adds the disclaimer that his information is a few years out of date.)

The background check is to discover any criminal behavior which would prohibit the purchasing of a firearm for reasons listed on the checked boxes of the Federal reporting form. Basically there is no difference between the two. Both the state and the Feds run checks through the Federal NCIC [National Crime Information Center]. Both can also access the state's CCIC [Colorado Crime Information Center]. As far as I know, these are the only computerized records. (Denver has its own records computerized but it reports to the state.) Together they would cover warrants and arrests. State computers also contain information on restraining orders. State records might also contain information that does not rise to the attention of the Feds. Neither covers medical records.

Dad brings up a couple of good points that I didn't think of while reading through the linked article.

However, to my way of thinking, the more local control the better regardless of the cost to the state. If CBI drags it feet on background checks, it is far easier to prod them in the butt than it would be a Federal agency which could be influenced by anti-gun states and their Congress people. A prime example is the insta-check. If clearances are not made in a timely fashion, gun shows would be kaput. Those are sales which can not be delayed for a "come back tomorrow". Pressure is put on CBI to have extra agents available during the shows. While I have limited information on how the CBI operates, I do know from experience that show sales seem to take less time than sales from stores during non-show weekends.

The whole trend in gun rights is in removing Federal involvement. That is why Wyoming wants to produce its own guns for sale within its own boarders. It removes Federal authority by removing the "interstate commerce" aspect.

The case can be made that if background checks are a Federal requirement, they should be funded by the Feds. Of course, that might take the checks out of the hands of the states. What this might lead to is what happened the the FFL [Federal Firearm License] gun dealers. The Feds persecuted a large percentage out of business. The few remaining shops have reported fines for minor paperwork errors or missing advisement posters.

Gun shows are a prime example of the usefulness of Insta-check. When a big gun show comes to Colorado, the CBI adds staff to handle the added checks that come in. Remember that most gun shows happen over the weekend. If the CBI didn't put that staff in place, most of these shows would die. Pressure was brought on the CBI to ensure that there were enough people in place the handle the load. There is no way that kind of pressure could be brought on the Feds.

Remember that what the Federal government pays for, the Federal government controls and they have not been shy about abusing that control. TARP and the auto bailouts have made that abundantly clear. It will be the same with health care if ObamaCare is allowed to pass. As nice as it would be to shave that $1.7 million from the Colorado budget, it's worth the cost to keep the Federal government from attempting to control the right to bear arms in Colorado.