TOM THE DANCING BUG: USA's gun purchase... and background check

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the United States seeks to make a gun purchase, but is first put through a required background check...

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HEY, YOU GUYS! Be the first on your block to see Tom the Dancing Bug, by @RubenBolling, every week! Members of the elite and prestigious INNER HIVE get the comic emailed to their inboxes at least a day before publication -- and much, much MORE!

Please click HERE for information. Yes, now.

Published 9:02 am Wed, Apr 24, 2013

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60 Responses to “TOM THE DANCING BUG: USA's gun purchase... and background check”

  1. Roose_Bolton says:

    Ohhhhh SNAP!

  2. Jewels Vern says:

    Shenanigans! Generals don’t wear sergeant stripes!

    (I actually noticed that! I feel so smart, I hardly know how to act!)

    • Boundegar says:

      Gun dealers don’t do background checks, either, so I guess that’s fair.

      • Navin_Johnson says:

         And he could be on the terror watch list and still get approval so the general was probably ok from the get go.

        • Johnny Come Lately says:

          Because the terror watch list has proven to be so wonderfully accurate and effective so far. 

          I realize what you’re trying to say but citing TSA security theater in support of your position seems like a bad way to go. 

          • Navin_Johnson says:

            I realize what you’re trying to say but citing TSA security theater in support of your position seems like a bad way to go.

            I doesn’t seem like you do. The accuracy of the National (not just TSA) list and being able to dispute a persons inclusion on it are another issue. The fact is that this kind of loophole is the kind of one that is easily exploited by somebody like the elder brother in Boston, or any other number of actually dangerous people.

            http://www.wbur.org/npr/178668578/people-on-terror-watch-list-not-blocked-from-buying-guns

          • Johnny Come Lately says:

            See, I think that the accuracy of the list and our inability to dispute or even confirm individual inclusion on it are pretty defining issues with the list. Therefore I find the idea of it being at all involved in the criteria for purchasing a firearm (or just about anything really) pretty odious.  

      • Johnny Come Lately says:

        Gun dealers conduct NICS background checks. You should try looking these things up.

        • wysinwyg says:

           Whooosh

          • Johnny Come Lately says:

            If Boundgear was being sarcastic that wooosh is totally appropriate, but I’ve grown accustomed to people earnestly making the claim that gun dealers don’t currently conduct background checks. It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between ignorance and sarcasm. 

          • wysinwyg says:

            They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive.  I read Boundegar as saying that despite the well-known requirement for gun dealers to do background checks they often don’t but saying so in a sarcastic, humorous fashion.

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          They don’t have to at many shows or on the internet. So basically a lunatic doesn’t have to do much work to get a gun.

          • Johnny Come Lately says:

            Guns purchased on the internet are shipped to FFL licensed dealers who conduct a background check before the firearm is turned over to the buyer. So you’re half-right. A gun purchased privately in a state that allows private sales can be facilitated by a website that introduces a seller to a buyer, but the sale itself has to be face-to-face. Any gun shipped in the commission of a sale has to go to an FFL. 

          • Navin_Johnson says:

            Yet dealers are still doing what you describe with much impunity. What is your problem with cracking down on people bending and breaking these rules? It would seem like you have no dispute with the government doing this.

          • Johnny Come Lately says:

            Sorry Navin, what exactly were you looking for in terms of citations? I’m sure I could reference an article in a largely partisan publication the way you did but I don’t think that’d fly with you. 

            Of course I’m not going to go digging up the relevant laws just to appease you. We don’t agree and that’s fine (also I’m at work and doing research on your behalf sounds really tedious). 

            I’ve purchased and sold firearms via the internet before. Clearly you haven’t. I’m pretty confident in my understanding of how it works. 

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             I linked directly to the actual legislation. What is your beef with it? The fact that mentally ill people can’t buy off the internet or people who have a history of beating their wives?

    • Just_Ok says:

      That’s the new Corporal General that the Pentagon is testing. It’s from a G2 and a G3 initiative making a G5 combined op sec plan…

  3. Jewels Vern says:

    Shenanigans! Generals don’t wear sergeant stripes!

    (I actually noticed that! I feel so smart, I hardly know how to act!)

  4. CSBD says:

    Oh.. I get it, its satire, that explains how it really has no bearing on gunshows and reality or on the ATT and arms transfers or sales from US arms manufactures in to the US military.

    Atleast when south park made fun of loose arms transfer records and accountibility they based it on a factual event.

    Why not move on from this topic to the Boston bombers and all of the race/muslim issues that are being brought up by CNN, fox, etc. in regard to Chechnya, the Caucusus etc.  

    Or how about some sort of satire about unregistered fertilizer plants that explode and kill people because there was no background check on the nitrates and amonia…

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      Leave Britney absurdly loose gun laws alone!!!

    • Nothing is stopping you from making that comic yourself. 

    • wysinwyg says:

      Can you explain how this has no bearing on gun shows and reality?  Is it not a fact that firearms can be legally obtained without a background check at gun shows in 33 states in the US?

      • Mister44 says:

         The only sales that don’t require background checks are face to face private sales. Of which there are VERY little. The people who spend money for a booth at a gun show for private sales are generally collectors or someone selling off a relatives collection.  I don’t know of any hard figures, but speaking from experience I would be surprised if private sales at gun shows exceeded 5-10%, and from experience one is more likely to find hunting riles and shot guns, not assault weapons.

        All the other licensed dealers there still go through the regular steps you would at a store.

        So there is not ‘gun show loophole’. A ‘private sales’ loophole, if you insist.

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          That’s not true. And if it WAS then there would be no reason for you or others to oppose the legislation (that most Americans and gun owners overwhelmingly back) since it only requires background checks for gun show purchases and dealers on the internet:

          Before and after the vote, the NRA said the measure “would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms” and required “lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission” to exchange guns. The measure didn’t expand background checks to such private transfers. It applied to sales by unlicensed individuals at gun shows and on the Internet.

          http://factcheck.org/2013/04/nra-misrepresents-police-survey-legislation/

          • Mister44 says:

             Pardon – what what isn’t true? That private sales are a minority of gunshow sales? Attend a few shows and you will see.

            Legislation to close the ‘gun show loop hole’ would also affect every other private sale through other means such as the news paper, craigslist, etc etc. To pass a gun down to your kid or sell a rifle to a neighbor would require gov. permission and that doesn’t set right with some people.

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             Lies, and cited in this thread. Embarrassing.

          • Pete Austin says:

            Did you really just say that people sell guns on craigslist without background checks?

          • eeyore says:

            Shrill as Navin is, he has you on this one.  There are two possible reasons for your response. 

            You are either knowingly lying to suit your cause, 

            OR  

            You are ignorant of the content of the law, and are refusing to accept new factual information because you do not like the source ( Navin ), because it does not suit your world view … and in spite of the fact that it is well documented and easily verified. 

            To be clear ( and non partisan )

            1.  The law specifically and explicitly applies background check requirements to sales made at gun shows or on the internet.  I don’t know about you, but I rarely sell firearms to my family or close friends via craigs list or a gun trading site.  

            2. The law specifically and explicitly excludes in person transfer to family and friends from a background check requirement.  

            So, contrary to your assertion, the law would NOT make you get a background check to  pass grampa’s treasured hunting rifle, or WWII service pistol down to Junior.

          • Ito Kagehisa says:

            Well, you’re pretty loud and shrill yourself, you know.  Just sayin’.

        • wysinwyg says:

          1. I didn’t use the phrase “loophole” anywhere so why even bring it up?
          2. I never said anything about hunting rifles vs. pistols vs. assault rifles.  Since most guns used in crimes are handguns I am much more worried about untraceable handguns than untraceable assault rifles.
          3. A “private sale loophole” that can be and is used at gun shows may IMHO be described quite accurately as a “gun show loophole”.  Disagreement will be taken as semantic quibbling and experience indicates that the quibbling is meant to derail from the substance of the discussion.

          • Mister44 says:

             1. The whole comic is basically about the gun show loop hole.

            2. Again, you are looking at a minority of sales. Criminals get their guns through illegal means like straw purchases.

            3. I feel one is a more accurate – but six to one, half dozen to another.

            Private sales go beyond just gun shows. I know its archaic, but check out your news paper want ads. There is something that rubs people the wrong way that they have to get the gov involved in selling their  own property.

          • wysinwyg says:

             1. The question was why are you chiding me for calling it a “gun show loophole” when I never did that in the first place?  It seems like a non sequitir in response to my comment, right?
            2. a) “Minority of sales” in what sense?  It is not clear from context whether you mean, for example, “minority of sales to criminals” or “minority of sales at gun shows”.  Either way, it doesn’t really address the point as long as it is a way by which people with violent criminal records can obtain guns.
            b) “straw purchases” almost certainly includes purchases at gun shows.  The “straw purchase” talking point is pretty quickly looking to me like a “straw man”. 
            3. Exactly.  Inconsequential semantic quibbling.  So back to my point (1): why bring it up in the first place?

            As for the rest, yes private sales or giveaways between individuals seems to be the most common means by which repeat offenders get their hands on firearms.  I’ve already argued this.  Saying, “the gun show loophole is one means by which this could happen and should therefore be addressed” does not logically preclude this.

          • Mister44 says:

            @ wysinwyg   Never meant to chide you for anything.

          • Steve says:

            Like when I sell my car?

    • chenille says:

      Why not move on from this topic to the Boston bombers and all of the race/muslim issues that are being brought up by CNN, fox, etc. in regard to Chechnya, the Caucusus etc.

      Indeed, why would he ever write about gun control when it’s not the topic du jour? The issue will still be around after the next mass shooting, and the one after that, and the one after that. I’m sure nobody would fault him for making fun soon after those.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Or you could stay on topic.

  5. John Napsterista says:

    Just curious:  Raise your hand if you’re against both voter ID laws and against “background checks” for person-to-person gun sales. 

    *raises hand*

    • wysinwyg says:

      Umm, why should I be against background checks for person-to-person gun sales?  Honest question.  Also, why the scare quotes around “background checks”?

      • John Napsterista says:

         For the very same reason you are against voter ID laws, for starters.  How much voter fraud actually occurs in the U.S.?  A negligible amount? And for that, we want to burden, even minimally, a constitutionally protected right?  No way.  It’s absurd basis for doing so, and its true reason is clear:  To prevent people from voting.  

        Now, ask yourself:  How many people, out of a population of 300+ million, will use an assault rifle purchased at a gun show this year to murder someone?  Free societies should be loathe to regulate any kind of private sale of goods between private individuals.  Exceptions –especially when they impact constitutionally protected rights –had better be addressing something which is endemic and cannot be addressed by any other means.

        “Background checks” is in quotes because it is an indistinct term.  What do you want to check for?  Age?  Because most gun shows already do that before you can purchase something.  What, specifically, do you want to check about someone’s background?

        • wysinwyg says:

          You’re making no sense.
          1. The number of murders in the US is not negligible unlike the amount of voter fraud in the US.
          2. Why would I ask myself only about murders committed with assault rifles?  They don’t only sell assault rifles at gun shows. How many people will be murdered with weapons bought at gun shows? Considering the fact that such guns will be essentially untraceable after being sold at a gun show I would guess “lots”.
          3. We “burden” — more officially known as “regulate” –  constitutional rights routinely. 
          4.

          Free societies should be loathe to regulate any kind of private sale of goods between private individuals.

          I simply disagree.  You need to justify this sort of statement but you can’t because you probably don’t want me buying barrels of mercury and storing them on land anywhere near your drinking water.
          5.

          What, specifically, do you want to check about someone’s background?

          Felony convictions would be a good and obvious start.

          • John Napsterista says:

            And you’re not comprehending English, or at least the cartoon, properly:

            1.  We’re not talking about the number of murders annually in the United States.  We’re talking about the number of murders committed by assault rifles purchased at gun shows without background checks –you know, the subject of the cartoon?  I maintain that number is small, approaching zero.    Gun stores already perform background checks –that’s not what’s at issue here.  The issue is whether such checks should be required at private sales.  

            2.  Because the cartoon is about buying assault rifles without background checks –fully automatic ones at that, which generally aren’t even sold at gun shows, and which are seldom used to kill anyone here, but whatever.  

            3.  A law impacting a constitutionally protected right must be narrowly tailored to achieve its ends in the least burdensome way possible.  So again, what is your specific proposal for doing so, keeping this in mind?

            4.  You’ll need to reconsider the meaning of “loathe.”  It means a reluctance, not a prohibition.  Buy as much mercury as you want.  Pay mind to the applicable environmental regulations when you do.  

            5.  So you would prohibit a 70-year-old man with a felony weed possession conviction from 1963, who hasn’t been in any trouble of any kind since, from owning a gun?  Thanks for so succinctly allowing me to prove my point.

          • wysinwyg says:

            And you’re not comprehending English, or at least the cartoon,

            Actually, you’re not.  You’re reading it too literally.

            1. Actually, that’s not the subject of the cartoon.*  But even if it was that wouldn’t constrain discussion of the issues raised by the cartoon.  I am still free to talk about murders committed with firearms that were at one point sold at a gun show which is a lot more relevant to the question of gun control.
            2. See above.
            3. Without a team of lawyers at my disposal I was unable to write a proposal in advance of this discussion.  Presumably any such legislation would involve a compromise between both sides but since you idiots are unwilling to compromise I guess we just let Congress keep writing laws that don’t reflect the desires of either side.
            4. I understand the meaning of the word “loathe.”  I am neither “loath” nor “reluctant” about the regulation of the private sale of a great many things including (but certainly not exclusive to): mercury, weapons-grade plutonium, ammonium nitrate, slaves, and guns.  In some cases (especially slaves) I’m outright enthusiastic about regulating the private sale of such goods.
            5. Of course I never said that.  But since you accuse me of doing so you shouldn’t mind me accusing you of saying that you’d happily sell a firearm to a convicted rapist and murderer.  I can’t believe you’d be so irresponsible and admit it on the internet!

            *Notice how the cartoon also seems to make statements about the conduct of the US military.

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             

            5.  So you would prohibit a 70-year-old man with a felony weed
            possession conviction from 1963, who hasn’t been in any trouble of any
            kind since, from owning a gun?  Thanks for so succinctly allowing me to
            prove my point.

            The bill focuses on history of mental illness and criminally on violence, specifically domestic abuse. For obvious reasons…

            http://www.manchin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=8134649f-6d23-4ef2-882f-6a4555ff4889&SK=BDEA0DD2B0F4D93F905B5BC8DF6F76B6

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          The defeated background checks that the majority of all Americans and all gun owners were in favor of were for background checks at gun shows and for dealers selling on the internet, not you selling your gun to your brother or friend.

          But the measure only called for expanding background checks for sales by unlicensed individuals at gun shows and online. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the sponsors of the background check legislation, criticized the NRA for telling people that it would
          criminalize private transfers. Manchin, who received an A rating from the NRA last year, told MSNBC that the NRA’s claim “is a lie.” He added, “I would hope they would correct that.”

          http://factcheck.org/2013/04/nra-misrepresents-police-survey-legislation/

          • wysinwyg says:

             

            The defeated background checks that the majority of all Americans and
            all gun owners were in favor of were for background checks at gun shows
            and for dealers selling on the internet, not you selling your gun to
            your brother or friend.

            The latter is where most guns used in crimes come from according to federal statistics.  I do worry about gun shows creating a market where gun ownership can’t be traced but actually private sales to friends and relatives are a huge problem too.

        • Prolapsed Cranium says:

           Looking at worldwide statistics,  the US  has a far higher percentage of gun violence than any other large industrial democracy (the so called “west” but also Japan and South Korea and some other countries.)  So clearly there is some kind of problem in America that relates to guns, and it would be nice if we could do something about it.  I suppose if you don’t like the idea of background checks we can come up with something else, except so far I haven’t heard of any serious proposals from the gun-loving part of our population except stuff that essentially boils down to “we just need MORE guns!”

          Please forgive me if that “solution” sounds like a load of crap.

          Now if you are opposed to the government regulating private sales of anything between individuals, as you claim, then perhaps I can sell your children some heroin.  After all, a few deaths here and there, statistically a small part of the population, that’s just the price of freedom, right?

          • John Napsterista says:

             I suppose if you don’t like the idea of background checks we can come up with something else, except so far I haven’t heard of any serious proposals  

            You want a real proposal for reducing gun violence?  OK, here’s mine:

            1.  Zero tolerance for any crime of physical violence.  Jail on the first offense, prison on the next.

            2.  Crimes of physical violence on any victim who has never been convicted of a felony to be treated as a Class X offense (Illinois-speak for “we treat it really harsh-like”).

            3.  Zero tolerance for abusive (physically or not) cops.  Warning on the first offense, suspension for the second, fired on the third.  Criminal provisions as above.  

            4.  Mandatory martial arts, first aid, yoga and Linux training in all public schools, starting in first grade

            5.  Financial penalties for parents of children who are convicted of crimes, and immediate reduction in welfare benefits (if any) upon incarceration of any minor child.

            6.  Vigilant enforcement of Section 8 housing regulations, fine and jail time for owners of Section 8 properties found to be in noncompliance.  

            7.  Passage of concealed carry and stand-you-ground law for law-abiding citizens

            8.  Reform of all drug laws (not just marijuana), elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing for all non-violent drug crimes.

            9.   Take money saved on futile drug-enforcement efforts and put it towards mental health services and vocational training.

            10.  Tax incentives for businesses which hire “at risk” youths

            11.  Artist-friendly tax incentives for artists settling in “at risk” neighborhoods

            People are always going to have access to guns in the United States, and violent people will  occasionally do violent things with them.  It’s far more useful, and realistic, to concentrate on creating a society with fewer violent people.  Other countries have done it, we can too. 

    • Navin_Johnson says:

       Hand remains down. I’m not afraid of a nut going into a school and voting kids to death.

      • Ito Kagehisa says:

        I’m not afraid of a nut going into a school and voting kids to death.

        I am.  I remember the nuts who voted for  Bush and Obama, and those votes sure did kill a whole lot of kids.

  6. Johnny Come Lately says:

    It would be nice if the government would allow regular people to conduct background checks during the commission of firearm sales, but of course they nixed that idea when they created the NICS system. 

  7. Johnny Come Lately says:

    Um… fully automatic weapons require not only a background check but registration with the BATFE, a $200 fee, and about 6 months of paperwork to purchase. Thanks to the 1934 NFA and the 1968 Gun Control Act there’s a finite supply that cost anywhere from $5,000 to tens of thousands of dollars a piece, no new ones can be registered, and you can only purchase one at a time. 

    But then in order for that to be relevant we’d have to care about facts.

    Background checks are performed at many gun shows. I can only speak from personal experience but out of the 4 states I’ve lived in you aren’t eligible to purchase firearms at local shows unless you go through a background check, and any licensed dealer who sells to you at the show will also run a background check. 

    As I understand it the NICS background check system was originally meant to be usable by anyone conducting a firearm sale, including private citizens. It was changed so that only FFL licensed dealers would be able to conduct background checks (which do not divulge personal information, only give a sell/don’t sell answer) because anti-gun legislators were afraid that allowing everyone access to the NICS system wouldn’t do enough to discourage what they called “kitchen table dealers” operating out of their homes (people who don’t sell enough guns to justify the cost of an FFL). Imagine how much a non-issue background checks would be if we all had access to the background check system as it was originally intended.  

    But then it would’t be fair if we expected people to know what they’re talking about when expressing opinions about a deeply divisive issue on a public forum, would it? At least not when that forum functions largely as an echo chamber for fact-free opinions.

    It really is a shame people at BoingBoing care less about factual information pertaining to gun ownership (by which I mean ALL, not just the scary soundbites) than they do about facts regarding piracy and genocide in Guatemala. Imagine the wonderful discourse we could have if you didn’t rely so heavily on ad hominem attacks… 

    • wysinwyg says:

      Or maybe…just maybe the facts you’re so fucking worried about aren’t actually relevant to the point of the cartoon and you just need to lighten up a little.

      Background checks are performed at many gun shows. I can only speak from personal experience but out of the 4 states I’ve lived in you aren’t eligible to purchase firearms at local shows unless you go through a background check, and any licensed dealer who sells to you at the show will also run a background check.

      Instead of relying on personal experience you could look shit up and discover that background checks aren’t required at gun shows in 33 US states. Which indicates that there are probably “many” gun shows where such checks aren’t performed.

      • Johnny Come Lately says:

        Except that when people express strong opinions on this subject they rarely limit those expressions to comments on a “fucking cartoon.” 

        You’re right. I could look shit up. The funny thing is, I thought about taking that paragraph out because I had a feeling that whoever responded to my comment with an opposing view would probably latch onto that and studiously ignore everything else I said, but decided that my personal experience would probably serve as a decent example of how things probably *should* be at gun shows. 

        Womp-womp.

        • wysinwyg says:

           Yes, there should be background checks at gun shows.  I agree with that 100%.  Now are you willing to betray your current allies who disagree vehemently such as John Napsterista above?

          Didn’t think so.

          • Johnny Come Lately says:

            Well thanks for answering that one for me. Your answer is a lot less informed and “wordy” than mine would’ve been. 

            I don’t disagree with background checks, but I disagree with the manner in which they’re conducted. I think the NICS system should be available to anyone in order to make background checks easier to conduct.

            I also didn’t like some of the things that were tacked on to this bill but that’s probably a conversation for another time in which I shouldn’t technically be working on work-related things. 

            It’s a good thing you’ve got me all figured out though. Otherwise we might’ve had a conversation.

          • wysinwyg says:

            Well thanks for answering that one for me. Your answer is a lot less informed and “wordy” than mine would’ve been.

            And yet I was exactly right at the same time.  Notice how your response is addressed to me and not to someone who actually disagrees with you.  Your Nina Simone routine would be a lot more convincing if you addressed your argument to the anti-gun control folks who are adamantly against background checks on private sales rather than the dude who just said,

            I agree with that 100%. Now are you willing to betray your current allies who disagree vehemently such as John Napsterista above?

          • Johnny Come Lately says:

            Wysinwyg, my response was to you because you are addressing me and my position. Context, son, context. 

            You were not exactly right, and your “Nina Simone” crack would be a lot more entertaining if you weren’t going so far out of your way to misrepresent my response to the things that you say to me as tacit approval of people who are anti-background check. 

            We effectively agree on the idea of background checks and yet because I don’t agree with you completely it’s somehow appropriate in your mind to take me to task for not supporting your long-winded debate with some other dude.

            Lets not forget, this thread started with your response to me. If I’m addressing you on this it’s because you felt the need to open a dialog in response to something I said. 

            (also this response is to myself since the thread won’t let me respond to you directly)

  8. tom says:

    So the General now knows that he is not legally able to purchase firearms and seeks to purchase them anyway. I think this comic illustrates the fact that CRIMINALS DON’T FOLLOW THE LAW.

  9. MattAtDoyle says:

    I assume the general’s pelvis was blown off in whatever war he earned his stripes in.

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