FBI Director James Comey says that data-handing errors and jurisdictional confusion within the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Operation Center allowed the man who shot up a Charleston church to legally acquire a handgun, even though he should have been considered a “prohibited person” under the law.
R___* went to buy the .45-caliber pistol on April 11 from a licensed firearms dealer, Shooter’s Choice, in West Columbia, South Carolina.
The background check examiner assigned to R___’s case identified an arrest on a drug charge. But the arresting agency was listed, for reasons Comey said were unclear, was the Lexington County sheriff’s office. The actual arresting agency was the Columbia police department. Had she looked there, she would have seen the arrest report in which R___ admitted having the drug Suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addiction.
The FBI’s confusion was further compounded by the examiner’s list of police agencies in South Carolina. That list, or contact sheet, placed Columbia in Richland County — where most of the city is located — but not in Lexington County. She selected what she thought was the most reasonable alternative — West Columbia, where the gun shop was located — but the police department there also said it had no record of R___’s arrest. Before she could track down the police report, the three days expired and the gun was sold.
But Director Comey is wrong. Nine times dead wrong.
In this instance, the difference between the killer being a prohibited person and being legally allowed to buy a gun before his trial on drug charges was that R___ admitted to being in possession of Suboxone in the police report.
Yes, the pre-trial classification system that strips Americans of their rights before they are tried in a court of law is just that fragile.
If the killer had simply disputed the charges with a simple “those aren’t my drugs,” he would have been able to still buy the Glock 41 pistol from Shooter’s Choice, even if the background check examiner had all the correct information that Comey is blaming as being the problem now.
In other words, the NICS background check system isn’t really the problem.
The problem is how we classify and designate “prohibited persons,” which is another issue entirely.
Of course, Director Comey doesn’t want to kick that constitutional hornet’s nest, and having that argument wouldn’t serve the gun control interests of his boss, Barack Obama, who will use this “review” to find a way to make the NICS system more onerous.
Comey is the head of the very same FBI that Judicial Watch caught colluding with the DOJ and IRS on how to throw Barack Obama’s political enemies in prison.
Pardon me if I question his motives for wanting to “fix” NICS.
* Bearing Arms does not publish the name of mass murderers or spree killers.