The Corner

Politics & Policy

Why People Who Fail Gun Background Checks Usually Aren’t Prosecuted

Yesterday on Fox News, Ted Cruz went after the Obama administration because “in 2010, 48,000 felons & fugitives lied and illegally tried to purchase guns, [the Obama administration] prosecuted only 44 of them.” He touted a 2013 bill he co-sponsored that, among many other gun-related provisions, would have created a task force and allocated $50 million over five years to prosecute more people who try to buy guns and are rejected during the background check.

This shift in the use of prosecutorial discretion deserves close scrutiny.

Also, as The Trace reported last year, some states that handle background checks themselves (instead of relying on the FBI) have been making more of an effort to arrest people and have seen results. It highlights Pennsylvania, where the police “decided to investigate every failed background check.” Investigations skyrocketed, and arrests doubled — but the number of investigations was more than quadruple the number of arrests in 2014, the year after the change, with the number of arrests about double the number of convictions. Then again, those are good proportions relative to the one Cruz highlighted.

So, yes, let’s make a bigger effort to find out what’s going on in these cases and see if more should be prosecuted. But don’t assume that all or even most of them should be, given the rights of the accused and our desire to focus punishment on the most serious offenders.

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More