Making Progress - Technically Speaking
Are you a law-abiding citizen who wants to own a gun in Massachusetts?
You're looking at a 100 percent chance of having pages of personal information carefully scrutinized and dutifully entered into the state's Criminal History Systems Board database (name, address, phone number, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name, father's name, citizenship status, employment status, height, weight, eye and hair color, etc.).
Are you a criminal who has committed a violent crime in Massachusetts and is looking to leave the state to start a new life of thuggery?
You're in luck, my friend! The odds of having all this personal information - along with information pertaining to your criminal record - entered into the state's computer systems have now dropped to less than 5 percent!
New Hampshire Union Leader - 11/12/06:
NH says Mass. putting police in danger
The lax approach Massachusetts takes to entering its violent felony and serious offender warrants into the FBI's national computerized database endangers New Hampshire police officers who encounter these fugitives on the streets with no way of knowing their background.
New Hampshire law enforcement leaders said this concern for the safety of their officers is behind efforts to prod Massachusetts into placing its active warrants in the National Crime Information Center, the computerized index of criminal history information that agencies across the country rely upon when checking for outstanding warrants.
The Bay State now enters only about 5 percent of its active felony warrants into the FBI's database, commonly known as NCIC, they said.
Crunching the numbers, we find that the state's rate of accurately tracking felony warrants via the NCIC database has gone from 4.64% to 5.19% over the last nine months or so - a vast improvement of 0.55%!
At this rate, they'll be all caught up sometime in the second half of the year 2130. So, what's all the fuss about?
Of course, don't expect Mumbles to connect these dots.
1. Commit a string of violent crimes in Massachusetts - rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, whatever floats your boat - opportunities abound.
2. Serve eleven days in prison, if you're ever arrested, prosecuted and convicted - a whopping 30, if you get a real hardliner for a judge.
2.1 In the unlikely event, you ever get busted, call up one of your fellow scumbag buddies or a family member to come down to the lock-up with the $100 needed to bail out your sorry ass - $200, if you get a real hardliner for a judge.
3. Rent an apartment in New Hampshire, with a clean record (i.e. no violent criminal history logged into the NCIC database), courtesy of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
4. Obtain New Hampshire driver's license upon proof of residency.
5. Go to your local gun shop, and commit the felony of providing false information on the federal forms required for purchase of a firearm.
6. Wait for the shop owner to call in the criminal background check that comes back clean, again, courtesy of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
7. Return to the People's Progressive Republic of Massachusetts, fully-armed, to further your criminal enterprise.
8. Vote for Mayor Menino so he can blame New Hampshire for your life of crime, absolving you and the rest of your criminal scumbag friends of all responsibility for your actions (and don't forget to "forget" to inform the city's highly competent election commission that you're technically no longer a resident of Massachusetts).
The pathetic twist here is, Mumbles and his ilk will likely use this latest example of the Commonwealth's gross incompetence and lax crime-fighting efforts as justification for calling on New Hampshire to revamp its gun laws to mirror those of the crime-free metropolis of Meninostan - much like curing a migraine by cutting off one's foot.
But, hey, mini-manhole covers for everyone!
UPDATE: From commenter, wolfwalker:
I couldn't help but notice a flaw in your argument. The Union-Leader story talks about fugitives with outstanding warrants, not convicted felons with permanent criminal records.
I noticed this also, as I was re-reading the Fox-25 story from last February. Can anyone with the legal background on this tell me how outstanding warrants affect one's ability to pass an instant background check.
I would assume that would be something that would send back, at least, a temporary disqualification for any attempted gun purchase.
Regardless, The fact remains that Massachusetts is apparently doing NOTHING to ensure that law enforcement officers throughout the region have the ability to identify and apprehend dangerous fugitives - quel surprise!
As the Fox-25 story points out:
Now we have proof the state has been well aware of the problem. A special state senate report released in 1999 highlighted the state's failures. But still nothing's been done to fix it!
I'm thinking now that my estimate above, of the year 2130, was far too generous.
UPDATE II: Also from wolfwalker...
Bruce, I'm no lawyer, but a bit of research shows that as far as I can tell, your point holds up despite the "warrant vs conviction" question. Orange County Shooters has a GIF of BATF Form 4473 online at their website -- the one you fill out for the instant background check. Question 11d seems directly on point: it asks if you're a fugitive from justice, which you certainly are if there's a warrant out for you. A 'yes' answer means you can't buy a firearm. And lying on the 4473 is perjury.
Of that much, I was aware, having personally filled out that form on multiple occasions.
In addition, I was able find this at FBI.gov:
The NICS is a national system that checks available records on persons who may be disqualified from receiving firearms. The FBI developed the system through a cooperative effort with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and local and state law enforcement agencies. The NICS is a computerized background check system designed to respond within 30 seconds on most background check inquiries so the FFLs receive an almost immediate response. Depending on the willingness of state governments to act as a liaison for the NICS, the FFLs contact either the FBI or a designated state point-of-contact (POC) to initiate background checks on individuals purchasing or redeeming firearms, and in certain instances, firearm-related permits. The background check process, as performed by the FBI and by state POCs, is described below.
I'm not 100% certain, but it sounds like, even here in the gun-free People's Utopia of Massachusetts, persons with outstanding felony warrants not entered into the NCIC database could possibly apply for, and receive, Firearms Identification Cards, the issuance of which is not subject to the discretion of the town or city's licensing authority. Can anyone verify this?
I think I'll blame North Dakota!
And George Bush.
But, I digress.
Federal Categories of Persons Prohibited From Receiving
- Persons who are fugitives of justice; for example, the subject of an active felony or misdemeanor warrant.
So, enjoy your new shotgun, Mr. Carjacker.
You can thank all the gun-fearing folks making our laws and setting our licensing policies, who have decided that our cities' and state's limited resources would be best used scrutinizing and updating all the personal information of the state's law-abiding gun owners, instead of you and your fugitive friends.
Now, would you like rifled slugs or 00 buckshot with that?