Reading the title of the piece you might be tempted to quickly answer, “nobody.” And if you’d just stepped out of a time machine from twenty or thirty years ago nobody could blame you. But in today’s political climate, it was probably almost a given. As our colleague Brandon Morse describes over at Red State, a moment of silence for the shooting victims in Texas was indeed held in the House of Representatives on Monday night. But not everyone was participating. One member was busy posting to Facebook, showing how he was actually outside refusing to take part. And that man was California Representative Ted Lieu.
The famed Alinksy-esque instruction “never let a crisis go to waste” has never been ignored by the left, even in the most tragic of situations, and California Rep. Ted Lieu proved just that on Monday.
On Monday night Lieu took to Facebook where he made a show of standing in front of the chamber of the House of Representatives and telling his audience that while the rest of his colleagues share a moment of silence for the Texas church shooting victims on Sunday, Lieu would not be silent.
After talking about there having been too many moments of silence, the California Democrat got to the real reason he was putting on this performance.
“I urge us to pass reasonable gun safety legislation, including a universal background check law supported by 80 percent of Americans, a ban on assault rifles and a ban on bump stocks,” said Lieu.
As Morse goes on to point out, all of this virtue signaling, even as people were still fighting for their lives in local hospitals, is standard fare for Democrats these days. We could have a lengthy discussion of just how dishonorable this act was, while still being fully within Lieu’s rights of free speech, but the linked article already does a fine job of that, as well as deflating some of the arguments Lieu was making.
Instead, I’d rather look at one of the unique demands Lieu was tossing around, specifically the one calling for more background checks “supported by 80 percent of Americans.” As with most aspects of the gun rights debate, Democrats are quick to call for new laws impacting the law-abiding far more than any criminals, but have little interest in seeing that existing laws are being enforced first.
In this case we should be looking at the background check system. While Lieu is no doubt calling for even more regulation in the process which might sweep up those who have received treatment for minor cases of anxiety in a net designed for the mentally ill, the Texas shooting has revealed what seems to be a hole in the NICS background check system. Allahpundit actually touched on this last night, but today we’re learning more about the failure of the military to report prior offenders who should not be able to purchase guns under the current system.
There’s one report at the Trace which indicates that the Texas church shooter was far from unique in terms of his military punishment record being made available for NICS use. As already noted, the military doesn’t really employ the term “domestic abuse” in the same way civilian law enforcement does. Because of that, convictions for crimes which should keep you from purchasing a firearm don’t register. How bad is this situation? If this report is accurate, there’s only one record of domestic abuse in the entire Department of Defense.
A scan of active records shows the Department of Defense has just a single misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence on file with the National Criminal Instant Background Check System, or NICS.
Here’s the chart, which also shows that the military has currently submitted zero records for members subject to domestic violence restraining orders, the other category of domestic abuse that gets a civilian barred from buying new guns from licensed dealers. (Unlicensed sellers, who in most states do not have to conduct background checks, are a whole separate problem.)
You can view the chart at the linked site, but the numbers are fairly stark and basically zero across the board. There are also no records of restraining orders filed for domestic abuse (another category which prohibits firearms purchases in most cases). I know we’d all like to think of our men and women in uniform in the best possible terms, but trust me… I’ve lived on military bases. Our troops run into these types of problems just like civilians do and in some cases, they go well and truly off the rails. It might even be worse in the military community in some ways because long deployments put so many strains on military marriages.
We don’t need any new gun control laws just because the Texas attack happened, but we do need to honestly and seriously enforce the laws which have already been communally agreed upon and put on the books. The military needs to provide accurate, useful criminal discipline records of discharged service members to the NICS system in a way which closes what is clearly an obvious and dangerous loophole.