The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Has Been a Massive Failure

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

You might be less than shocked to find out that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which was passed in 2022 ostensibly to reduce gun violence, has been a massive failure.

After two tragic mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, Congress decided it was time to once again pass a useless federal gun control law. Democrats and Republicans signed on to the measure, promising the American public that it would somehow curb gun crime while not infringing on our right to keep and bear arms.

Unfortunately, the bill has not lived up to the hype, according to Bearing Arms’ Tom Knighton.

The BSCA imposed a series of provisions that included extended background check periods for gun buyers under the age of 21. It allocated $750 million to help states to implement and beef up their red flag laws. It also established new federal offenses for straw purchasing and gun trafficking.

In a report obtained by The Associated Press, the White House claimed that over 500 people were arrested and charged with gun trafficking under the legislation. The report also claimed the law’s enhanced background checks stopped about 800 gun sales to folks under 21.

However, Knighton raises some important questions about the White House’s claims.

Now, let's break these numbers down for a moment.

500 people were arrested in a nation of more than 330 million people. I'm not entirely sure you can chalk all of that up to any act going into effect since it looks a lot like statistical noise. The report doesn't say how this law was necessary to stop cartel members from other countries from buying guns, which was already illegal, either.

As for the 800 people prohibited from buying guns, I have questions. First, do we know they were truly prevented from buying a firearm or did they go to the black market and get one after being denied? How many of those background checks prohibited innocent people from getting guns because of some confusion at NICS? It happens more often than many realize, after all, so there's no reason to believe it can't happen here.

Again, though, this is a country of 330 million people. This may sound like a lot of people being prevented from buying a gun, but if you're looking at our violent crime rate as a whole, this is nothing. This isn't even a drop in the proverbial bucket.

But for any innocent people barred from buying a gun due to a mistake, it's a big deal. They're now left trying to figure out how to protect themselves as they also try to figure out how to fix their data in NICS.

The White House brags about 14 states spending money to promote their "red flag" laws, but there are 21 states (and the District of Columbia) that have those laws in place. One-third of the states that have Extreme Risk Protection Orders in place aren't even applying for the "free" federal funds to expand their use. That's hardly a sign of success.

Of course, the White House is banking on the very real possibility that most people won’t think deeper about the impact of the law or ask the same questions Knighton did. Even a cursory bit of critical thinking would tell us that perhaps the Biden administration is in full spin mode when it comes to the BSCA.

Even when the law was first passed, it was abundantly clear that it was not going to save lives, nor would it respect the Second Amendment. The law was passed because two horrific tragedies occurred, which prompted the usual calls for “action” on guns. Sensing an opportunity to further violate gun rights, our intrepid lawmakers jumped into action to pass the BSCA. Sure, it wasn’t the sweeping gun restrictions President Joe Biden wanted when he first came into office, but it was something.

The law was passed not to safeguard public safety but to make it appear as if the government was finally taking concrete action against gun violence after national outrage over the two mass shootings. In this way, the BSCA is like nearly all forms of gun control. It sounds like it will help, but it really doesn’t. It’s nothing more than “feel good” legislation.

Yet, as Knighton highlights, it seems likely that law-abiding folks were disallowed from purchasing firearms because of the law – which is icing on the cake for the anti-gunner crowd. Nevertheless, it still appears those favoring gun control are losing the battle, given the rate of increased gun ownership. Hopefully, this paradigm shift continues.


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