Former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe revealed stunning new information in a CNN op-ed column about the Trump administration’s efforts to get guns into the hands of hundreds of thousands of Americans wanted for crimes.
Andrew McCabe wrote the column to suggest to Congress a pair of significant gun reforms to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which are technical in nature but would have an immediate and sweeping impact. Neither of the two suggested reforms steps directly onto any of the NRA murder lobby’s hot button issues.
But it’s the twenty-year veteran former G-man’s explanation of how the Trump administration has made it easier for fugitives from justice and wanted persons, who shouldn’t have guns, to get guns. He writes:
“[I]n 2017 the Department of Justice issued new guidance limiting the fugitive prohibitor to apply only to people NICS could prove had crossed state lines to avoid prosecution or testifying in a criminal trial.
This new DOJ guidance ultimately led to the purging of 500,000 records from the NICS database — essentially greenlighting firearms purchases for half a million fugitives.
Congress could change this gap with a stroke of the legislative pen by simply making clear that anyone with an outstanding warrant — for anything — qualifies as a fugitive and is therefore prohibited from purchasing a firearm.”
“It’s hard to imagine the fugitive lobby putting up much resistance,” added McCabe, demonstrating an acerbic wit about the politics of guns.
For fifteen years, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and FBI disagreed about how to prevent fugitives from obtaining guns. After the ATF won the bureaucratic war to shrink the definition of fugitives, the Trump administration narrowed it down significantly.
Andrew McCabe’s second suggestion to Congress would close the background check loophole that helped the Charleston Mother Emanuel church mass murderer, white supremacist Dylan Roof, to get a gun when he would have otherwise failed a background check.
“Under the Brady Act, the NICS examiner has only three business days to do this work. Often it involves numerous contacts with jurisdictions that may not have ready access to their records.
FBI reports for 2018 reveal that in 4,240 transactions the purchaser was determined to be prohibited only after the three-day deadline expired. Each of these was referred to the ATF for a ‘firearm retrieval.’ The ATF confirmed that the legally prohibited person walked out the door with a new gun in 3,960 of these cases.”
Who can genuinely argue against McCabe’s goal of protecting the public by enforcing the blanket prohibition on wanted fugitives from justice buying guns?
McCabe’s suggestion that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System be given more than just three days to prevent thousands of guns from getting into the hands of the wrong people each year is simple, common sense.
Elected Democrats in Congress are ready to enact as many gun reform bills now as the GOP would stomach but Republicans are still singing the same NRA-sponsored tune when it comes to passing important bills to save American lives.
Majority leader Moscow Mitch told the press last week that he would bring up for a vote anything that President Trump would sign. Meanwhile, Donald Trump keeps lying about wanting to pass gun reform, then waiting for the NRA to call and tell exactly him what to do.
The only way Americans will get gun reform is if Democrats win the White House, keep the House, and win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in 2020.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.