Universal Background Checks Would Have Prevented Charleston Tragedy


Roof said he bought the gun he used in a local gun store.

If it’s true …



Yes, it was preventable:

Federal law prohibits people with pending felony charges from obtaining firearms. In February, Roof was arrested and later charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, and the case is pending.

Because of his criminal record, Roof would not have been able to buy a gun from a store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on gun purchasers, and Roof’s pending charges should have turned up as a red flag.

But Roof didn’t need to go to a dealership. According to his uncle, Roof received a .45-caliber pistol from his father in April for his birthday, Reuters reports.

South Carolina is one of 40 states that do not require background checks for private gun transactions, like the one that allegedly took place between Roof and his father. Gun control activists call this the “private sale” loophole.

Memory hole: President Obama has been pushing for universal background checks since the Sandy Hook shootings.

President Barack Obama put pressure on Congress Monday to quickly pass legislation ensuring universal background checks for all gun purchases, while also demanding votes be held on bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Obama’s emphasis on background checks seems to reflect the reality that the assault weapons ban doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, while support for universal background checks enjoys extremely high support in public opinion polls.

“The vast majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners, support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun,” Obama said in Minneapolis, standing in front of law enforcement officials.

He appeared to take a veiled shot at the National Rifle Association, which has reversed its support for ending background-check loopholes despite polls showing that gun owners broadly support such a law.

One group of people is standing in the way of public safety. One group of people and one group only. It’s time to stop listening to the people who have been consistently wrong about America’s peculiar national disease.


Filed under gun control, Guns

21 responses to “Universal Background Checks Would Have Prevented Charleston Tragedy

  1. The federal background check bill exempted transfers between immediate family members, such as between father and son.

    • Some, not all family transactions — and gun humpers still fearmongered that this was an infringement on 2nd Amendment rights. Which is why I’m in favor of truly universal background checks. No gifting a firearm to anyone, without going through a licensed dealer and getting a background check.

      Because people are too fucking stupid for the 2nd Amendment. What idiot father GIVES his crazy son a gun for his birthday? What idiot MOTHER takes her crazy son shooting for therapy? Nancy Lanza, that’s who. Sorry, but that’s the very definition of negligence.

  2. Shutter

    Well put SB.

    And has anyone noticed that the suspect was captured ‘without incident’? A suspect who allegedly killed 9 people and was no doubt still carrying the firearm he used to kill the victims?

    Oh, right. He was a white kid suspected of killing blacks.

    Not the other way around. Lucky for him. No armored cars, no swat teams, no snipers, no nothin’. Probably walked up to the car window and politely asked him to roll down the window please sir.

    Double standards exist throughout this entire incident.

  3. Jill Meyer

    I’ve wondered WHY we sit like sheep after each of these slaughters – and, yes, that’s what they are – and do nothing. Maybe its because these murders are so horrific, we can’t imagine the death and carnage that ensued. What we need are “wake-up” calls, and maybe that would be by printing the pictures of the scenes AFTER the broken bodies are removed to show what happens when 20 first graders are gunned down or 9 praying people are gunned down. Something has to wake up the American public to see what death-by-gun actually looks like.

    Though I’m of the firm belief that if Newtown didn’t get things going our way, nothing will. So sad…

    • Shutter

      Sadly, I have seen photos from battle scenes in Vietnam. Ironically, they were published by Larry Flynt in an issue of Hustler magazine way back in the day. HIs point was to show the true horror of war, not the sanitized and filtered stuff we think of as war.. John Wayne, sturdy young men in uniform, shoulder wounds etc. I have NEVER forgotten these photographs of the dead because the damage done to a human body by a high-velocity bullet is unimaginable. It literally has to be seen to be understood. Words fail.

      By not releasing photographs of the many victims of gun violence in the US we are insulating people from the true effects of death by gunshot. ‘Privacy’… ‘respect for the dead’… ‘protecting the feelings of the surviving family members’… all of that is bullshit and only goes to perpetuate the carnage. Family members should step forward and release true images of the violence unleashed by gunfire even at the cost of their privacy and their feelings if they truly want to help stop the madness.

      • Jill Meyer

        I fully agree with you about releasing the pictures of the bodies, but if that is too much for our “delicate” natures, then release the pictures of the rooms after the carnage. Blood and body parts might do the trick. Though, I am so discouraged I don’t think anything will help at this point…

  4. Jim in Memphis

    If the father purchased the gun from a licensed retailer with the intention of giving it to his son then he was required by law to inform the retailer of that and a background check would have been run on the son. Otherwise the father is guilty of straw purchasing the gun and should be prosecuted. In addition, if the father knows his son is prohibited from owning a gun – which he should know that his son had pending felony charges, then he is also guilty of breaking the law by giving the gun to him. The father should be prosecuted for the laws he already broke.

    • Follow it, Jimbo(b) let us know as soon as he’s indicted.

    • wuzyoungoncetoo

      – “If the father purchased the gun from a licensed retailer with the intention of giving it to his son then he was required by law to inform the retailer of that and a background check would have been run on the son.”

      You are absolutely and completely wrong. Even forgetting the fact that the father did NOT purchase the pistol (the shooter did that himself…from a federally licensed firearms dealer…and passed the federal background check), you may legally purchase a firearm as a gift for someone else, and the giftee need not be subject to a background check for that purpose. In fact a FFL may not run background checks on anyone who is not attempting to purchase a firearm from them. The caveat is that you may NOT purchase a firearm for the purpose of later gifting it if you know, or should know, that the giftee would be precluded by law from legally owning that firearm.

  5. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    Actually, while background checks ARE useful, ley’s not over-estimate them, or, more importantly, background check LAWS. These will NOT make a major change in the culture unless they are enforced, but, unless the culture as a whole swings against guns, they won’t BE enforced.

    The ‘other Jim’ is right that laws were broken, and, in retrospect, the father could have been arrested, tried, and punished. But let’s get real here. The only reason why we are zeroing in on the transaction is the horrific result.

    As a purely random guess, let’s say that 7000 fathers throughout the ‘bullet belt’ were planning on giving their sons — of whatever age — a gun for their birthday, yesterday. How many of them have read the news, read about the laws, and have changed their mind? Five, maybe?

    In fact, probably more than a few of those fathers have some connection to law enforcement, police, sheriff’s office or the like. Do you think they will be any more likely than anyone else to take the gun back and buy the kid something else?

    And now many of these will even be as afraid of prosecution as I am when I fill a pipe outside a doctor’s office with my favorite illegal substance while I’m waiting for the car service to arrive — and the Brooklyn D.A. has stated he has no intention of wasting money prosecuting marijuana offenses?

    The only way such a parent would even be considered for prosecution is if his gift resulted not in an [*shudder*] ‘ordinary’ gun tragedy but in a massacre like this.

    ANY stopgap measure that stops one such tragedy — or punishes every person involved in it, from seller to father to shooter — is useful, but they key is, sadly, changing the culture.

    Again, will someone out there who has time and money begin to reprint a booklet of Beale’s 2nd Amendment heroes? Will someone produce t-shirts with a picture of the headlines from the Birmingham Church Bombing on the front, and this tragedy on the back, the dates, and the line ‘the more things change…”? Will someone publicize and get a discussion of Mark Kelly’s request that no politician should accept money or support from Larry Pratt and the Gun Owners of America? Will some of US, when feasible, show up at legislative hearings — or at ‘town halls’ for congressmen or state and local legislatures, and make our cases ourselves?

    Or are we just going to write comments about what a bunch of politicians — who won’t read the comments and wouldn’t care about them — SHOULD do, not support opponents to them or pitch in on the opponents’ campaigns, and complain bitterly over the next tragedy — which, if it doesn’t involve a civil rights icon and a racist act, might not get quite as much attention.

    [And yes, I’m as guilty as any of you. I can’t get around easily, and my voice has never been of ‘air quality’ even before I began smoking 50 years ago, but I could have found someone to work with, and if anyone has any suggestions…]

  6. Shutter

    Rave on.

    Your Support of the Confederate Flag Makes You a Traitor
    Once a year, every April 12, on the steps of the capitol buildings in all the states that seceded from the United States, the Confederate flag should be burned. The ceremony should be attended by all the legislators, all the state’s Supreme Court justices, and the governor. Then, when the embers are dying, a black man or woman, chosen by lottery, should be brought up to piss on the ashes. Every year. Just to remind anyone who supports it what the value of the garbage flag is.

    People who try to justify the display of the stars and bars of the Confederacy always try to say the same things: “It means something else to people” or “What about this symbol [usually something Muslim]? Should we ban that?” Well, sure. In that case, you could make a case to ban the cross because of all the times it was burned by KKK jerk-offs to intimidate black Americans.

    The difference, though, is that the Confederate flag exists as a symbol only because a group of traitors tried to break up the United States because they wanted to keep on owning slaves. That’s it. You can say it means something different to you; you can say it means “Southern pride” or some such bullshit, but you are at best ignorant, at worst a liar, probably both. It speaks volumes about how much power we give fools in this nation that the Confederate flag would still be seen as a valid expression of anything other than hatred for black people.

    When you’re white in the South, you are often tested by other whites. Do you think the South will rise again? What do you think about the Confederate flag? For most people, it’s just a background thing that they don’t notice until someone says, “Why the fuck is there a rebel flag on your hat?” You see it everywhere – on license plates, on t-shirts, on buildings, on motherfucking official government property, as if somehow, appeasing the fools is a noble goal. No. The noble goal is telling the fools to stop being foolish. Everything that “honors” anyone from the Confederacy, from the flag to the generals, should be wrecked.

    Antebellum matron Lindsey Graham declared that the Confederate flag is “part of who we are.” In that case, you may as well hang a noose from a flagpole in front of the statehouse in Columbia and call it your heritage. It’d be less dishonest than the rebel flag that’s padlocked in place now.

    Let’s put this as clearly as possible: If you believe there is some good in the symbol of the Confederate flag, if you think that your nonsensical faith in your history is more important than what it means to the black people, then you are a traitor, like the traitorous bastards you’re descended from. Dylan Roof is another traitor. He is your inheritance, Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy. His actions were because of you.
    – See more at: http://rudepundit.blogspot.com

    • Is your comment in the wrong thread? It’s excellent, I just wonder if it got here by accident.

      • Shutter

        Hi demo.. no I wanted to put it here because the clip from rude pundit covers not only the flag nut cases the but whole southern states as eternally put-upon victims delusion. There is a flag-related post by SB a couple days prior.

  7. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    For a long, detailed, and solid history of how the particular flag got chosen and the history of the ‘Confederate Civil War Centennial Commission, check Desert Beacon’s post here. And then read her take, immediately after it. on “Do we have to make racists comfortable?”

    DB is, for me, probably tied with Southern Beale for most regularly read individual blogs (only Steve Benen and Right Wing Watch are more automatic). But one of these days maybe we can get together a list of the lesser-known but worth knowing blogs because the ’50-state lists’ seem to be filled with ones that haven’t had entries since 2012 or 2009, or have been converted to Japanese or Finnish.

  8. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    I mentioned RWW, but hadn’t checked it. I now have, and it is worth looking at — but wait for at least an hour after eating to save having to clean up. Rick Perry, for example, has decided that it is prescription drugs, not racism, that is at fault. E.W. Jackson thinks it was an attack on Christians and Christianity, not racist. Alex Jones, of course, is yelling ‘false flag, it’s really Obama,’ Larry Pratt is blaming the pastor, etc.

  9. ThresherK


    Remember when the NRA assured us they were all about EnforcingTheLawsOnTheBooks?

    I’d like to say “It’s funny how we don’t hear that from the NRA anymore”. But it isn’t. Their Freudian is slipping, in that they no longer even try to cover themselves with the mask of calming words.

  10. wuzyoungoncetoo

    – “If it’s true …


    I’m not sure I understand your complaint here. You and others keep insisting that “universal background checks” are a useful and necessary step in order to prevent tragedies like this. And yet the shooter in question acquired his weapon by passing exactly that sort of check that you claim would prevent this sort of thing. So…where was the failure (other than your own jumping to invalid conclusions about what actually happened)?

    • Do we know that he passed the background check? I haven’t seen a news story that said so. I did see a news story saying a person with pending felony convictions wouldn’t pass a background check. If that story is correct, either the gun store failed or the kid is lying. I haven’t heard which store he bought the gun from, either.

      And honestly, if you’re saying that background checks are useless because a racist can waltz into any gun shop and legally purchase a weapon whenever they decide to perform some ethnic cleansing, then that is Exhibit A as to why there needs to be much more stringent gun purchasing requirements, of the sort they have in other developed countries. The kind of stuff that would make you guys wish the bar to obtain a gun was as low as a mere universal background check.

      • Didn’t the REAL MurKKKan heero get his gun from his father?

        Wheter he did or not the troll “wuzyoungoncetoo” is still full of shit.

      • That’s what they initially said and then they said no, he bought the gun himself with birthday money his dad gave him. I am really curious about this, everyone is focused on other issues but I have a feeling we don’t know the whole story here. The guy had an ARREST record. Sounds like someone fucked up. And if someone DIDN’T fuck up we need to toughen up the laws. Because that “we don’t need new laws” BS has obviously failed.