NICS Review Act, fbi nics background checks gun
(Photo by FBI)

On Feb. 10, 2021, New York Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney introduced five new gun control bills in the U.S. Congress. Taken in total, they represent a fundamental restructuring of America’s relationship with firearms. Never before in our great nation’s 245 years has there been such a radical transformation of firearms ownership in the United States. Of these five Earth-shattering pieces of legislation, however, the shortest is the most historically significant. It is but a single sentence, yet it changes everything about the relationship between the U.S. government and its citizens. It’s the NICS Review Act.

What exactly is the point of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? If it’s to ensure the right of Americans to subsistence hunt then no one really needs anything more bellicose than a bolt-action deer rifle. If “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not be Infringed” also includes recreational target shooting, then we might consider adding .22 pistols into the mix. However, I would assert that even the most cursory evaluation of history points toward a much deeper and weightier purpose behind this second most important amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Foundations of the NICS Review Act

People are bad. We live in a fallen world. You really don’t have to look very far to see evidence of this reality. Folks steal for personal gain, incinerate neighborhoods in the name of social justice, and hate based upon the color of a person’s skin. If left to their own devices, ours is a fairly feral species. No amount of technology or social engineering will ever change that.

This innately fallen nature manifests on scales both large and small. In one place a child gets bullied on a playground. In another an entire people group get dispatched to the gas chambers. Only a credible threat of force keeps that innately fallen nature in check.

The German people in 1942 were no different from their contemporary American counterparts. The Germans didn’t successfully staff the death camps by proving uniquely cursed with an inordinate density of psychopaths. They staffed death camps because those unique circumstances brought out the baser aspects of certain personalities found within any modern culture.

We have our own death camp guards today. They walk among us. One might be the college professor who holds your future in the palm of his hand and clearly enjoys it. Another might be a police officer who basks in the power he has over someone during a traffic stop. Typically these individuals will live out their lives as productive citizens and retire amidst the accolades of their professions. However, under darker circumstances these more base traits can be most horribly manifest. The worst case scenario is that one of these broken personalities is imbued with exceptional charisma and subsequently enters politics.

Where Does the NICS Review Act Come in?

That, my friends, is the reason we have the Second Amendment. It has nothing to do with hunting and even less to do with recreation. The Second Amendment serves as the final option when everything else fails. It is the ultimate doomsday deterrent.

The Second Amendment is the reason we have yet to see a proper despot in the White House. We Americans don’t care much for dictators, and thanks to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers we have the tools we need to keep them at bay.

What does all this have to do with the NICS Review Act? NICS stands for National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It serves as a filter to exclude prohibited persons from purchasing firearms through established channels of commerce. It is a terribly flawed thing, but its original mission was honorable. However, the NICS system was intended for a single narrow purpose: to notify gun dealers when someone was not eligible to own a firearm.

Weaponizing the NICS

Great effort went into preventing the federal government from weaponizing NICS information to track which Americans own guns. Keeping the government in the dark concerning who owns firearms is THE POINT OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE! Forgive my shouting, but an awful lot of people have lost track of this single seminal truth.

To ensure that NICS data isn’t farmed into a national database of American gun owners, the crafters wrote into law that NICS information must be purged within 24 hours of a sale. Presuming they’re actually doing this the system is working as intended. However, here’s Congresswoman Maloney’s specific new verbiage, “Public Law 112–55; 125 Stat. 632) is amended by striking ‘no more than 24 hours’ and inserting ‘no fewer than 90 days.’”

“No more than 24 hours” and “No fewer than 90 days” are like the two poles of a battery. One option uses the NICS as a filter as originally intended. In the era of “Big Data,” the other option weaponizes the system into a tool that can be used by a despotic government to identify and isolate threats to its sovereignty. This one single sentence of the NICS Review Act changes absolutely everything about the relationship between the U.S. government and its armed citizenry.

Everything Is Riding on This

Don’t for a moment think it can’t happen here. We are one headline away. Think about it: Antifa and the Proud Boys are facing each other across some flaming urban hell, and then some idiot pulls a trigger. Imagine what that would look like the next morning on the news feed.

The social fabric of our country is stressed to failure as it is. In the face of such unimaginable chaos one charismatic person in a position of authority offers security to the American people at any cost. Martial law becomes a small price to pay to stop the violence. At that point an immortal database of U.S. gun purchasers suddenly becomes a list of the doors to be kicked in first.

I dearly love my country, but I don’t trust my government at all. If the recent sordid episodes of alleged police brutality teach us anything it’s that the cops should not have a monopoly on the implements of force. Uncle Sam has no business knowing whether I own a gun or not. We need to keep it that way.  

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