Last year was Colorado’s busiest year for gun sales on record, with uncertainty around controversial gun control legislation driving record purchases. As of November 30th, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation had already logged almost 20,000 more checks than it had in all of 2012, and the November numbers do not include what is traditionally the busiest gun buying month of the year – December. So in the year of the Democrats’ landmark gun control legislation, Colorado saw more firearms purchased and put on the streets (and in homes, cars, etc.) than during any other year in its history. Can somebody say unintended consequences?
One of the most burdensome of the new gun laws was the requirement to conduct a CBI background check for the private transfer of a firearm. CBI’s InstaCheck system was the mandated clearinghouse for these checks, and the cost was initially (and is currently) set at $10.
But InstaCheck is hardly an accurate tool, as calendar year 2012 experienced reversals of more than 57% of the InstaCheck rejection appeals.
The U.S. Department of Justice determined that Colorado’s InstaCheck system results in the nation’s highest rate of appeal reversals, as each year the system unnecessarily denies law-abiding citizens the right to purchase a firearm.
Colorado is one of just thirteen states that use a state-run background check system instead of the standard FBI National Instant Criminal background Check System. One of the reasons for InstaCheck’s high false positive rate is that the CBI system cannot automatically discern whether an arrest on what would be a disqualifying offense resulted in a conviction, and often times background checks come back denied when people were never convicted, simply based on an arrest record.
In 2012, Mark Waller introduced HB 1048, which would have eliminated the CBI InstaCheck program and moved Colorado onto the FBI background check platform used by most other states, while saving the state more than $1.5 million per year. The bill was passed by the House, but was killed in a Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee by a 3-2 vote.
Governor Hickenlooper is on record now stating that he is open to modifying, but not repealing the unpopular gun control legislation that he signed in 2013. Perhaps putting a bullet in this flawed background check system would be a good place to start.