Nine people are dead because the background check system failed. This is not great news for those of us who believe gun safety laws actually prevent deaths, but the FBI has come out and thrown themselves on their sword, nevertheless.
Comey said that Roof should have been prevented from buying the .45-caliber weapon used in a shooting that authorities have said was motivated by Roof’s racist views. The political repercussions of the June 17 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston led South Carolina toremove the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds Friday.
“This case rips all of our hearts out, but the thought that an error on our part is connected to a gun this person used to slaughter these people is very painful to us,” said Comey.
The lapse was the result of errors not only by the FBI but by the Lexington County prosecutors’ office, and Comey said he has ordered a review of procedures that led to the failure. The errors came to light as investigators examined a gun purchase Roof made two months before the shooting in Charleston.
Roof had been arrested for possession of narcotics in February, a felony charge that alone did not disqualify him from buying a gun. But Comey said that Roof’s subsequent admission of the drug crime would have triggered an automatic rejection of his gun purchase if the information had been properly recorded in background-check databases.
I suppose it might be possible to find some kind of silver lining here, but I'm not seeing it. It's truly disappointing for those of us who believe background checks are a way to keep guns out of the hands of people like Dylann Roof, and it just gives fuel to the gun nuts' claims that they don't matter much.
I don't know what the answer is, but there's got to be one.