President Biden’s quest for sweeping gun control legislation relies on a hopelessly broken background check system.

Now the president has called on the Senate to pass two bills that have already cleared the House.

The first bill, titled “Bipartisan Background Checks Act,” would expand background checks on firearm sales and close a gun show and online sales “loophole.” This bill seems to be a solution in search of a problem. Any licensed armed dealer in the United States already has to do a background check on any firearm they transfer to another party, no matter the location. Gun control advocates believe that guns are being sold at gun shows without any check being done by private parties and that one may buy a gun online and it will be shipped to his house.

While it is possible for a private party to sell a gun to another at a gun show or in the parking lot of a gun show, it should be remembered that a convicted felon even walking into a gun show or touching a firearm offered to him in a parking lot by a guy who doesn’t want to sell inside the show, commits a felony. I think it’s a fair question to ask why President Biden isn’t doing more to ensure felons aren’t going to gun shows. It’s already illegal for any person to sell a firearm to a felon or to any person they believe might put that firearm to use for an illegal purpose. How would requiring a background check deter anyone from selling a gun to a felon or dangerous person if they were already inclined to do so anyway? Adding a new law will do nothing to help enforce the laws we already but which are not being enforced.

As for online sales, it’s illegal for a private owner to ship a firearm to another person across state lines. He may ship it to a licensed gun dealer who may affect that transfer to another party, but direct transfers are illegal. Requiring a background check between these private purchasers would not change that prohibition one bit. And again, if the idea is to prevent felons from obtaining illegal weapons why not prosecute people who attempt to buy guns and commit a felony just when they attempt to do so?

Finally, the Instant Background Check System is neither “instant” nor does it really contain full “background” information that can be relied upon definitively.

In December 2017, the Chicago Tribune ran a story titled: “FBI’s gun background-check database is missing records of millions of cases.” The story gives a very complete picture of what a mess the background check system is.

“[Seven] million records are absent from the system, based on a 2013 report by the nonprofit National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics.”