As a matter of fact, mass murderer Dylann Roof did pass a background check or he couldn’t have purchased the .45 caliber Glock handgun at a gun store back in April. The problem is his previous conviction for drug possession was a misdemeanor and didn’t have to be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
But there’s an even more difficult problem that the folks who want even more stringent controls on the sale of firearms apparently haven’t thought of. Even if Roof had a felony conviction that would – theoretically – have barred him from purchasing a gun, what would have prevented a friend or relative with no felony convictions from buying a semi-automatic pistol and giving it to Roof? Or what if Roof had stolen a gun or somebody had sold him one? What could have been done in any of those situations to prevent Roof from getting his hands on a firearm? Sadly, in this instance, the answer is “nothing.”
Frankly, I don’t see a way to tighten the restrictions on firearm purchases that would have prevented the senseless massacre in Charleston through the use of background checks – instant or not.