02.20.2013 25

Background Checks deemed discriminatory by Obama Administration Agencies

By Rick Manning — Criminal background checks have become all the rage in Washington, D.C., as politicians scramble to try to ensure that anyone who ever even thought of owning a gun is subjected to a thorough electronic proctology exam.

However, one group that appears immune to background check fever are the ever helpful Obama officials at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s  Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

The EEOC and OFCCP have each determined that employers who use background checks as one of the determinants of whether to hire a prospective employee may be engaging in prohibited discrimination.

These federal agencies reason that the use of criminal background checks can lead to a disparate impact on minority job applicants.  According to these government agencies, in order for an employer to avoid claims that using a criminal background check is discriminatory, they must show that excluding applicants based upon criminal history is job-related and consistent with business necessity.

And the EEOC for its part is threatening lawsuits against companies which employ background checks.

Doesn’t this make you feel safer just knowing that the cable guy you are letting into your home may not be able to pass a basic background check because the cable company has decided to avoid an expensive federal government fueled lawsuit?

But let’s apply the EEOCs logic that criminal background checks have a disparate impact on minorities to the hot topic of the day — background checks for purchasing a firearm.

Clearly, the government would have to then agree that the expanded criminal background check proposals that are backed by Obama would have a disparate impact on the ability of African Americans to purchase firearms legally.

Given that the origins of gun control are firmly rooted in the Jim Crow laws of the post-Civil War south, it should concern everyone that the federal government is admitting that their background check solution actively discriminates against minorities.

Jim Crow laws emerged as a response to the 14th Amendment prohibition on states denying “the equal protection of the laws,” modifying many gun control laws passed immediately after the Civil War.  This 14th Amendment dictated change, where the law could no longer overtly discriminate against freed slaves, led to the racially “neutral” Jim Crow gun control laws that created bans on inexpensive firearms, prohibited the carrying of firearms and imposed licensing and registration of firearms.

As David Kopel points out in his column, “The Dark Secret of Jim Crow and the Racist Roots of Gun Control,” in the 1941 Florida Supreme Court case, Watson v. Stone, one Justice acknowledged that the laws were, “never intended to be applied to the white population.”

This unequal application of state laws prohibiting the carrying of handguns was often used as the rationale when then Texas state house representative Ron Wilson (D-Houston) introduced and eventually won passage of the law which allows all Texans who qualify access to a concealed carry license in the late 1980s.

Now, twenty five years after Ron Wilson’s victory in Texas, the Obama Administration is pushing for the same solutions that appealed to the Jim Crow Democrats in the 1880s, because ultimately, they have the same objectives — people control.

As the former Police Superintendent for the state of New Jersey, Clinton Pagano, admitted before an Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing in 1989, “it’s not about gun control, it’s about people control.”

What most people don’t realize is that the modern Congressional battle over background checks has almost nothing to do with whether they should occur, but instead the debate revolves around what should be done with the record of the background check.

Current instant background check laws, that the National Rifle Association supported, require that the record of the check be permanently deleted within a short time frame.  This prevents the background check request from becoming a de facto gun registration system.

The same type of gun registration system that were imposed in states like Mississippi during the Jim Crow era and repealed in 1986, that had the simple purpose of allowing the local sheriff to collect data on blacks who owned guns to enable confiscation if necessary.

Ironically, the first black president may effectively push through background check legislation that two of his own Administration’s agencies charged with preventing racial discrimination argue would have a disparate impact on African Americans.  Legislation that is likely to be used as a cudgel against them in the future.

Sounds more like a 1950s southern sheriff than a supposed 21st century post-modern president.

Just something to think about, as the gun debate continues to rage.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government and is the former National Rifle Association lobbyist in Texas, Mississippi, Florida and New Jersey among other states.

  • reggiec

    Criminals don’t worry about background checks.

  • The entire history of “gun control” is the history of racism, sexism and elitism!

  • Why does the phrase “what are the nine scariest words in the English language? Im from the Govt and Im here to help” remain so true after 200 hundred years?….

    This Govt no longer has my consent. This makes them nothing more than a Crime Syndicate…

  • pduffy

    This is not a government. It’s a criminal operation clearly acting in the benefit of criminals everywhere. First they disarm the law-abiding, and now they force the convicts on businesses? What’s next, arming the convicts before they report work?

  • Roscoe

    Wait a minute….are they saying that minorities are more likely to be criminals? OMG!

  • stvjas

    Odd isn’t it? I have to pass drug and background checks to become and or stay employed yet if your an Obama accomplice you get a free ride?

  • Baron Munchasuen

    In its last complete National Criminal Victimization Survey (1994), the Justice Department revealed blacks to have committed 1,600,951 violent crimes against whites. Only 15 percent of these had robbery as a motive. We can safely infer that most of the rest had race as at least a partial motive. Eighty-five percent of the attacks were assaults and rapes. While blacks were committing these 1.6 million crimes against whites, whites were reciprocating with 165,345 violent offenses against blacks. Blacks, representing thirteen percent of the nation, committed more than 90 percent of the violent interracial crime. Fifty-seven percent of the violent crime committed by blacks had white victims. Less than 3 percent of violence committed by whites had black victims. In 1994, a black was 64 times more likely to attack a white than vice versa. This is the real story of hate in America. It is the media’s well-kept secret.

  • Seenithappen

    That’s what they said about credit reports & home loans

  • Bill DeFranzo

    Our government has more racist policies now than ever before. My favorite is the Office of Minority Health. The intro to the website reads like a campaign speech.

  • Bill DeFranzo

    Yes, and minorities are more likely to be incapable of acquiring a photo ID. There is a trend in believing that if one is a minority then one is incompetent or a criminal. Sad!

  • dusel1

    Have you had enough BS from the Obama regime?
    Get rid of the root cause by adding your name and comments to this:


  • dusel1

    You’re right; the White House usurper never had one and look where he’s at.

  • Axe22

    I run the check in the hopes of finding nothing serious, not pining to find some reason not to hire the person I need, asked in for an interview, and am attempting to give an opportunity to. If I am discriminating at all, it is in their favor along with all my other employees to whom I owe a work environment that is a django free zone. If there exists any other type of discrimination I may be inclined to, they would not be sitting in my office to begin with.

    An easier way to look at it. Why would I pay to have a background check on the applicant if I were predisposed to discriminate because of minority status? If I am, I would simply reject them and save that cost. The fact that I trouble myself to do it is the very evidence demonstrating I am not discriminating against them, but rather in their favor.

  • hookemowls

    Let’s do a background check on obama and all of Congress……..the buck should stop there.

  • skippyroadster

    No one checked on Obama’s background, you know, things like his college transcripts, for the most important job in America. Why should we check anyone’s?

  • ary

    This president also believes he does not have to be “eligible” for his office and that he does not have to prove that he’s a natural born citizen. president obama even believes that he can use a forged social security number. What do you expect from someone who commits crimes except to “blame” others and project his motivations on innocents.
    Register the information Americans need about this president FIRST!

  • ary

    Then background checks are discriminatory for those who want to own or carry guns. Background checks should be for those with criminal records, to determine likelihood of additional offenses, if anything. WHO is checking the backgrounds of this president? NO one…HE REFUSES us knowing the truth of his background. Now THAT is Discriminatory against all of us citizens!

  • Not everyone who is a convicted criminal is a “convict.” I am a highly skilled, bilingual, single mother who unfortunately made a few wrong decisions years ago. I can’t even get hired at a grocery store because EVERYONE does background checks now. What used to be “have you ever been convicted of a felony” is now “have you ever been convicted of any crime.” Yes, I was a criminal, but I served time, paid fines, went to a class, and did community service and have not committed a crime since. However, I can’t get a job. The argument not mentioned here is what effect background checks have on the recidivism of people who have been in jail. How can anyone expect a former criminal to mend their ways and be a productive citizen if a crucial portion, the actual ability to be productive, is taken away due to the fact we cannot find gainful employment. A former criminal will only resort to crime again if he/she cannot be given the chance to earn the means to survive honestly.

  • KAMALA1218


  • Bayou Crier

    In todays litigious society it is not wise to hire a prospective employee without a full background check, even if it is your friend’s kid.
    As for the EEOC, they think a background check is discriminatory because many blacks cannot pass because of previous felony convictions.

  • Nathan Lamb

    I think background checks only contribute to a problem and not a solution. Everyone should be able to have an equal opportunity at a job regardless of a mistake made in their past. If they have paid for it they shouldn’t have to keep paying for it the rest of their life. We are all capable of the same things our triggers might just be different. Its a shame that a person can commit a crime and get completely rehabilitated and come out with a can do attitude only to be heartbroken by the unfair discrimination they go through by people who think they are perfect. So then they try and try and get nowhere so what’s left? Live on the street and be degraded everyday when you have the skills and qualifications to do said job they were applying for maybe even be the best at that job but since they made a mistake its a no go. Then you have this person who was rehabilitated and eager to do good go into desperation mode and do something to land them right back in prison because they were denied their basic right to the pursuit of happiness when maybe if the employer had given him/her the job he/she could have excelled and became an upstanding member of society. Maybe this is why our prison systems are at 160% overcapacity because something’s working right? To all you people that have a heart and decency to care about another individual and their problems please help with this issue. Make employee background searches illegal and let’s all get a fair shot. America used to be a country with a dream. We all have one and I wouldn’t dare crush another individuals who has paid the penalty for their wrong. Would you want it done to you? I am white! Its not about race nor should it be. I was just charged with a crime and not even convicted and they took my job away as a registered nurse. I had to have friends and family help pay for my defense. The bad thing is after I sat in jail 8 months until my family could come up with enough money to bond me out. I got out and got a supervisor job as a nurse over cna’s making $45 dollars an hour. I was up front with my employer but the state nursing board suspended my license and my employer said she couldn’t work me anymore. During that job I helped a woman who the wife of an injured veteran she told me there should be more people in this world like me! But I’m a criminal right? Its hard enough to be a male nurse but then a mistake happens and I lost my means of making a living. Pursuing my dream a family. I haven’t seen my three kids in almost 2 years and I was the one who took care of my whole family. Now I’ve tried to make my own company background check stopped that. I almost got on a reality TV show background check stopped that. I tried to get a job at McDonald’s background checked stopped that. So what am I to do? Walk into a church or school and shoot up a bunch of people? I’m a descen person I’d never do that but what else? Steal money from a bank? I’m not a theif! Steal food so I can eat? Ask for handouts when I’m educated and have multiple skills? To all you who say “well you shouldn’t have done anything wrong” I hope it happens to you. Empathy is something this country really needs to learn. I just hope my words can make a difference in not only my life but also someone else’s. Black, white, tan, male, female it doesn’t matter. None of us are perfect and we screw up in all types of ways. Over punishment is not the answer people!

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