In the wake of the tragic murders in El Paso and Dayton, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has joined other mayors and elected local politicians in calling for stricter gun control measures on law-abiding Americans.

“I join Mayor of El Paso – Dee Margo, alongside more than 200 other U.S. Mayors, in calling for the Senate to vote on two pieces of legislation that would strengthen background checks and close serious loopholes for gun sales,” Price wrote.

On her Facebook page, she shared a letter sent to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY) from the United States Conference of Mayors. The letter calls for the Senate to pass two U.S. House bills that the letter claims would “greatly strengthen the background check system.”

But background checks may not be the answer, according to Dr. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center. In an op-ed published in The New York Times last year, Lott wrote that “[t]he background check system confuses the names of law-abiding individuals with those of criminals, resulting in thousands of ‘false positives’ every year.”

Lott also points out that from 2006 to 2010, there were over 370,000 denials of gun purchases from background checks. Of those, federal authorities only prosecuted 460 of them, with only 209 leading to convictions, and the number of prosecutions from state authorities was few.

“Why didn’t more of those denials lead to perjury prosecutions?” asks Lott. “According to my analysis, the reason is simple: A high percentage of cases are dropped because the applicant was wrongly denied clearance to buy a gun.”

Such facts lead one to question whether or not more background checks—or any harsher gun control measures on law-abiding citizens—is the appropriate response to these tragedies; moreover, whether elected officials should be so quick to embrace such measures comes into question, given the emotionally driven response to curtail civil and other constitutional protections.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.