All Articles Tagged "Background Check"
Gun sales, background check approvals, and requests for concealed-weapons training have spiked in the days following the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, CO that left 12 people dead and 58 injured. The primary reason is fear; fear that this could happen again, and fear that politicians will tighten gun laws.
According to the Associated Press, summer months are usually a slow time for gun sales. However, in Colorado alone, nearly 3,000 background checks were approved by the state in the three days after the massacre. The same can be said for other states as well, including Connecticut and Florida.
Apparently, this follows a pattern established by prior mass shootings, like the one in Tucson, AZ that left six dead and a number of people injured, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“Gun dealers, in fact, owe a lot to Mr. Obama,” writes the Christian Science Monitor. “Before his election in 2008, gun sales spiked in anticipation that he would promote a gun-control agenda – even though he did not campaign on the issue and the Supreme Court had just handed down its landmark Heller ruling, which asserted an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
The shooting in Aurora has reignited the gun law debate among politicians and pundits. Mitt Romney has said that more restrictive gun laws “won’t make all bad things go away.” Fox News has the following headline: “Colorado shooting a reminder that psychiatry, not gun laws, needs fixing.” New York’s Mayor Bloomberg has called on both candidates to address the issue. And Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) is preparing legislation that will curtail the number rounds in a gun’s magazine.
Meanwhile, even as the number of gun owners has declined in the U.S., there are still somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 million to 300 million of them in the hands of citizens, nearly one for every person in the country. It appears that even though there are fewer individuals buying guns, the ones who are buying are purchasing more of them.
Using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants — even if they weren’t convicted of a crime has cost Pepsi Co. $3.1 million in a settlement after federal charges of race discrimination were brought against the soda giant.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Pepsi’s policy of not hiring workers with arrest records disproportionately excluded more than 300 black applicants. The policy barred applicants who had been arrested, but not convicted of a crime, and denied employment to others who were convicted of minor offenses. The EEOC says using arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal if it’s irrelevant for the job.
Pepsi Beverage spokesman Dave DeCecco said the company’s criminal background check policy has always been neutral and that the EEOC did not find any intentional discrimination. After the issue was first raised in 2006, he said the company worked with the EEOC to revise its background check process “to create a workplace that is as diverse and inclusive as possible.”
The new policy is said to take a more “individualized approach” in considering applicants’ criminal history against the particular job being sought. Pepsi will also provide the EEOC with regular reports on its hiring practices and offer antidiscrimination training to its hiring personnel and managers.
EEOC may soon be cracking down on other companies as part of its national effort to correct hiring policies that disproportionately discriminate against black and Latino applicants, according to Julie Schmid, acting director of the EEOC’s Minnesota office
“We hope that employers with unnecessarily broad criminal background check policies take note of this agreement and reassess their policies to ensure compliance” with anti-discrimination laws.”
Do you think Pepsi’s policy was wrong? Should companies use arrest records to exclude applicants?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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