Background checks do helpPublished 1:18pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013
I am sick and tired of hearing the sick and tired lines passed on by the NRA and some of its supporters. The letter to the editor in Sunday’s paper that background checks don’t help is pure poppycock. According to a recent study, since 1994 when the Brady bill was enacted, 108 million guns were sold and 1.9 million background checks prevented sales to unqualified individuals, despite the fact that 40 percent of all gun sales are not subject to background checks (sales at guns shows and on the internet). Other studies show 91 percent of Americans (88 percent of gun owners) support universal background checks; many of these individuals are surprised that there are no universal background checks.
We cannot stop all gun incidents through universal background checks, but I don’t think 1.9 million refusals over 20 years is anything to sneeze at. Yes as the NRA states, criminals will not buy guns if they have to go through a background check. But they will try to steal them as was reported in this paper about a robbery nearby of about $4,000 worth of arms. The NRA crows about a sharp increase in sales of the types of guns and ammo that gun safety advocates seek. What they won’t say is that while the sales of these weapons of mass destruction have risen the number of households with guns has decreased.
Every day there are over 30 gun deaths in the U.S.; the majority of these are between people who are related: suicides, domestic violence, drive-by, etc. The odds that any one of us will be shot by or will shoot an intruder are very low. More likely, the intruder will shoot us with our own guns as happened many years ago in a home northwest of us where a drug-addled individual went into the wrong home.
We need common sense gun safety laws. Another recent study showed that states with the weakest gun laws had the most gun incidents. Let’s all call or write our representatives and let them know that we want sensible gun laws banning many assault weapons, straw purchases and the trafficking of weapons high-capacity gun clips, and have the strongest background checks that track those who should not have access to guns and ammo. We register our cars, get insurance and are regulated in their safe use. Sensible gun laws will save lives.