In his Sept. 18 column, Dave Skinner once again missed the mark. With his all too common complaint about how the federal government can’t do anything right, Mr. Skinner now targets firearm background checks. Rather than celebrate that background checks kept 181,000 firearms from being sold to criminals last year he lambasts the federal government for not prosecuting the offenders. The goal of background checks is to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Criminal prosecution of criminals caught by this system is just one tool to help accomplish that goal.
If criminals already know that they will be subjected to background checks and still 181,000 of them per year attempt to purchase guns through licensed dealers, just imagine how many bypass the background checks altogether with private sales such as gun shows. How many of the 14,000 firearms homicides per year in this country could be prevented if criminals were denied the ability to obtain guns from private sales? No law will keep guns out of the hands of every criminal, but universal background checks will certainly reduce the number.
I am one of the law-abiding citizens who underwent a background check last year to purchase a firearm. This fast and simple process allows the vast majority of Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights while preventing many criminals from obtaining firearms. Extending these background checks to private sales would close a loophole that criminals can currently use to legally obtain firearms.
This reasonable and logical step is supported by over 83 percent of Americans, as Mr. Skinner noted. Responsible gun owners should applaud this plan to make if harder for criminals to get guns. Background checks do not infringe on our rights and save countless lives each year, as evidenced by the 181,000 firearm purchase denials last year. If Mr. Skinner has a better plan for doing this I’d love to hear it.
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