What will it take to close the gun show loophole?

How many more tragedies need to happen before elected officials have the guts to close the gun show loophole? The latest high-profile beneficiary of this loophole was the mentally ill attacker in the recent shootings near the Pentagon.

Law enforcement officials say [John Patrick] Bedell, a man with a history of severe psychiatric problems, had been sent a letter by California authorities Jan. 10 telling him he was prohibited from buying a gun because of his mental history.

Nineteen days later, the officials say, Bedell bought the Ruger at a gun show in Las Vegas. Such a sale by a private individual does not require the kind of background check that would have stopped Bedell's purchase.

Republican politicians fall all over themselves trying to prove how loyal they are to the National Rifle Association. Some are against any kind of background checks for people who want to carry firearms in public. Too many Democrats are afraid to stand up to this NRA-approved extremism. Meanwhile, a Republican pollster's recent survey of gun owners shows that they understand the need for reasonable limits:

Mr. Luntz queried 832 gun owners, including 401 card-carrying N.R.A. members, in a survey commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the alliance of hundreds of executives seeking stronger gun laws. In flat rebuttal of N.R.A. propaganda, the findings showed that 69 percent of N.R.A. members supported closing the notorious gun-show loophole that invites laissez-faire arms dealing outside registration requirements.

Even more members, 82 percent, favored banning gun purchases to suspects on terrorist watch lists who are now free to arm. And 69 percent disagreed with Congressionally imposed rules against sharing federal gun-trace information with state and local police agencies.

I know it's not realistic to hope that a historically large Democratic majority in Congress would have the guts to take on the gun show loophole. (They can barely find enough votes to pass what's essentially a 1993 Republican health care reform proposal.) Too bad "pro-gun" Democrats would rather preserve their NRA scorecard ratings than enact limits that even rank and file NRA members find reasonable.

Tags: gun control, NRA, Congress, Pentagon shooting (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

True Story

This is the sad truth.  Most of the Republicans would rather support the NRA to get votes than actually stand up for what is right.

by Chuckie Corra 2010-03-16 09:39PM | 0 recs
For the curious

The text of the proposed "Gun Show Loophole Closing Act" can be viewed here.

by Steve M 2010-03-16 11:31PM | 0 recs
Every society has crazy people...

but we arm ours better. We're number one!

The NRA appears to be essentially a consortium of arms manufacturers and sellers that has managed to convince a lot of gun owners to support them. With this power, they have successfully bludgeoned Congress for decades. We have a lot of work to do to expose the NRA for what it is and to get reasonable restrictions on guns enacted.

by RandomNonviolence 2010-03-17 01:50PM | 0 recs

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