Closing the Gun Show Loophole

by

Source: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

The recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado, has sparked renewed interest in the national gun control debate, specifically around individual background check requirements, or lack thereof. Federal law in the United States requires licensed firearm dealers to perform individual background checks on potential buyers, but it does not address private sales. According to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, this translates into two out of every five guns in the United States changing hands without a background check. The ability of individuals to make private sales without processing any paperwork as is required from licensed dealers is known as the “gun show loophole.”

While gun control issues are traditionally polarizing, it appears as though there is some common ground regarding universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole. According to a recent poll conducted by Frank Luntz, among members of the National Rifle Association (NRA), there is strong support for individual background checks of anyone purchasing a gun.  Additionally, a report by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence documents strong support from citizens, law enforcement, and politicians on both sides of the aisle for universal background checks.

U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) have introduced legislation to address the issue of the gun-show loophole and make universal background checks a reality. Please support this legislation by calling your Senators and Representatives and urging them to cosponsor bills S.35 and H.R. 591. It is time for our lawmakers to take action on this important issue.

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4 Responses to “Closing the Gun Show Loophole”

  1. ninair Says:

    Thank you for the wonderful posting. I really appreciate the fact that you have brought up an extremely serious issue on this blog. In the last one month, there have been two major incidents in the US where innocent people have been shot down by people, one in Colorado and the other in the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. You have indicated in your posting the need for adequate universal background checks before allowing the purchase of a weapon. The two shootings mentioned above have been done by mentally unstable individuals. Background checks only look for any criminal history of the individual but nothing on their mental status. Either we include a psychiatric evaluation for every individual who decides to purchase a weapon or we become civilized enough, like other countries in the world, where firearms are only allowed for law enforcements agents. This would indeed require a constitutional amendment by our lawmakers, which we all know will never happen anytime soon. So till then, I guess we have to avoid attending premiers of movies or pray to god that we or our families never get shot by some crazy lunatic who gets up in the morning and decides to kill himself along with a few innocent people.

  2. kristamandy Says:

    As someone who lives in Canada, I always find the debate around gun control interesting, primarily because I just cannot imagine carrying around a gun or expecting that a third of the people around me are carrying guns. I also never conceptualized the issue as a public health concern, per se, but in fact, it seems exactly that. Recently, an American man visiting Calgary, Canada wrote a letter to the local newspaper about how vulnerable he felt about not being able to carry his gun when ‘accosted’ by 2 men in a local park. The letter went viral, and it turns out this gentleman was simply being asked if he had attended the local stampede, and was being offered free tickets. Canadians who responded to the article wondered if the incident might have ended on a more tragic note had this man been allowed to carry a gun.

    Gun violence is obviously a much more pressing issue in the US, and it would seem that the issue needs to be addressed on a number of levels. This could include background checks for public and private sales, as mentioned; and perhaps any violent misdemeanour or lesser infringement, like driving intoxicated, should prevent a gun sale. The issue could also be addressed by focusing on gun-carrying policies, product sales bans on assault rifles, and increased safety mechanisms to prevent accidental shootings. At the heart of the issue, in my mind, is that many Americans feel they have a right to carry a gun. Perhaps gaining a better understanding of why this is, beyond historical reasons, is needed in order to combat the issue of gun violence.

  3. imorales08 Says:

    I am so happy to hear that finally some politicians decided to address this pressing issue. What I really wonder is why after all the incidents that have taken place in the United States, nothing has worked or been done to restrict gun usage. I would believe parent groups and entire communities that have been affected in one way or the other by gun violence and shooting incidents to be persuasive enough to change current gun regulations, however new incidents keep occurring. It seems to me that this has been one of the most neglected problems in the United States that has always required serious attention from the public and politicians. Although I doubt the effectiveness of universal background checks, it might be a good start for tightening current regulations and to hopefully address at some point whether it should be allowed to carry a gun at all. I hope that policy makers will do much more to restrict gun usage than just universal background checks.

  4. amberdawn84 Says:

    I think we struggle as a society to understand why horrible things happen and look for some way to make it better. I agree that gun control is an important step in preventing violence but don’t know to what degree this will “fix” the problem. I personally think that violence in the media and video games is a contributing factor though I don’t believe there is any data to that end. If we became “civilized” and had only law enforcement agents armed, many would believe we were undermining our very basic individual rights. I would imagine that the “right to bear arms” would have to first be repealed if any legislation would not be overturned in the Supreme Court. Since taking guns out of the hands of individuals is very unlikely, we need to figure out another way to solve this problem. Like everyone else, I am just not sure what that is.

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