Had enough gun violence?
We can't let the NRA block sensible gun-control laws.
Let's get this out of the way. I am a gun owner and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. What I do not support is extending the rights embedded in the Second Amendment to terrorists, criminals, and children.Skip to next paragraph
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In the wake of a horrific campus shooting at Northern Illinois University, where 21 students were shot, we're reminded again that national gun laws must be strengthened.
Sadly, gun laws have only been weakened since the massacres at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. To be sure, these headline-grabbing mass shootings may not have been preventable. But beyond the headlines, consider this news: 83 Americans die each and every day from gun violence. And much of that violence is very preventable.
Current federal law allows an unlimited number of easily concealable handguns and military-style weapons to be sold privately in 32 states without a criminal background check or an ID. Why do we take such a hands-off approach to these dangerous weapons? The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the gun industry lobby are a big part of the answer.
You have to show ID to purchase alcohol or cigarettes. But if you want a Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle (capable of penetrating steel and taking out an armored vehicle from more than a mile) you need only to show up at one of 5,000 legal gun shows and fork over the cash – no ID or background check required! It is well documented that Al Qaeda, Hizbullah, and IRA terrorists have exploited this loophole in US gun laws to purchase military-style weapons from "private sellers" at gun shows.
In a recent radio debate with me, an NRA official confirmed that the organization is opposed to uniform criminal background checks for fear they will "shut down gun shows." The NRA says that not even people on the suspected terrorist watch list should be barred from purchasing guns because – are you ready for this? – "we do not know how people are put on the list" and "many times people are victims of mistaken identity."
Eighty-nine percent of Americans said they wanted mandatory background checks for anyone buying a gun, according to a 2007 Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and The Tarrance Group survey. But the NRA has continually blocked such common-sense legislation as mandatory background checks and five-day waiting periods to buy a handgun. NRA policies handcuff national law enforcement's ability to effectively regulate private gun sales, gun shows, and even the sharing of crime-gun trace data within the law enforcement community.