Lad Everitt: No half measures on gun control

Gun Rights

Many Americans are hopeful that come January the newly elected Democratic majority in the House will work to keep guns out of the hands of potential mass shooters. Early signals on this front, however, give little cause for optimism. Two days after the midterm election Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the presumptive speaker, said House Democrats will prioritize “bipartisan legislation to have common-sense background checks” on firearm sales. The legislation she’s referring to is the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, which would expand the existing background check system for gun buyers. This is not universal background check legislation; it would just cover private sales that are commercially advertised, such as at gun shows, over the internet or through classified ads. Worse, the bill includes National Rifle Association-drafted language that bars the federal government from registering privately held firearms. Given the overwhelming success of Democratic congressional candidates who championed gun control in the midterm elections, this feels like a weak lead for Pelosi and her caucus. The bill also suffers from a fundamental flaw: It relies on a system replete with dangerous loopholes. Since being instituted in 1998, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has consistently failed to block gun sales to individuals with a history of violence. An FBI study of 63 mass shooting cases between 2000 and 2013 found that only 2 percent of the guns used were purchased illegally, and 6 percent were stolen. By comparison, 40 percent of the guns were purchased legally […]

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