Other Views: Close the gun-sale loophole

This editorial appeared in Wednesday’s Washington Post. Under federal law, certain categories of people are not allowed to buy or possess firearms. Background checks, introduced in 1994, have blocked licensed dealers from making more than 3.5 million gun sales to such people. There is, however, no system to prevent these same prohibited purchasers — felons, domestic abusers, fugitives and others deemed dangerous to themselves or others — from buying at a gun show, over the Internet or through a newspaper ad. No background checks. No questions. The situation makes absolutely no sense, as more than 90 percent of Americans agree. Democrats and Republicans, gun owners and non-owners favor universal background checks. Democrats, who just took control of the House, are right to make this issue a top legislative priority. Bipartisan legislation requiring background checks on all guns was introduced Tuesday in the House by Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson, D-Calif., with the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The bill was named H.R. 8 in honor of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was grievously wounded eight years ago on Jan. 8 in a shooting that killed six people and wounded 12 others. Returning to Capitol Hill for the bill’s introduction, Giffords tweeted: “Speaking is still difficult for me, but I don’t think I can make myself more clear: Congress must act to make our country safer from gun violence.” Gun rights absolutists rather predictably reacted by noting that the man who tried to kill […]

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