The debate about more restrictive background checks for gun purchases rages on and so I would like to take this opportunity to contribute my prospective of the issue.
The one compelling reason expressed by the editors and some other writers is the belief that enhanced background checks will stop unlawful gun purchases and need not be feared by the law-abiding citizens. Those who entertain this thought do not seem to realize that the law-abiding citizens who will be affected are not the problem. Ask yourself a simple question: Was it law-abiding citizens who caused the murderous rampages at Columbine, Aurora or Newtown?
I think it’s a pretty good bet that stealing firearms and murder are against current law. I would submit that if someone is predisposed to such heinous acts, a more comprehensive background check will have no effect on the outcome of his/her actions. Firearms will be stolen (Newtown) or be procured by some other illegal means. Think about it for a second — if someone is extremely violent, suicidal or insane, are they going to bother with a background check they know they can’t pass? These individuals may be crazy, but they are not stupid.
Next, there is the argument that “we must do something” and “we need a reasonable first step,” both of which provoke this question: If our first step is creating burdensome laws that will only affect the law-abiding citizen, how will it stop insane, suicidal people that existing laws mean nothing to? Logic should indicate to a reasonably intelligent person that it won’t. What it will do is lead to highly emotional cries for more useless laws.
When these useless laws fail (and they will), then we will need the “second step.” What this second step will consist of ... I’ll just let that to the reader’s imagination.
Barry Heiser, Watsontown