Following the mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, The Daily Item printed many letters for and against additional gun control laws. One of those was mine, in which I presented some facts which should be considered and I closed with this challenge, "I invite anyone to make a specific proposal for a gun control law. Explain how it would work and how it would prevent or reduce gun violence."
That challenge has yet to be answered.
Nevertheless, those who favor more laws have focused on two things, an assault weapons ban and universal background checks. Yet no one from the president on down to the editor who called for universal background checks in a recent editorial has explained how any of the proposals would be helpful.
Universal background checks are related to the so-called "gun show loophole," an invention of gun control advocates that is widely believed by the misinformed who think it is possible to walk up to any dealer at a gun show and buy a semi-automatic rifle without a background check.
The fact is that all licensed gun dealers must perform background checks no matter where they are doing business. Furthermore, gun shows are closely monitored by BATFE agents to ensure that everything is done legally.
It is true that unlicensed dealers do not have to perform background checks (this is the "gun show loophole"), but it is also true that unlicensed dealers are strictly limited in the number of guns they are allowed to sell, which makes it economically impossible for them to make a profit at major gun shows because of the high vendor fees.
Universal background checks would not have prevented the killings at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tucson or Columbine or probably any other mass killings because either the killers used stolen guns or had already passed background checks.
Finally, universal background checks would never be universal. Does anyone believe that criminals selling guns to other criminals are going to require background checks? Universal background checks would apply to every transfer of guns. An otherwise law-abiding citizen could not legally sell or give any gun to a family member or friend without a background check.
Ridiculous laws breed contempt for those laws, and such a law would be widely ignored. Vice President Joe Biden was recently quoted as saying, "Nothing we're going to do is going to fundamentally alter the possibility of another mass shooting ..." so what is the point? It's understandable that people want to "do something," but passing any legislation with nothing to recommend it other than emotion is never a good idea.
Carl R. Catherman, Mifflinburg