May's Chair's Corner
A couple of weeks ago, the US Senate failed to file cloture on the the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act and the proposal to expand background checks to Internet and gun show dealers was pulled from the senate floor, its future fate uncertain.
That's unfortunate, because while the bill, with bipartisan support of Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, was admittedly a small step, it was indeed a step in the right direction of ensuring that more gun purchasers be subject to a quick, yet effective check designed to keep criminals and people who are seriously mentally ill from buying firearms.
One of the main arguments that opponents of the measure employed in its defeat was the idea that 'criminals won't submit to background checks, so what's the point'. On the surface, the objection may make some sense, but the reality is that the same objection could be applied to any law we have currently. The very reason criminals can continue to avoid submitting to background checks is that the currently loophole enables them to do so more easily.
The current background check system isn't perfect, and doesn't apply to anywhere near all purchases, but it does work, and the FBI statistic that over the last 14 years it has helped keep more than 1.5 million guns out of the wrong hands bear that out. A more complete system of background checks can only deter crime by keeping weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn't have one. Congress shouldn't give up now.