Some ado is being made over the National Rifle Association's decision to change its position on background checks for private gun show purchases. But the NRA's switch is as prudent as the so-called “gun show loophole” is regularly misrepresented by anti-gun zealots and the media alike.
Gun show purchases from licensed dealers always have required background checks. Sales between private individuals, typically hobbyists and collectors, have not. And while the Obama administration and others have implied that such sales are responsible for up to 40 percent of show transactions, the real number is far less. Try 4 percent.
“The ‘gun-show loophole' is an exaggeration designed to foster the false impression that this is how the bad guys acquire firearms,” reminds Washington Times gun scribe Emily Miller. Furthermore, a mere 0.7 percent of those “bad guys” (state and federal prison inmates) purchased their guns in such a manner, Ms. Miller adds, citing Justice Department statistics.
The NRA once favored universal background checks. Now it does not. But it makes perfect sense for the NRA to reverse course, given the statistics. And as NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre notes, such checks would be ineffective at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
“It's time to do something,” President Obama implored Monday in Minneapolis, pushing for stricter gun laws. Enforcing the plethora of laws already on the books, regularly unprosecuted, would be the better tack.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.