ShareThis Page
Editorial: Toomey’s common-sense solution to gun law loophole | TribLIVE.com
Editorials

Editorial: Toomey’s common-sense solution to gun law loophole

1004568_web1_WEB-semiautomatic-and-ammo

Listen to squabbles about gun control and you are bound to hear one question come up, either from frustrated proponents of limits or aggrieved champions of the Second Amendment.

Why don’t we just enforce the rules we already have?

If the two sides would actually listen to each other, they might realize that they have this one crucial area where they agree, and that might be a start to finding answers.

It is, perhaps, unsurprising that — while Pittsburgh is passing restrictions and a state legislator is proposing an annual registry — a rare Republican with common-sense gun control credentials has seized on the idea of not reinventing the wheel. Instead, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, would like to stop the wheel from wobbling.

Right to bear arms not withstanding, there are a number of checks in the system already. The question for some is whether there are enough. It’s a fair question, but paying attention to what we should already be enforcing is definitely within our grasp, so why not start there?

Toomey no doubt learned this from his failed 2013 bid with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to institute universal federal background checks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Now he just wants to take the checks that are being done and make sure the information is shared.

“When a person has been convicted of a crime and is disqualified from purchasing a gun and attempts to do so, that person is committing a crime,” Toomey said. “The FBI very seldom prosecutes those cases, but the state attorneys general might want to prosecute them.”

Pennsylvania does. For more than 20 years, failing a background check triggers a glance. In addition to the fact that the attempt alone is illegal, there have been other crimes uncovered and fugitive arrests made. Thousands of people have been taken off the streets because of simply following the letter of the already written law.

But that doesn’t happen in most states. Toomey thinks what works in Pennsylvania can work everywhere, and he has bipartisan supporters who agree.

And all it might take to fix this particular wheel is paying attention to the people — all of the people — complaining about the squeak and asking for the grease.

1004568_web1_WEB-semiautomatic-and-ammo
Categories: Opinion | Editorials
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.