Guns

Why Can Violent Felons Buy Guns at Gun Shows?

| by Jerome McCollom

I, like our former great U.S. Senator in Wisconsin, Russ Feingold, am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, which gives an individual right to bear arms.

This is one of the few issues that I disagree with the majority of those on the left. The Bill of Rights was written for a broad view of individual liberty, not a narrow one. I would be remiss if I ignored its protections when it came to the 2nd Amendment, because the left -- when it comes to the Constitution -- is for a broad view of liberty and rights, while conservatives are usually for a narrow view.  

But, like libel/slander laws when it comes to freedom of speech, it isn't absolute. Violent felons should not have guns. Not much argument from many Americans on that one. The problem is when it comes to ensuring that they don't have the ability to acquire firearms. We can't stop all of them from getting guns, but we sure can make it darn hard that they do so with ease.

With that in mind I am deeply concerned that gun shows, there is no requirement on background checks. Someone could be a violent felon and walk into a gun show and tell the seller, "nope, it's not illegal for me to have a gun." It relies upon violent felons (not felons who write bad checks) to be honest. Those felons who would visit a gun show (which is probably a probation violation in of itself) are probably not going to tell the truth.

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Indeed, I remember a conversation with a radio talk show host on this very subject. I remember thinking I wanted to pound my head against the wall trying to explain to him that no, violent felons aren't known for their honesty. He couldn't understand the need for required background checks.

Well, investigators for New York City went to a gun show  in Tucson, AZ after the shooting in Tucson last month. When they told gun dealers they probably would not pass the background checks, guns were sold to them anyway. This, by the way, is of course a clear and blatant violation of the law.

Gun dealers cannot sell to people suspected of being felons or mentally ill. By the way, the gun that Jared Loughner used to murder those people had a 30-round capacity. He was only tackled after he tried reloading. A smaller magazine would have made the shooting end quicker. Why is it necessary to have a 30-round magazine anyway, to fight off a troupe of ninja killers? The only purpose of such a magazine, in effect, is to commit mass murder.