Our View: Expand background checks now

DKS Editors

The U.S. Senate is about to begin debate on legislation that would expand background checks to all commercial gun sales. We hope the bill passes, and the reason is not difficult to understand.

Currently, background checks are not required at gun shows. This gives criminals appallingly easy access to firearms. This bill would close that loophole. Guns don’t kill people; people do, and this bill would rightly make it more difficult for known lawbreakers to get their hands on guns. This is a good thing.

It really is that simple. But conservatives and avid gun supporters have been making a ruckus to deflect attention away from this needed fix.

Of course, the Internet is full of terror that this is only the beginning of a slippery slope to a complete ban of guns. But that has zero chance of happening. First of all, take comfort that the language in the bill explicitly says selling guns to family or friends would remain exempt from background checks. Second, Congress would never, ever, ever garner enough votes to repeal the Second Amendment.

The intensity of clamor for protecting our gun rights is wildly disproportionate to the tiny odds those rights will ever actually be infringed upon. If you’re a law-abiding citizen, your guns are safe; any suggestion otherwise is a distraction.

Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, was attempting to create a diversion when he said that he doesn’t believe the polls that find 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks. (He should ask Mitt Romney how ignoring polls worked out for him.) Texas Railroad Commission chairman Barry Smitherman was attempting to distract when he tweeted an image that suggested supporters of universal background checks should be hung with a noose for committing treason. Ann Coulter was attempting to distract when she said she’d agree to support universal background checks if she can murder Meghan McCain. They are on the wrong side of history, but we don’t have to be.

Again, it’s this simple: Universal background checks would reduce gun homicide.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.