Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why Sell a Gun To A Stranger Without a Background Check?

I went to the New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV) town hall meeting tonight down in Santa Fe. Overall, a very civilized affair that lacked some of the stridency of the usual gun debate. That said, the question of "common sense gun laws" came up. That discussion needs a new introduction line. Perhaps "consensus driven, effective gun violence prevention laws". Or something. As long as it doesn't stop there.

I did make the point to the audience that some of these so called common sense suggestions are offered harshly and at times, the notion that they are common sense suggestions is in the eye of the beholder.  I suggested that perhaps if instead of demands, we ask for cooperation, we could get somewhere.

Meanwhile, there has been yet another mass shooting. Bleeding Kansas, eh? As Mark Follman of MJ keeps tweeting relentlessly, we are in a national epidemic of the firearms version of Maslow's Hammer. Some people really ought to melt down their guns and make them into metal statues.

Drawing on the idea of the poster in my favorite gun shop (The Outdoorsman) provided by the NSSF, "Don't lie for the other guy", meant to dissuade straw purchases, we need a public information campaign to promote background checks such as "Why Would You Sell A Gun To A Perfect Stranger Without A Background Check?" I suggested, since Mayor Gonzales and Sen. Rodriguez were in the room, legislation that would provide a background check, free, at any FFL for a private sale. Make it part of a gun ethics commitment for people to follow. Perhaps the state or city could reimburse FFLs for the chore. This is not an unreasonable suggestion. We provide tax incentives for activities the government wants to encourage such as using renewable energy, installing energy conservation devices, riding a bike to work, or borrowing to own a home. Since the cost to society of a homicide is over a million dollars, it makes sense to likewise incentivize a background check even if it is not a legal requirement.

You could even have a nice poster. For example, this fellow, who was an eight time felon who bought several ARs from unquestioning sellers, could be a poster child. Stories here and here.  Note that it is a Federal crime to knowingly sell a gun to a convicted felon, something that Seattle Times writer Danny Westneat mentions but also notes that without a background check, ignorance is indeed bliss. The fact that the couple sold guns to someone they admitted was sketchy enough to worry them also worries me as well as worrying Danny Westneat. The last thing the gun owning community needs is more bad headlines and wrongful deaths.

Why Sell A Gun To A Stranger Without A Background Check?
(A couple sold their Bushmaster to this 8 time convicted felon.)

Obtain a background check. We will make it easy. 
Far easier than being interviewed by police when something goes dreadfully wrong. 
We fellow gun owners will thank you for being careful and respecting our gun owner's ethics--and helping preserve our rights.
photo credit: Federal DOJ via