To the Editor:
The Washington Post missed the boat on why the Senate “misfired” on background checks (Another View: Senate misfires on background checks, April, 20).
It wasn’t because “a cowardly minority of senators ... avoided a rebuke from the National Rifle Association,” as The Post wrote. It was because gun-control advocates have never proposed an effective system consistent with the beliefs and values of conservative senators and their constituents.Those values include: Safety of the community, obeying the law, responsibility, and justice.
What would such a system look like?
I think it would have the following characteristics:
• It would respect the 2nd Amendment.
• It would be aimed at keeping only the bad guys and those deemed irresponsible or incompetent to possess guns from owning them.
• It would depend on responsible, law-abiding gun owners, not criminals, to obey the law.
• It would carry strict penalties, strictly enforced for violation of background check procedures or possessing a gun that was illegally obtained.
Congress can construct such a system by passing the following laws:
• A law establishing and maintaining an Instant Background Check (IBC) that works, administered by a non-governmental agency (maybe the National Rifle Association?) that can make it accessible to anyone for checking individual purchasers while being secure from survey by any government agency, the press, or anyone else.
• A law requiring every gun owner from the original manufacturer to retail dealer to the individual or organization that buys it to use, display or collect to use the IBC system before selling or otherwise permanently giving a gun to another person.
• A law making it illegal to sell or permanently give a gun to any person or organization listed as ineligible to own one at the time of sale or gifting.
• A law making it illegal to possess a gun without proof of ownership or permission of the person who can prove ownership.
To be effective, of course, these four laws would need to carry strict penalties, strictly enforced. But that, of course, is consistent with the values of responsible gun owners anyway and an often expressed prescription of the NRA.