There are some stories about guns that stand out because they show that doing the right thing is good for public safety. For example, this latest story about a federally licensed firearms dealer (ffl) not doing his job and therefore making us all unsafe because of bad business practices shows that when the ATF can do its' job, "bad apple" gun dealers are caught doing the wrong thing. This dealer in Nashville was shut down by the ATF. Not performing mandatory background checks is bad business. We count on those gun dealers to do their jobs. We know that private sellers do not have to require background checks. But the Brady Law mandates that federally licensed dealers do what is required by law to weed out people who should not be able to legally purchase guns. Without that, we have more guns in the hands of questionable folks. That is not good and certainly not responsible. Just like any other business federally licensed firearms dealers need to comply with the law. Lives, in this case, could depend on it.
Here is another story about illegal guns but this time it is about a private seller who says he got his own guns from gun shows and then turned around and knowingly sold to felons. Interestingly it was a felon who came to law enforcement about the Milwaukee area seller. It looks like the seller will be locked up for a while. But will he sell again when he is released? Perhaps this is a case for a longer sentence. Federal guidelines call for 6 months to 1 year as a sentence. My friends in the gun rights cause may respond to that. At the least, the man was caught and another illegal dealer of guns is off the streets at least for a while.
If we had had more responsible rules concerning the reporting of people with adjudicated mental illness to the National Instant Check System, the Virginia Tech shooter, Cho, would have had a harder time coming by his guns. He could have bought them easily at a gun show because there is no requirement for private sellers to contact NICS to find out if someone is a prohibited purchaser. He could have stolen a gun or two. He could have sought out someone to do a straw purchase or maybe he could have hung out on the streets with questionable folks selling guns for cash. Instead, he was a "legal" purchaser when he bought his guns, one from a local dealer and one on the internet requiring his getting the background check at a local dealer before taking possession. And so, the rest is history.
Now, one of the victims of Cho's killing spree at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, is speaking out. I have written before about Colin Goddard. This article is yet another interview with him as he is getting more and more media attention. Colin belongs to a group he didn't ask to be a member of. He is a victim of a shooting who happened to survive his bullet wounds with only some lingering physical affects involving bullets lodged in his body. But the long lasting emotional affects will stay with him for a very long time. He has become a great spokesperson for common sense and responsiblity as he goes around the country with his story. Colin's story has been made into a documentary film, Living for 32. The documentary film is up for several awards. It will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival and is also on the initial list for an Academy Award for short documentaries. Well-done, Colin. And well-done to the producer and director, Maria Cuomo Cole and Kevin Breslin. They had the foresight to understand that Colin's was a story worth telling and that it could change the national conversation about "gun control" and how to prevent senseless shootings. Watch for more about this video and about Colin.
Colin and his Dad are also writing blog articles together about their experiences and reflections about the issue of gun violence prevention. This is their latest article. I don't know how anything could be more clear than the case laid out in this article for closing the private seller loophole that allows some gun sellers to sell guns with no background checks while others at the same venue are required to ask buyers to fill out forms and go through NICS to make sure they are not prohibited to purchase a gun. This makes no sense. Common sense tells us that this is a flawed system that is crying out to be changed and fixed. The fix is simple. If all buyers at gun shows have to have a background check, the system is uniform and there would be no chance for a prohibited purchaser to buy a gun he or she should not have. This would fix a loophole allowed in the Brady Law that anticipated private sellers at gun shows as occasional sellers and collectors. Realizing that gun shows are just one of the venues where prohibited people get their guns, it is not a "magic bullet" to reducing the sale of illegal guns for illegal people. But surely, it is an important step in the direction of stopping some of the shootings occurring on a daily basis in our country.
The stories and articles above are good news. Two are about someone doing the wrong thing concerning gun violence and being stopped from continuing business as usual.The others are about brave people doing the right thing in the name of public safety and common sense. I say brave people because putting yourself out there in support of gun violence prevention makes one a target for the ire and rath of those on the side of unfettered gun rights. It is sometimes a difficult path and requires tenacity, courage and a thick skin.
Selling guns to felons is not an act of courage. It is an act of selfishness and done in order to make money. We don't need that kind of business. And happily the media is paying attention to what some gun sellers are doing and now to what Colin Goddard and others like him are doing.
Welcome to Common Gunsense
I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.