President Trump has made it plain that he intends to delve right into the gun control fiasco as soon as he can light a fire under Mitch McConnell.
We gun owners shouldn’t panic, as Trump has made it plain he is pro-gun ownership and pro-NRA. But we all realize that SOMETHING has to be done to reduce mass shootings in America.
Thus, the NRA leadership is reserving judgment on the president’s actions until the issue is faced. Be sure, the organization representing millions of law-abiding American gun owners will stand for nothing that may chip away at our Second Amendment rights.
Not so the Gun Owners of America. Executive director Erich Pratt stated flatly that, “If he (Trump) does this (pushes for expanded background checks), we will not support him in 2020.”
So who will they support? Any one of 20 Democrats who pledge to take away gun rights? Trump is not doing an about face. He has twice called for beefing up an existing system that has failed society, allowing wackos to kill.
The point is, we do have a background system in place. Federal form 4473 must be filled out prior to purchasing a firearm from a federal firearms licensed dealer (FFL).
This highly efficient piece of paper asks such probing questions as: “Are you a convicted felon?” Or, “Are you an unlawful user of any addictive substance?” Or, “Were you dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces?” Or, “Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?”
I paraphrase, but you get the idea. OK, it also warns that lying can get you a bunch of years in prison and cost you a bunch of money.
What is astounding is that it has worked – somewhat. The FBI reports that of 230 million background checks since the system began, there have been 1.3 million denials for various reasons – less than .006 percent. OK, that’s small, but if even one of that tiny turndown was a mass shooter, then it is worth the trouble and expense to society.
Still, wackos slip through the cracks and kill folks. What Trump is calling for is a better system. Also, there is the need for city, state and national agencies to be better at alerting one another, as in the case of the Parkland shooting in Florida.
Seriously, what do we do? President Trump and Mitch McConnell are going to be trying to lead a serious bi-party study to make inroads on the problem of gun ownership vs. mass shootings. They don’t need putdowns and nasty comments. They need constructive suggestions and sane comments.
I hope that violent video games and other cultural influences will also be examined. Children today learn early on that teachers and other adult leaders best not deal out any form of overt punishment for misbehavior. Respect for others is taking a beating in our society.
And ultimately, it is respect for others that keeps us from killing one another.
Fred Causley is a former OSU Agriculture Communications employee and a longtime Stillwater resident and NRA member. Send him questions or feedback to email@example.com.