Gun Laws - The Case for Funding Background Checks
By Marty Poehler
In our last article, we looked at a forum organized in 2018 where citizens with views across a wide spectrum were brought together to discuss gun rights and gun laws. (The Christian Business International Newsletter has no affiliation or relationship with Time Magazine who organized the forum.) The take-away we came to was that though there are people with opposing views on this issue, we need to guard ourselves from thinking the other side is the enemy.
The forum proved that polite civil dialogue was and is possible. The end goal is to have guns have a rightful place in American society as guaranteed by the Second Amendment – and to have balanced laws so that lives will not be lost through gun violence. We concluded that through civil and respectful dialogue, agreement on ways forward are possible -- because they exist. We should identify them and embrace them so lives can be saved!
Finding a Middle Ground
The matter of background checks is one of seemingly irreconcilable differences. The Gun Rights people say – no more new laws on background checks – enforce the gun laws that exist. The Gun Control people say – universal background checks will keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. But is there a middle ground of agreement?
Yes. The shooter of nine people in the Charleston church was able to buy a gun -- though he should have been denied as he had earlier admitted to police he had used a controlled substance. He was allowed to buy the gun because someone in a government office didn’t respond within the mandated three-day period to a request for a background check. There was confusion in the particular office on the information on this man wanting to buy the gun. Confusion led to delay, delay led to the default that he was allowed after the three-day period to buy the gun. Lives were lost. We can only guess how many other lives were lost in similar situations.
Improving Background Checks
It’s estimated that spending $400 million would make the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, seamless so the already legally-mandated background checks on guns being bought from dealers can give correct results. 1 Nine people in Charleston, 26 who died in a mass shooting in Texas, and perhaps many more, have lost their lives because of a broken fragmented system used for background checks. The Federal Government should authorize the program and the money to set up an integrated system. The gun rights group the NRA in years past has said this themselves. 2 This would save lives by keeping some (not all but some) guns out of the hands of people like the Charleston shooter we all agree shouldn’t have them.
This is a small step but one we can agree on. We should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good in civil discourse when we can save lives.