Yesterday in Twitter there was a discussion going on about background checks for those who wish to purchase guns. After observing both sides of the discussion I asked one of them what information did he think these background checks would contain? I did not receive the courtesy of an answer. This happens since I'm not a member of the Twitter Elite, people tend not to pay too much attention to me. That suits me fine since it gives me time to read BOTH sides of the issue and think about it to form my own opinion.
My opinion is, we need to reduce the incidents of gun violence. Whether or not gun control will be successful remains to be seen, because it doesn't address the underlying cause. The tendency on the part of those shooting other people to deal with their emotions at the point of a gun. Someone who thinks shooting others is the answer to their problems shouldn't have access to guns and yet they do. A situation that I do not believe will change with gun control and background checks because most of the shooters I've read about would most likely have passed a background check. Background checks are only going to show something if there is a history of criminal behavior or violence towards others. I believe there has to have been a conviction, not just an accusation but I may be wrong about that.
During that discussion I kept seeing a reference to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. The persons advancing that point seem to feel that criminals buy guns at gun shows or Walmart. Uh, no. They buy black market items which are usually stolen or smuggled in from someplace else. Drugs aren't the only thing one can buy on many street corners in the United States, or any other country for that matter.Black market guns are virtually untraceable since their identifying numbers have usually been defaced. They cost more but when one is in the business of crime, price is not a problem. A background check isn't going to keep a gun out of the hands of a criminal since they know better than to buy a gun legally. Besides, how many of these people who snapped and killed other people were criminals before they fired those guns?
Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Jared Loughner, James Holmes and Adam Lanza all had something in common. They were angry, they had guns and they killed. Let's remember that Harris and Klebold weren't old enough to legally purchase guns, but they got them. They were being medicated with psychotropic drugs which are known to cause rage, were these drugs a contributing factor? Had they been old enough to buy those guns on their own, this medication might not turn up in a background check because the federal government has in place a law that protects our health information from being disclosed by any medical practitioner under any circumstances unless they have written consent from us to do so.
My other question regarding background checks is what types of crime would prevent someone from obtaining a permit for the gun? Would a misdemeanor drug possession be enough? What about a DUI? I had to be fingerprinted and have my background checked to go to work as a health aide. I could not be employed as I am if I had been convicted of a certain class of felony. I would assume that would hold true of background checks for gun ownership which brings us right back to where we are now since I haven't found any information that indicates any of the shooters I've mentioned were convicted of felony charges. However, there is a growing group of people who appear to believe that gun control and background checks are the answer. They're trying to push Congress into a vote on the issue.
I'd feel better about it if they'd think things through and be sure that any bill that passes actually has some effect on the problem. Otherwise this entire issue will become another exercise in futility. I don't think it's going to be enough to try to remove the purchase of guns, we need to address the underlying causes of violence. Otherwise people will continue to die.