Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wasserman Schultz Wants to Close Gun Show Loophole

There’s been an effort in Virginia for several years to close the gun show loophole, but the gun lobby has been able to use money and lobbying efforts from preventing the measure from being passed. As a result, there are many criminals who might be able to get their hands on a weapon because a background check isn’t required during “private” sales. In light of the recent gun tragedies like the shooting earlier this year in Tuscon, however, we’ve now seen some national leaders taking the lead on closing the gun show loophole.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is a good friend of Gabby Giffords, will be introducing legislation in the House of Representatives that will require a background check on all gun sales.
"It is outrageous that gun buyers evade the background-check system every day, even in broad daylight," Wasserman Schultz said Monday at a gun-reform rally in Miami sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"While we likely cannot end all gun violence, we certainly can do much, much better," she added. "We have laws on the books designed to keep guns out of the hands of those that should not have them. We just need to close the loopholes and improve the information available to law enforcement."
Although there have been some politicians who called for stricter gun control laws after events like the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the fact that Wasserman Schultz is the one sponsoring the legislation is important to note. Not only has she been a rising star in the Democratic Party in recent years, but she’s also the new head of the DNC. This means that any legislation that she’s actively working on will likely receive a lot of attention. When you combine this with the fact that Chuck Schumer is introducing companion legislation in the Senate and President Obama has advocated for an “instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks,” there is the real possibility of legitimate action on the issue.

Despite the hope for some concrete action, however, there’s no doubt that the NRA will be able to dump millions into lobbying against the legislation. At the same time, there are many groups who simply want to make people aware of the gun show loophole who are running into problems. A group just outside of Chicago, for instance, received a lot of resistance from the owner of the building where the show will be held. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, the owner ''prohibited the group from entering the show, threatened them with prosecution and suggested that (if they chose to ignore this warning) he could not vouch for their safety.''

In other words, the legislation being introduced represents a step in the right direction but clearly doesn’t mean the fight is over.

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