As I have stated before, I may be the resident gun nut here, but I’m not insane and I certainly don’t believe the most important words of the Constitution are found in the last half of the Second Amendment. (For the record I think they are the first three words of the preamble – “We, the people…” but that’s just me.)
I used to live in the country and think that “city folks just don’t ‘get it'” with regards to firearms…then I grew up and took a career path that knocked the tri-cornered hat off the Second Amendment and I realized that it isn’t the “city folks” who don’t get it – it’s the rural folks. Gun violence is not a problem in the rural areas of Missouri, but in Kansas City and St. Louis, it’s a hellish problem and I have had to hear too many mothers wail and cry out when they are told that their child is dead. It’s not a sound you ever want to hear, and unless you work in an emergency room that has a trauma center, it isn’t one you are likely to hear. Yet it’s a sound that haunts my dreams and I can’t get out of my head, even though I haven’t worked in a hospital since 2006, or worked a trauma since 2005.
Living that reality for over 20 years is why I was so thrilled to see this article at The Atlantic that I managed to miss over the long weekend.
The Obama administration is using executive authority to close two gun-buying loopholes, a narrower version of the post-Newtown gun legislation that fell apart in the Senate four months ago. The new rules — one concerning background checks, the other the reimportation of weapons — could reduce the number of gun purchases a year by 70,000.
“It’s simple, it’s straightforward, it’s common sense,” Vice President Joe Biden said today from the White House. The executive action will only apply to relatively few gun purchases, though. The first loophole closed by Obama was used 39,000 times last year and allowed weapon purchasers to avoid background checks by registering a gun to a corporation or trust. With the second loophole, American military weapons were sold to allies and then re-imported back into the U.S. and sold through private groups. That loophole has resulted in the re-importation of 250,000 such guns since 2005, which equates to about 31,000 guns per year.
That total of 70,000 guns may sound like a lot, but it’s a drop in the tank-sized bucket compared to the 17 million applications for background checks to buy guns in the U.S. in just the last year.
Obama and Democrats want to be able to tell supporters that they’re doing something on guns, even though it’s difficult to do much without Congress. A May 2013 poll found 81 percent of Democrats want more strict gun regulations.
I am definitely one of those Democrats, because I have lived a life that put the reality of guns and too-easy access in the proper context. No one hunts with an assault weapon, and no one I know wants to be out in the woods with a hunter who needs that many rounds to kill Bambi any-damned-way.