The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Welcome to the gun show

Purchasing firearms shouldn’t be as easy as grocery shopping

Less than a year after the event, it seems that lawmakers in Virginia have already forgotten the most fatal campus shooting in American history. After witnessing the loss of 33 lives, one would think that government officials would do anything to keep history from repeating. However, even the memory of the massacre at Virginia Tech last April doesn’t seem to change how the lax laws about gun shows are perceived.

There is a “gun-show loophole” that allows sales at gun shows to go essentially unmonitored. Anyone can go to a gun show, choose a weapon and purchase it without a background check. Now what if someone with a grudge entered a gun show and purchased an arsenal of weapons with which he planned to seek revenge? That is exactly what happened when the Virginia Tech gunman purchased his firearms last year. It is also exactly what happened when the Columbine High School gunmen shopped for their weapons of choice. We should soon know if that played in a role in yesterday’s shootings at Northern Illinois University.

Given the evidence, Ed Board wants to know why the “gun-show loophole” has been left open. Why have more lives been lost because of this free pass to purchase firearms without the buyer being checked for mental illness or a criminal history? Why can someone be turned down by a licensed gun retailer and then just leave that store and go to a gun show instead? Anyone could just avoid the system altogether and go straight to the gun show if he knew he would likely be turned away from the licensed dealer.

While some may see the addition of mandatory background checks at gun shows as a punishment for the innocent aimed at controlling a few bad apples, this is not the case. Since background checks are already performed by licensed dealers, enforcing the same practice at gun shows would be the logical choice to keep firearms out of deadly hands. It is completely illogical to enforce this practice at one place and not the other: As it is now, the law almost begs people to use the loophole and purchase weapons when they should not be allowed to do so. Those who would want to make a purchase at a gun show still could, just with the proper proceedings.

An editorial in The New York Times refers to this problem as the state’s “notorious” loophole. If the problem is so infamous, why aren’t legislators taking the proper steps to fix it? The legislation should pass, and quickly, especially given the events that occurred at Northern Illinois University.

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