Close the gun show loophole. It’s what Hollywood types “high concept”: a descriptor so easy to grok that the average person doesn’t have to think about it. At all. Well exactly. ‘Cause if you really think about the Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ campaign to force firearms sellers at gun shows to run a criminal background check, you’d see that it’s a noble battle fought on entirely the wrong front. If the measure halted all illegal private sales—every one of them—it would remove less than five percent of all illegal gun sales in the U.S. Would that stop five percent of all illegal gun sales? The odds are good that the other 95 percent of sales could handle the extra demand. Note: I’m no saying that you shouldn’t run background checks on gun show buyers (i.e. maybe we should) . . .
But I am saying that there are better ways to attack gun crime. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact. Making this campaign “The Law of Diminished Returns.”
That leaves only one possible retort: if the legislation saves ONE innocent person . . . And look! Innocent people were killed by people buying guns at a gun show! Mayor Bloomberg weighs in.
“Today marks the 11th anniversary of the tragic shootings at Columbine High School. Last Friday was the three-year anniversary of the nation’s deadliest shooting, at Virginia Tech. Each day, 35 people in America are murdered with guns — the equivalent of a Virginia Tech massacre every single day. Yet, while criminals are busy evading critical background checks at gun shows, Congress continues to turn a blind eye to this glaring gap in our nation’s gun laws.”
The media supporting the Mayors are not insensitive to the flaws in Hizzoner’s argument. They simply don’t care.
“Since America is infested with millions of murder instruments, we don’t know whether control laws ever can reduce the death toll,” The Charleston Gazette editorial on the subject concludes. “But conscientious leaders should keep trying. Closing the gun show loophole would be a plausible step.”