Herald-Leader Editorial

Expand background checks for gun safety

Approve more background checks

April 11, 2013 

Common-sense controls, such as background checks on gun buyers, threaten no one's Second Amendment rights.

The public recognizes this. Some polls report 90 percent of Americans support closing loopholes in the background check law.

A Bluegrass Poll by The Courier-Journal in January found strong support for the rights of gun owners among adult Kentuckians, as you'd expect.

The poll also found that 75 percent in Kentucky support criminal background checks before all gun sales, including those between private individuals.

Yet Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has joined a filibuster threat led by fellow Kentuckian Sen. Rand Paul to block any gun control measure from coming up for a vote in the Senate, even expanded background checks.

It's disappointing that McConnell has joined the attention-loving Paul on the fringe of this debate.

Fortunately, other Republicans are showing more sense and the Senate is expected to take up a gun control measure, perhaps as early as today.

Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, unveiled a compromise proposal Wednesday that would close the loopholes in the background check requirement for gun shows and online sales.

Under their compromise, records would not be kept of gun sales between individuals.

Both Toomey and Manchin have "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association, which is perfectly consistent with polls showing most NRA members support expanded background checks.

It's the NRA leadership that's out on the fringe with Paul and now McConnell.

The Senate also should debate and vote on reinstating limits on the sale of assault weapons and restricting high capacity magazines such as those used to massacre children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Paul and his philosophical cohorts warn that recording gun sales or limiting the sale of certain weapons or ammunition could lead to the government confiscating or outlawing all guns.

That argument makes as much sense as saying the government is going to confiscate our vehicles because we have to register them and can't drive an M1 Abrams tank down New Circle Road.

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