Swiss-cheese gun laws

"Pistol" by Francois Robert via Andrew Sullivan, the Daily Dish

Someone was shot in New York today. In fact, according to Newark mayor Cory Booker, 34 people— as many as were killed at Virginia Tech— are shot and killed every day in America. We are the most heavily armed populace in the world, with 90 firearms for every 100 people. Next in line is Yemen with two-thirds of our rate: 61 guns for every 100 people. No other first-world country has the mass shootings that we have.

We have “swiss-cheese” gun laws, Booker told Rachel Maddow tonight, laws shot through with loopholes.

A criminal can’t go to a retail store to buy a gun, but a criminal or a wife beater or a terrorist on a terrorist watch list can go to any of the gun shows held all across America and load up the trunk of a car with arms purchased without any background check whatsoever. The firesale loophole allows dealers whose licenses have been revoked by the ATF for chronic non-compliance with federal law to transfer their remaining guns— hundreds of them— from their “business inventory” into their “personal collections” and sell them without record-keeping or background checks.

Guns are so easily accessible that we’re also arming criminals in other countries, providing weapons to both sides in the Mexican drug wars, for example.

When will Congress muster the will to close the loopholes and reinstate the ban on assault weapons? What law-abiding citizen has need for a machine gun? Rational people— gun owners as well as liberals—  agree that we must take steps to interrupt the sickening regularity of home-grown massacres like Columbine, Red Lake, Fort Hood and so many others.

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