Considering the number of gun-related deaths in the United States (3,300 since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut,) why would anyone with a grain of reason oppose comprehensive background checks?
The strongest argument for opposing any changes whatsoever to the 2nd Amendment comes from the NRA, gun manufacturers, and conservative politicians, who proclaim that the U.S. Constitution is an infallible document and should be preserved at all costs. Hogwash! No one wants to take away the right to bear arms. But those driven by common sense want to see some reasonable legislation that will help keep guns out of the wrong hands. I’ve heard all the clichés: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” “If a criminal wants a gun, he’ll find a way to get one.”
A black market does exist for guns, particularly assault weapons. But do you think for one minute that every criminal has access to these illegal weapons? So if background checks prevent just one would-be-gun-related death, then it would be the right choice to require that all gun buyers pass a background check. That one person could be your husband, daughter, or sister.
Also remember that the 2nd Amendment was written over 200 years ago. Times have changed. Society has changed. Technology has changed. When the 2nd Amendment was written, the only guns available were single-shot flintlocks. That’s a far cry from an automatic assault weapon with a 30 round magazine.
So, why would anyone oppose background checks? First, politicians who represent red states know that the majority of voters in their state are hard-core, pistol-packing cowboys. Any politician from a red state that backs any change whatsoever to the 2nd Amendment better update their résumés. But even more than politics is the stronger issue: money. Background checks will result in fewer gun sales. Fewer gun sales result in less profit. Need I say more?
So basically, we have powerful and influential lobbyists from gun and ammunition manufacturers, not to mention the NRA, who care more about the bottom line than human life. You may have a hard time admitting it to yourself. But how many times in history has the all-mighty dollar trumped reason, morals, and logic? Let’s just hope that Congress has enough integrity to do the right thing.