March 13, 2012 4:30 pm ET - by Chris Brown
This morning a group of 15 survivors of last year's attempted
assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) published an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star calling on President Obama to "get
moving" on the effort to close loopholes in the background check system
for gun purchases. The letter marks the one year anniversary President Obama's own op-ed in the Daily Star encouraging people to "seek agreement on gun reforms."
Currently millions of guns are purchased each year without background checks because the private seller loophole allows people to sell firearms without them if they are not federally licensed gun dealers. It's been shown that sellers at gun shows and online will sell guns even to people that say they probably couldn't pass a background check. Additionally the background check system is missing millions of records of severely mental ill people that are legally prohibited from purchasing guns.
President Obama discussed reforming the background check system in his editorial, but as today's letter notes little progress has been made towards reforms:
We are resolved to work together to fix our background check system - to protect others from the terrible violence that our community has endured.
Last November, we traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the Fix Gun Checks Act, legislation that would make sure that the records of prohibited gun purchasers are in the gun background-check system, and require a background check for every gun sale. (See www.fixgunchecks.org online.)
We personally met with some of our elected representatives about specific steps to fix the system and help prevent senseless shootings.
We believed we had the president as an ally in that effort. We were encouraged last March when he said, "We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can't escape it."
Some might argue that, because it's an election year, now is not the time to act. And to those people we say: This is a common-sense proposal that the American people overwhelmingly support.
As noted in the letter, reforming the background check system for purchasing guns is a broadly popular idea.
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