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  • w.heinlein w.heinlein Dec 26, 2012 12:59 PM Flag

    A simple step to reduce firearms violence

    First of all (and before I get to my proposal) the NRA has to stop using its clout in Congress to prevent the development of adequate background checking on gun purchases. There is no rational reason to oppose background checks. They don't hurt law-abiding citizens and they make it harder for criminals to buy guns.

    Assuming Wayne LaPierre isn't so deranged as to continue his drive to eliminate all law enforcement oversight of gun sales, there is a simple yet effective step that we could take to reduce the incidence of firearms violence without banning any type of gun or any type of magazine, clip or drum. We could follow the lead of the Dramshop Acts that are in place in every state in the country. Those laws basically impose strict liability on the sellers of alcohol by the drink for the harm caused by someone who gets drunk in the seller's bar. We could do something similar for firearms. We could make the seller strictly liable for any harm caused by a gun buyer on whom the seller did not do a background check or to whom the seller sold a gun in spite of having been shown that the buyer has a criminal record or a history of severe mental illness. We would have to apply this strict liability principle to ALL gun sellers, whether gun shops, gun shows, private sellers, mail order sellers, or whatever.

    Under this approach, the sellers become the first line of defense against gun sales to criminal or unstable buyers. Like the bartender who refuses to sell any more drinks to a patron who is getting drunk in the bar for fear of the liability that he'll inherit if the drunk gets in a car and kills somebody, the gun seller would refuse to sell a gun to somebody whose background check comes up negative for fear of the liaiblity that he'll inherit if the buyer shoots somebody with that gun.

    What I'm proposed is not a "solution" to the probem of firearms violence, but I'm convinced it would be a significant step in the right direction.

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    • Currently there is no way for an individual seller to initiate the background check on another individual.

      Also, the biggest opposition to background checks is because getting the government involved in transactions between individual citizens is a precursor to gun confiscation. Currently for that reason it is illegal for the records of the background checks to be stored by the organizations doing the checks. But in attempts by the FBI and BATF to allow them extend that record keeping to multiple years (or indefinitely), they have admitted they are already keeping them indefinitely.

      • 2 Replies to wh0me2000
      • Nevada provides a way for a private party seller to run a NICS check on a prospective purchaser. I would say that was prudent for any sales to a stranger.

        Further, imagine this scenario: you meet someone to sell your pistol, he buys it, loads it, and holds you at gunpoint or even kills you. I'd sell it to a dealer even if I took a financial hit -- better than a figurative hit.

    • Since most gun crime is Dem on Dem, what would you conclude? No gun permits issued to democrats! Why do you think Dems are so interested in gun control......they're killing their own!!!

    • I fail to see how any of this will keep weapons out of the hand of the insane. A sane person today could be a murderer tomorrow. Banning guns will keep guns out of the hands of those for whom we trust and would need to count on in a time of need. I hope level heads will prevail. Seems like guards at the school doors might be a good idea.

    • Do you also propose holding car dealerships responsible for the deaths caused by the misuse of their products?

    • Great idea - if you want to put honest gun sellers out of business - who would want that liability? meanwhile, those buying on the street could care less about a receipt anyway. Crooks and cons will always be able to get guns to use against their chosen victims, honest people will be the ones that get shot and killed.

      • 2 Replies to another_option
      • Why should having to check the background of a gun purchaser put honest gun sellers out of business? Are you implying that gun purchasers are all dishonest, and would prove to be criminals, or do you mean that your "honest" gun dealers don't care who they sell to, or what their customers will do with their purchase? Honest gun dealers just don't want o spend a couple of minutes to check the background of their customers? Will having to check the background and citizenship status of new employees by honest gun dealers out of business, too?

        Sentiment: Hold

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