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Obama gun checks are warranted and reasonable

Obama’s actions put teeth into current gun law and bolster the resources for more rigorous enforcement. They also create a fairer playing field for gun commerce.

Obama’s actions create a fairer playing field for gun commerce.
REUTERS/Joshua Lott

The following is an editorial from the Mankato Free Press.

While critics say the recent executive actions on guns taken by President Obama threaten Second Amendment rights, the actions will actually strengthen lawful gun use and by extension Second Amendment rights.

Obama’s actions put teeth into current gun law and bolster the resources for more rigorous enforcement. They also create a fairer playing field for gun commerce.

More and more people see unquestioning allegiance to lax gun-law enforcement as a significant threat to public safety. By strengthening enforcement, Obama will reinforce the rule of law and the idea that Americans can have firearms if they obey the laws on possessing firearms that have been in place for decades.

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The executive action adds 230 FBI analysts to the ranks of those who do gun background checks, an increase of 50 percent. The current background check law is a convoluted reverse permission system, allowing a gun sale to go through if a background check cannot be completed in 3 days. The gun is then issued, no questions asked.

The new rules for stepped up 24-hour processing of background checks may have made a difference in the killing of the members of a congregation of a South Carolina church. The killer bought a gun because his background could not be determined after three days.

Other critics say Obama’s actions won’t stop mass shootings like those in Newtown, Connecticut, because the guns were purchased legally. So they’re right in one respect, but no one is saying the new rule will prevent those kind of killings. It’s a false premise. There are still hundreds of thousands of single and multiple victim killings that the new rules have a chance of preventing. To think otherwise is just beyond a reasonable assessment of the facts.

The executive action gives the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms another 200 investigators to do license checks on the increased number of people who will now fall under the definition of “gun dealer.”

The ATF even had trouble sanctioning rogue licensed dealers. The biggest gun seller in Washington state finally lost its license for a horrific record of failing to do background checks, losing track of some 2,400 guns in its possession and being on the list for guns most used in crimes. But it took the ATF 10 years to shut it down, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

The new rules will require more gun sellers obtain a license and conduct background checks.

The increase in enforcement does not require more congressional funding, and Obama said he would much prefer Congress act on these issues. But Congress has been moving slower than ever as it become more a political battleground than a place to solve the country’s problems.

The executive actions are a step in the right direction. A large majority of Americans, including gun owners, support background checks for gun buyers. These reasonable and warranted measures to strengthen our enforcement will improve public safety and protect the integrity of the Second Amendment.

Reprinted with permission.

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