Law enforcement officials say Bedell, a man with a history of severe psychiatric problems, had been sent a letter by California authorities Jan. 10 telling him he was prohibited from buying a gun because of his mental history.
Less than three weeks later, Bedell bought a 9 mm Ruger at a Las Vegas gun show by exploiting one of the largest loopholes in the nation’s gun control laws: While federal law requires licensed gun dealers to perform background checks on all prospective gun buyers, unlicensed sellers — like those who often set up shop at roaming gun shows — are exempt. The background checks are designed to prevent sales to those legally ineligible to own guns, including felons, illegal immigrants and, like Bedell, the severely mentally ill.
Several bills floating around Congress would subject unlicensed vendors to the same background check rules as licensed sellers. Considering the political environment on Capitol Hill in recent years, however, even sponsors of those proposals concede that they’ve got no chance of passing anytime soon.
"One of the largest loopholes" indeed. When we first discussed Bedell, the pro-gun crowd was quick to point out that he came from California. Now it turns out he picked up at least one of his guns in Vegas. But still, you can be sure, the gun rights folks will insist that either there's no such thing as a "gun show loophole" or that the common expression is not exactly right because it should be called the "private sale loophole" or something like that. Some will refuse outright as they refuse to consider any gun laws for fear of the slippery slope. If they do acquiesce to the obvious, it's usually with a request for compromise, if we give that up what do we get in return?
I say what you get is the satisfaction of doing the right thing, period. How we do it is another discussion. Whether the NICS gets opened up or each buyer has to go to an FFL guy for a document, these are just details. The point is we cannot accept this flagrant violation of common sense any longer.
Of course, in Virginia, they don't see it that way.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.