In an era in which pro-gun advocates have been racking up a string of victories, Doug Pettit is trying to hit the brakes. The Oregon police chief, who serves as the legislative chairman for the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, is one of the most vocal proponents of expanding background checks for gun buyers.Pettit and his group are part of a national push by the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, which hopes to convince federal lawmakers to mandate background checks on people who purchase guns at gun shows, flea markets and other venues that don’t involve licensed gun dealers.How big a deal is that? The partnership says that about 40 percent of gun purchases fall outside background check requirements. So when you hear about record-breaking handgun purchases -- which are calculated using data from background checks -- you can calculate the actual number of new guns on the street by increasing the reported number by two-thirds.Not only that, those who do go through background checks can slide through the cracks. Take Seung Hui Cho, who in 2007 killed 32 people at Virginia Tech. If state authorities there had submitted Cho’s mental health records to the background check system like they should have, Cho never would have passed the two background checks that paved the way for the massacre. Virginia now has one of the best compliance records in the nation, according to a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Pettit’s group is pushing for other states to follow suit.Pettit is a hunter, a gun hobbyist, and he carries a gun on the job. But his push for what he considers reasonable gun regulations increases his visibility, and he’s being painted by some in the pro-gun crowd as an anti-gun zealot.“I’m not very well-liked out there,” he says.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Oregon Police Chief Doug Pettit - Anti-Gun Zealot or Reasonable Gun Owner
The Cap Times reports