4-26 Letters to the Editor

April 26, 2013 

Dear Editor:

Last week, minimal efforts for gun regulation were completely defeated in the Senate. Similar attempts in Missouri are going nowhere. The NRA has been very successful with its laissez-faire gun agenda. It has made all efforts to establish reasonable federal and state gun control legislation utterly futile

CNN’s investigative reporters recently visited gun shows in Georgia and Alabama, buying guns to test the effectiveness of existing laws.

A TV report last week showed reporters buying a couple of Glock pistols, and an AR 15 Bushmaster rifle like the one used at Sandy Hook. They were able to buy the guns with no questions or identification. The seller of one of the Glocks, asked where it came from, told that he bought it the day before from a police officer. End of questions.

Gun control efforts in recent years have addressed symptoms rather than underlying causes. The NRA says that ‘it’s not the gun’ and stresses background checks to control criminals or unqualified buyers. This is an exercise in futility, because criminals have little difficulty in securing a gun by theft or illegal purchase. A huge unregulated gun inventory is readily available in homes, on the street, or for straw purchase at gun shows. Background checks can be useful deterrents. However, without a database to determine a gun’s source, law officials are severely handicapped in meaningful enforcement.

Fifty years ago in Missouri, vehicle title records were minimal. Lebanon had become the Detroit of the used vehicle industry, with hundreds of dealers located there. Odometers could be spun back in a few minutes for $10. A car with no title could be titled in a few days. Titles with liens or legal problems could easily be washed with a clean Missouri title.

Attempts by the Missouri Automobile Dealers Assn. to correct the situation were difficult, but persistence ultimately paid off. Missouri has become an exemplary model for motor vehicle title procedures. A stolen, previously salvaged, or otherwise seriously flawed vehicle has little value in Missouri except as junk or sale at a greatly reduced price.

Registration at gun shows would make illegal weapons virtually unsellable. People could buy with confidence. Gun control could be overseen by a Gun Registration Commission, with serial numbers recorded like vehicles. By exempting guns kept at home, Second Amendment rights would be protected. Hunting licenses and carry permits could require inclusion of gun registry numbers. Voluntary federal buyback programs could remove unwanted guns from circulation.

Police could make a quick computer check of gun registration, and achieve compliance if necessary. Recovered stolen guns could be returned quickly to legal owners. Coupled with background checks, eliminating gun anonymity would provide effective controls.

During the past three years, Raymore and Cass County citizens have suffered from officials elected on misguided gun issues. Politicians led by the NRA have made a fiasco of Congress and Missouri’s government. I urge citizens of Cass County to discuss gun registration with our legislators. Let’s restore common sense to our government.

Ed Fleetwood


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