The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 18, 2013

Looming debate on gun control need not be bitter

Enid News & Eagle

— President Barack Obama’s sweeping gun-control package faces a tough fight in Congress.

And, it should.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms. So, any measures that would even appear to infringe on that right must be looked at closely.

However, what we don’t need is another Republican vs. Democrat battle, where the arguments for and against are strictly partisan. We need a common-sense approach and discussion to this topic, as we do all issues.

Obama’s $500 million proposal would ban military-style assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and require background checks for all gun sales.

Opposition already has lined up against the president’s plan, from the National Rifle Association, Republicans in Congress and just plain citizens.

It’s pretty unlikely the assault weapons ban and limits on magazines will pass Congress. What looks to have a better chance of passing is the call for background checks on all gun sales.

Right now, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says 40 percent of gun sales are conducted with no criminal background checks, such as in some instances at gun shows or by private sellers over the Internet or through classified ads.

According to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, 84 percent of Americans back broader background checks. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws, the same poll showed, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style weapons.

We can’t go along with something that restricts the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, but we don’t see an issue with having stronger background checks. That would close a loophole that could keep weapons out of the hands of someone who shouldn’t legally have them. Just as importantly, it wouldn’t keep someone from owning a weapon he or she is legally allowed to own.