News Column

Background Checks for Guns Draw Mixed Reaction

April 12, 2013

Central Iowa gun dealers say a U.S. Senate compromise announced this week that would expand background checks for gun purchasers won't make a difference for people buying and selling guns legally.

The Senate announced the compromise Wednesday to expand background checks for people buying guns at gun shows and over the Internet. The proposal does not include sales between private citizens or family members.

Currently non-dealers can sell their stock through gun shows without performing background checks on buyers. Dave McFarland, a manager with Jacobson's Gun Center in Story City, was dubious about whether the law would do any good, but said it may address unlicensed dealers who sell guns and gun shows becoming a place where two individuals could sell guns to each other.

"I think that's the loophole Congress is looking at," McFarland said.

Local gun dealers say the law already prohibits the online sale of guns between two individuals that results in a firearm being shipped directly to the buyer.

"Firearms can not be shipped to an individual. They can be shipped to a dealer," McFarland said.

For a fee, both Jacobson's and Darrell's Guns in State Center process online sales, including background checks, through their shops.

Marilyn Shoppe, a manger with Darrell's Guns, said for such a law to be effective, the penalties must be stiff and apply to private sales between individuals.

Shoppe said she opposes expanded gun control legislation that would ban assault weapons or limit the size of ammunition magazines, two other proposals before Congress.

"We don't need any more gun control, we need people control -- put the cuckoos behind bars and keep them there," Shoppe said.

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, said he was encouraged that the Senate bill puts "greater checks in place for those that shouldn't have firearms" but that he was unsure how the measure would be received in the Republican-controlled House.

Braley added that "inaction is not an option" on gun control and that "this country can not afford another gun-violence tragedy to motivate Congress to do its job."

The staff of Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, did not respond to an interview request from the Tribune.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, was critical of the compromise, particularly a provision that would require a gun owner to notify law enforcement and the state's attorney general within 24 hours of their gun being stolen.

"Who would pay for the additional law enforcement personnel who would take those calls?" Grassley said. "What would a citizen's legal obligation be if the gun were misplaced rather than lost? What would determine when the loss occurred that started the 24 hour period?

"This new offense criminalizes inaction. That is a grave threat to freedom."


(c)2013 the Ames Tribune, Iowa

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: Copyright Ames Tribune (IA) 2013

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