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Well, yes, they’re perfectly legal. That’s my point. They shouldn’t be perfectly legal for someone like the Orlando shooter, who was a budding terrorist twice investigated by the FBI. Republicans only weeks ago defeated a bill to prohibit suspected terrorists on the no-fly terrorism watch list from buying firearms in the U.S. Who wouldn’t want that? The NRA, for one, and its more rabid supporters. The NRA paid $27 million in total to the Republican senators who voted against that bill — who voted, in other words, to let suspected terrorists continue to purchase any firearm of their choice. Pretty sick, right?

This is my point about background checks. Currently anyone can buy a gun without a background check as long as they buy it from an individual or a dealer posing as an individual or at a gun show.

Your point about criminals not following laws is a favorite of the gun lobby. By that logic, why have any laws? Why not legalize murder since criminals can’t be stopped anyway? Because laws do deter some people, and they punish others with prison so they can’t continue ruining other people’s lives.

Common-sense gun laws work in every other Western democracy, why wouldn’t they work in the United States? We’re the only wealthy nation with this level of gun violence. Our rate of gun homicides is an order of magnitude, and in some cases two, higher than any other wealthy western nation. Why?Anyone can buy a gun in the U.S. This isn’t rocket science.

As those who study crime and and gun violence in our cities have found, even a very low obstacle to getting a gun (or to committing a crime) can significantly reduce the rate of occurrence. That’s because crimes are almost always born of opportunity. If the mentally ill, barely functioning teenage shooter who killed 20 first-graders at Shady Hook Elementary had been forced to come up with a detailed, risky plan to procure that assault-style rifle on the black market, plus the $30,000 it would cost when such laws are in place, those first-graders would be about to enter fifth grade. Instead he just used the assault rifle his mom had around the house for fun and sport.

Americans have no more mental illness than other countries, and we’re no more blood-thirsty (I don’t think), so we have all the data we need to proclaim that common-sense gun laws work precisely as they were designed to work. Look to the other Western nations for proof.

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