Opinion

FEEDBACK: Background checks for gun sales; big hand for lawmakers

Author: Colorado Politics - February 22, 2018 - Updated: February 22, 2018

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Gun violence: Thoughts and prayers won’t cut it

Of all the arguments made against gun safety proposals, far and away the most ridiculous is the “why have laws at all” argument. “But criminals won’t follow the law! It won’t make any difference!”

We don’t have laws for criminals. We have laws for the rest of us, so we can tell the difference and punish those who break them. Should we eliminate laws against rape? Against robbery? People still drive drunk, but the Colorado legislature passed a felony drunk-driving law with severe penalties last year. Should we not have bothered?

No gun-safety law is perfect or works in isolation. Countries that don’t have the level of gun violence the U.S. does have a multifaceted approach, including licensing, registration, safety training, storage requirements and background checks. And yes, they limit the types of weapons civilians can own. Australia passed strict gun regulations in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre. They haven’t had a mass shooting since.

In Colorado, according to the Pueblo  Chieftain, “Mandatory background checks stopped 7,227 would-be gun buyers in Colorado last year for reasons that ranged from the 31 people who had homicide records to the more than 1,300 people either arrested or convicted of assault. Another 252 actually had active warrants for their arrest when they attempted to buy guns.”

So, apparently criminals do follow the law after all. And the vast majority of the public agrees — support for universal background checks is itself almost universal, 97 to 2 percent, in a new Quinnipiac poll.

It’s time for Congress to act, to follow Colorado’s lead, and to enact national, universal background checks for gun purchases. Thoughts and prayers won’t cut it.

Laura K. Chapin
Lakewood

 

A big hand for lawmakers’ dedicated service

I would like to give a compliment to our Colorado legislators.  Over my almost 50 years in Colorado, I have had the opportunity to be involved with state legislators in almost every aspect of their job.  Even to the point of following legislators around for a day on occasion.  You should be proud that you have mostly elected a group of hard-working and concerned people. Their days are filled with planning, meetings, hearings, visiting constituents, attending community meeting and replying to our calls, letters and emails. A lot of this goes on even when they are not in session.

A tremendous amount of strategy and work goes into getting a bill through the legislature, especially if it is a meaningful piece of legislation. Granted, not all legislation is meaningful; and some is, quite frankly, just for show.

Most of these men and women leave money on the table in “real-life” to accept the $30,000 or so that they receive in compensation. Usually we get more than our money’s worth.  Those reading this are probably already knowledgeable, so pass the word on to the others.

William F. Hineser, DPM
Arvada

 


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Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.