Where are the Background Checks for Gun Buyers?

In light of the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, neither of the presidential candidates have come out to speak about gun control in this country.  When Congresswoman Giffords was shot in Tucson, Arizona a year and a half ago, President Obama talked about the need for a dialogue on guns but so far, we have not had it, says Brad Bannon, democratic consultant at The Bannon Communications Research in Washington, D.C.  

Bannon says that Obama made a nice speech about the victims but really hasn't spoken of gun controlSource: www.nytimes.com much in his term as President and this is the time because of the tragedy.  One would like to think that from a tragedy something good happens.  The good in this case could be Obama coming out and saying we need to do something about gun control and that it's crazy we have people running around this country with automatic weapons who are capable of killing large groups of people in a short amount of time, Bannon says.

Agreeing that the problem isn't with the weapon itself but with the lack of background checks, Bannon reminds us that with the shooting in Tucson, the shooter walked into a store, put cash down on the counter and walked out with an automatic rifle with no background check.  If they did do a background check, they would have found out the man had a history of mental illness.  There is no way he should have been allowed to buy one but since there is no background check in Arizona, he walked out with a gun and "that's crazy," says Bannon.

Bannon says that most people would agree, at a minimum, we need to have stronger background checks.  Most states don't have them at all and a reasonable middle place would be to agree on background checks.  However,the NRA refuses to budge on the issue and they won't compromise on anything at all that limits the availability of weapons, even though it's common sense that you check the background on people before you sell them an automatic weapon, Bannon adds.  "The NRA always cites the second ammendment which is fine but the second ammendment is not a license to kill," Bannon says.

Bannon believes there needs to be a national screening process.  While some states on the east coast and west coast have strict background check laws, to include a waiting period to purchase weapons, Bannon notes that "if you're crazy enough, there are all sorts of ways to kill people but we shouldn't be making it easier for them to do it."

Read Brad Bannon's opinion article in U.S. News and World Report, here. 

Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm.  More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com.  This video commentary was hosted byThe Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content.