Congress afraid of the NRA
Despite the fact that 90 percent of Americans want expanded background checks on gun sales, our representative government voted no [“Senators refuse to tighten gun laws,” page one, April 18].
Congress is supposed to be doing the will of the people. On this bill, they failed. Why? Because members were afraid the National Rifle Association (NRA) would torpedo their re-election campaigns.
The NRA claimed expanded background checks “would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens.” It would infringe on the rights of gun owners to sell their weapons to friends and neighbors, they warned.
It would only be a crime if they were selling their firearms without the requisite background check. And it would only infringe on gun owners’ abilities to sell their guns if they were trying to sell them to felons or the mentally ill.
It should not be a right to sell dangerous weapons to absolutely anyone with cash. People who find this as crazy as I do should call their senators and tell them so. The people voted them into office. The people can vote them out.
Christa Quackenbush, Shoreline
What will it take?
May the Senate’s acute failure to extend gun-purchase background checks be the (metaphoric) call to arms America needs to oust those who opposed it, and from this day on get the support we need to legislatively prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership and use [“Senators refuse to tighten gun laws,” page one, April 18].
Far fewer of us board a plane (than own a gun) with the intent to disrupt a flight or harm fellow passengers. But we all go through the delays, inconvenience, frustration, tediousness and invasion of our personal privacy that is mandated and reasonable to prevent and minimize the chances of intentional-airplane hijacking or explosions.
Yet, we are bombarded daily with intentional or reckless-firearm fatalities and maimings.
There is no question that Boston and all other major city-marathon security measures will be much more stringent from now on.
But even having one of their own, Gabby Gifford’s, life permanently altered by someone who may not have passed a background check, isn’t enough to shame or incentivize senators who hide behind the NRA’s “ranking system.”
And seeing the faces and hearing the very rational requests by the Newtown families present before Congress during the vote wasn’t enough. What will it take?
Michael B. Goldenkranz, Seattle