June 19, 2013

Greg Kesich: Killing background check measures protects illegal sales

It doesn't matter if the majority supports something if the minority has more passion.

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Credit the National Rifle Association with framing the issue in its favor. Requiring background checks in all sales, not just some, is not a common-sense reform that could keep guns out of the wrong hands, they say, but the first step in a war against gun ownership. Gun owners, they tell us, are a bulwark against tyranny, and any impediment to keeping and bearing (and buying and selling) guns is a vote for oppression.

The argument doesn't make a lot of sense, but the strength of the argument isn't what usually carries the day.

These guys won because they cared more. It wasn't lobbyists testifying at hearings, it was individual members of groups like the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine calling and writing their legislators to let them know that this issue matters more to them than anything else and making the lawmakers believe it. There is little political cost for politicians who don't deliver on gun control, but no one wants to find out what happens to the ones who fail the gun lobby.

And until that passion gap closes, nothing will change.


Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at 791-6481 or at gkesich@pressherald.com


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