While it’s somewhat reassuring to see a bipartisan group of senators cobble together new legislation that would strengthen background checks, it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s all more gesture than substance.
Want to buy a gun without worrying about background checks at all?
Don’t go to your local gun store. Those folks follow the rules.
In fact, some of the most notable among them — think Don of “Don’s Guns” — will tell you that the real problem isn’t the rules, it’s the fact that some folks selling guns don’t have any rules at all.
So, where do you go if you want to buy a gun without worrying about background checks at all?
The mens’ room at a gun show.
That’s where a good chunk of these transactions take place.
They’re also a problem for the hundreds of legitimate gun dealers across America who play by the rules — grumbling along the way as you might expect — only to find themselves competing with amateur, private sale deals that simultaneously undercut their business and make the country less safe.
On the surface, the “gun show loophole” ought to be the easiest one to close. But that hasn’t proved to be the case.
Instead, it seems to live on, despite any effort to bring about a sensible discussion of America’s gun economy.