2-202 Background Check for Gun Sales
In a bill passed in the Youth In Government senate today, all gun transfers, not just those involving a licensed dispensary, are intended to be required to perform background checks on the buyer before the final transaction is made. The bill was an extension of a previous law to cover private gun sales, which would affect how guns are sold at gun shows and between two individuals. Requiring background checks for all gun sales instead of only specific ones was described repeatedly as a step forward for gun safety by the senators who argued in affirmation of the bill. But the bill, proposed by senator Samual Mitchell, did not pass easy. The vote ended in fifteen senators for, fourteen senators against, and one senator abstaining, with another senator absent from the voting session entirely.
Mitchell argued vehemently for the bill in his opening speech, stating that it would prevent many unqualified individuals from acquiring guns they should not have. He says that the bill would cut down on homicide and suicide rates by a good margin. Another argument Mitchell made for the bill during his opening speech was that this bill would cut down on black market sales not only inside Colorado itself, but also across borders into neighboring states. While opponents to the bill brought up holes in the bill, it’s proponents were of the conviction that those issues, such as discrimination against Black and Hispanic Americans in background checks and guns sold over the internet, should be addressed by different bills.
Those were not the only concerns voiced by the opposition, however. One senator expressed concern that a faulty background check could cause a false sense of safety and security, while another pointed out that a false positive on a criminal record could prevent someone with no reason to be denied a gun from getting one. Many were concerned about privacy and other rights violations. There was also discussion of people buying guns for other people who couldn’t, a process known as “Straw buying”.
In responses to these concerns, a senator speaking for the bill stated, “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fix a problem. It means we should fix two problems.” Skeptics of the bill were still not convinced, expressing concern that the NICS program might become overwhelmed by background checks, or over the fact that it is apparently missing over seven million peoples’ records nationally.
Gun control in the United States is not a new debate, and with sixteen of the top fourty-nine mass shootings in the world having occurred on US soil. Including attacks in countries that have had flat out massacres and/or are or have been active war zones, none of the senators denied that something had to be done. The main debate on the floor was not “Should more regulations be placed on guns?” but “Is this enough to be it’s own bill?”. The debating senators seemed dead even when the vote was called after three rounds of proposing and opposing speeches.
Evidently, that wasn’t the case, and the bill had enough votes to scrape by for just enough of the senators to pass the senate. And with it passing in the house chamber as well, it became a YIG law.
By: Aminda Capp