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This article in Business Insider says in its headline: “Bill Gates Is Going Up Against The NRA”:

Bill Gates is opening up his considerable piggy bank in Silicon Valley’s fight against the National Rifle Association. The Microsoft billionaire donated $1 million to Initiative 594, which will require criminal background checks for firearm sales.

— Gregory Ferenstein

In this country, you need to pass criminal background check for many government service and private industry jobs. So what’s wrong with passing a criminal background check when you want to buy a weapon?

I just don’t get this. The NRA would garner much more credibility with me if its arguments made sense. This one, as well as the one that argues against a national registry of gun owners, just makes no sense to me.

We have a national registry for social security payers and recipients. We have one for taxpayers. We have one for the military. We have three (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) for credit records. We have one for our baby pictures (Facebook). You can’t drive an automobile without having it registered with the state.

What again is the problem with a gun registry?

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When I listen to the NRA’s Wayne Lapierre, he always talks about gun owners being law-abiding citizens, and they should not be bothered with background checks or other pesky restrictions like magazines in assault rifles that can only have 10 rounds at a time.

I know lots of gun owners, and they are all law-abiding citizens.

However, look at the statistics just quoted by John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado:

Background checks in Colorado stopped 38 people from buying guns who were convicted of homicides, 600 burglars, 1300 who had committed felonious assaults. In addition 400 had existing restraining orders and were stopped, 236 showed up to pick up their guns but were arrested because of existing warrants for violent felonies.

Not all people seeking to buy guns are law-abiding citizens, and some get stopped. If the right one had gotten stopped in Connecticut, just maybe 20 children in Newtown would be eating their breakfast cereals before going to school this morning.

About 30,000 people die from guns every year in the United States. 18,000 of those may be law-abiding but somehow so depressed, so torn down, that they use their guns to take their own lives.

The remaining 12,000 die from being shot by others. Some of those others are law-abiding citizens who do things like show off their guns at a party, leave them on the bed and have their 4-year-olds pick them up and shoot somebody. But others are plain murderers, who kill for money, drugs, organized crime, sex, or simply in rage while in a domestic dispute.

The 30,000 deaths I just listed are only the deaths. These numbers do not include the near misses, the light and serious injuries, and the debilitating and maiming injuries that occur due to gun violence every day.

The inconvenience of background checks is a very small price to pay for some innocent lives saved. I am law-abiding and I don’t mind. COME AND CHECK MY BACKGROUND!

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