As those of you who are my regular readers know, I am a strong defender of gun rights. I am extremely disinclined to compromise with the anti-gun people because some of them, by their own admission, would use any compromise (say, an assault weapons ban) as a step toward a total ban and because rights aren't up for debate.
That being said, rights have responsibilities and in the case of firearms, which make it far more easier to kill people than, say, an ax or a baseball bat, this is particularly important. Much of the gun crime in this country is the result of people not taking their responsibilities seriously. A major problem is "straw purchasing" in which someone who does not have a criminal record
So here's a bill that would drastically increase the penalties for straw purchasing at the federal level--up to 20 years. It's H.R. 452, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-sponsored by 109 others, and endorsed by the NAACP, which recognizes straw buyers as the ones providing the guns to hooligans ravaging urban communities. No legitimate rights are being targeted--in fact, buying guns as gifts for people allowed to possess arms is explicitly permitted.
However, as one might expect with a sensible solution to a problem, it doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. It's been in committee since Feb. 4 and doesn't look like it's coming out anytime soon.
If those of us who believe in protecting the right of the individual to bear arms and at the same time want to keep those who abuse their rights from harming others want this measure to pass, it's time to do something about this. For a long time I've been a member of the site Congress.org, which allows people to write to their elected officials with just one click. I just went back there and I can't find the write-the-elected-officials feature (and the "help" function doesn't seem to work), but there are other ways to contact your Congressmen (or women).
Let's do something constructive.