Opinion: The gun reform deal reached by a bipartisan group of senators is not nearly enough, but it is, apparently, the best that we can hope for.
By Laurie Roberts |Arizona Republic
There are cheers and high fives across the land as it appears that our leaders in Washington at long, long, long last may finally be ready to do something about gun violence in America.
The Senate bipartisan plan announced on Sunday would be the most significant response in a quarter century, assuming Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, Mark Kelly and 18 of their fellow senators can hold it together.
It’s not nearly enough but it is, apparently, the best that we can hope for until and unless we devote our prayers – and votes – to candidates at both the state and federal level who will make sensible gun reform a priority.
The compromise deal announced on Sunday calls for major new spending on mental health and school security. That’s a welcome and long-overdue start.
We have only a few crumb actions on guns
As for guns, there is no plan to bar teenagers from buying assault-style rifles yet 75% of Americans believe the minimum age to buy an AR-15-style rifle should be 21. There is no plan to outlaw high-capacity gun magazines that are designed to up the body count yet 64% of voters say that magazines holding more than 10 rounds should be banned.
There’s no provision for universal background checks that are supported by an astounding 88% of Americans.
There is at least a small attempt to keep a few o out of the hands of the sort of people who slaughter grocery shoppers and country music fans. And fourth graders.
It’s not half a loaf. Heck, it’s not even the crusts. More like a few crumbs.
Another view:Gun deal makes real progress. Senate should pass it quickly
And likely even less if you live in a Republican-run state like Arizona.
The gun portion of the plan wouldn’t raise the age limit to buy an AR-15 to 21 – the minimum age to buy a handgun. But at least it would require a check of juvenile and mental health records before an 18-, 19- or 20-year-old could walk into a gun store and buy an assault-style rifle.
And it would close the “boyfriend loophole,” barring someone convicted of domestic violence against a dating partner from owning a gun.
Red-flag laws only work if they have this
But it’s the red-flag proposal that is being hailed as the most significant part of the deal. The plan calls for sending significant funds to states that create red-flag laws, allowing judges to temporarily take guns away from people considered a danger to themselves or others.
The problem is a red-flag law without universal background checks has the roar of a paper tiger.
Roberts:Ducey’s ‘red flag’ law useless without universal background checks
The Senate’s bipartisan proposal, which hasn’t yet been written, calls for a clarification of who must register as a federally licensed firearm dealer and thus conduct background checks on prospective buyers. If that doesn’t include anyone outside of family, then it’s a gaping loophole that America’s next deranged killer can saunter right on through.
With or without universal checks, a red flag is a no-go with the Republican-dominated Arizona Legislature. At least, it has been.