Close the loopholes

Your editorial, “Enforce existing rules on firearms,” (Sunday, April 21) attributes Congress’ (inaction) on guns to concern about infringing on Second Amendment rights. That motivation is plausible.

Another possible motivation is fear of punishment by voters and campaign supporters.

Yet, why are they not loved by the 90 percent of American voters who want to close the loopholes that let 40 percent of gun sales go without background checks? All lawmakers should know weak laws can be strengthened. They must also know if a state has tough gun laws, anyone can get guns in another state with weak laws.

The motto “that government is best which governs least” must not be an excuse to trump public safety and the will of the majority. (President Abraham) Lincoln wrote, “no law is stronger that is the public sentiment where it is to be enforced.”

I sense the great majority of the American electorate want gun laws that, without loopholes, keep guns away from criminals and others with dangerous minds. If many letters and other efforts do not convince legislators to act now, many voters will at some later date.

So, patience is called for, as in the case of Australia, a country much like ours. Over 18 years, the Australians witnessed 13 mass shootings. In 1996, its legislature barred citizens from owning automatic and semi-automatic firearms, including pump-action rifles and pump-action shotguns. Since then, Australians have not seen a mass shooting, and other gun crimes have decreased, too.

George Reid Marsh