EDITORIAL: Expand background checks to limit violence

2013-04-04T00:00:00Z 2013-04-06T23:28:03Z EDITORIAL: Expand background checks to limit violence nwitimes.com
April 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

An Indiana House committee on Tuesday approved a plan that would require each of the state's public schools to have an employee packing heat on the premises during school hours. Those legislators' response to the problem of guns in schools is to require guns in schools. Seriously.

That employee could be a teacher or principal, not necessarily an officer patrolling the halls, under Senate Bill 1. Training would be required, of course.

Even the National Rifle Association, which talked of armed security in schools, spoke of a voluntary program, not a mandatory one.

The response to school violence shouldn't be more guns, but sensible controls like background checks for gun purchases.

There are some people too unstable to own guns, and we need to limit their access to them.

Retail stores have to conduct background checks on firearms purchasers, but that's not the case with many transactions between individuals. Those transactions don't even have to be recorded, let alone be subject to background checks.

We don't agree with everything President Barack Obama says, but his support of expanding background checks makes sense. Obama noted that an average of 20 Americans a day die of a gunshot wound. Northwest Indiana and the south suburbs have, unfortunately, contributed to that death toll.

Obama wanted to remind the nation that in the 100 days or so since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that gripped the nation's attention, nothing has been solved.

Expanding background checks to include private sales by anyone with a firearms dealer's license would help.  

There are other sensible controls as well, like requiring gun owners to report the transfer or theft of a firearm. That would address straw purchases that put guns in the hands of criminals, and it would help police track down owners of guns involved in the commission of crimes.

Putting guns in all schools is a shoot-from-the-hip response to the Newtown, Conn., tragedy and not the reasoned response American schoolchildren and teachers need. Focus on background checks instead.

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