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Background checks debated after latest shooting

by Harvest Prude
Posted 9/04/19, 11:19 am

The gunman in a West Texas shooting spree avoided a background check by buying his weapon privately. Authorities said Seth Ator, who died in a shootout with police Saturday, had previously failed a background check and would have been flagged as a “prohibited person” because of a mental illness diagnosis. Ator killed seven people and wounded 23 during an angry rampage after his employer fired him from his job.

What are the rules on background checks? Sellers may not transfer a firearm to someone they know is barred from possessing one. But some states do not require sellers to ask or to do a background check. Democrats in Congress have renewed calls for requiring universal background checks for gun purchases. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday he would bring gun control legislation to the floor only with President Donald Trump’s support. Congress reconvenes on Monday.

Dig deeper: Read my report in The Stew about lawmakers’ struggle to find consensus on gun control legislation.

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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 09/05/2019 03:00 am

    If a background check was required for any gun purchase, whether from a gun dealer, neighbor, brother-in-law, or stranger, possibly this killer would not have gotten his hands on the gun he used to kill and wound so many. Or he might have found someone to ignore the law and sell him a gun without the background check. Or he might have stolen a gun. We can not know. 

    I’ve been opposed to universal background checks for a long time. Now I’m starting to change my mind. 

    John Adams once wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    The Second Amendment, similarly, was written for a body of courageous, honorable, self-controlled, and patriotic men who would defend their Nation from tyranny. Watch the news day by day and ask yourselves, “does that kind of man still figure greatly in the affairs of our Nation?”  

    It seems to me that we are moving towards being a nation that needs a nanny government/Big Brother/tyrant, because so many of us no longer are capable of controlling ourselves. 

    Perhaps our Constitution, including the Second Amendment, has become outmoded and useless as we have lost our self-control, morality, and selflessness. 

  • not silent
    Posted: Thu, 09/05/2019 09:34 am

    I don't think our Constitution is the problem, though it is human and therefore flawed.  In fact, I suspect all World readers know the problem.  We also know the ultimate solution.  But we always get stopped by the human factor-i.e., free choice and the terrible consequences that can result.  Incidentally, MY free will gets in the way just as much as the free will of others.

    It may be that we need more government regulation, and I'm certainly not opposed to reasonable regulation with regards to firearms.  But we also need revival.  Perhaps we as believers need to gather together and spend time on our knees, pleading to God for his Spirit to work in our nation and in our world.  Though we must work together to come up with practical solutions for problems, the great revivals of the past came about by hours spent in prayer.  In addition to coming up with our own ideas, I think we need to get together corporately and offer humble prayers acknowledging our own sins-then seeking God and his will and waiting for him to reveal it.

    I'm not suggesting we just offer thoughts and prayers.  Action is clearly needed.  But I think we do need to pray before taking action so that we will know we are in God's will.

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Thu, 09/05/2019 12:10 pm

    The root of gun violence is sin. Individual and societal sin. Christians must step up to proclaim and live out a life-changing Gospel.

    But as matters stand now, I strongly urge very strong gun control. This would include strict national registration and periodic renewal of all guns, licensing of any who use guns, and strict penalties for flouting the law. AR-15 type guns would have much more stringent psychological regulations analagous to what commercial airlline pilots have, and strict measures to ensure against theft.
    Opponents will resist strongly, some perhaps violently. But half measures will not work. Hunters and farmers use guns (including me). But many of us drive motor vehicles and gladly accept strong licensing laws and other safety rules. Stricter enforcement of drunk driving laws has saved many lives. So have seat belts and padded vehicle interiors.  If we obey these strict laws, we are free to travel anywhere.
    Some who oppose strong gun laws say that the government might go rogue, or communists or Islamists will try to take over, and civilian-held guns will protect us. Personally, I would fear more self-appointed militia bands roaming my neighborhood.
    Half measures will not work and will be money down the rathole. Those who worship guns (and don't kid yourselves) are idolaters. The Bible everywhere shows that God is our protector and defender.