In an otherwise excellent New York Times story yesterday on the changing politics of guns in the state of Colorado, we find, naturally, the foremost gun
nut rights advocate in the Colorado General Assembly, Sen. Greg Brophy. While Brophy commenting on a story about guns in Colorado is a pretty routine occurrence, we were taken aback by the…for lack of a better word, and excuse us, but the bullshit that Sen. Brophy either believes or repeats uncritically.
State Senator Greg Brophy, a Republican, said the attention from outside groups would make Colorado “ground zero for gun control in the United States.”
Republican supporters of gun rights have bristled at the push for tighter gun laws. One of the first bills introduced in the legislature would allow teachers with concealed-weapons permits to carry guns inside their classrooms (with a school district’s permission). Mr. Brophy was one who recoiled at the universal background checks, saying the only way to enforce such a system would be to require all gun owners to register their firearms. [Pols emphasis]
“That is the most onerous regulation ever conceived of in this country outside the outright confiscation of firearms,” he said. “Even if I want to loan a shotgun to my nephew to take out pheasant hunting, I can’t do that. I don’t think they realize here in Colorado just how dangerous that proposal is to liberty.”
Whether or not you support the idea, as endorsed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in his State of the State address last week, of requiring a background check for most firearms transfers including private transactions, there is no question that Sen. Brophy is irresponsibly exaggerating the issue. For one thing, the bill for universal background checks hasn’t even dropped yet. Brophy’s use of a hypothetical “nephew” in his example cleverly misdirects from the fact that these laws in other states do contain exemptions for immediate family members. If Sen. Brophy wants nephews included in that exemption, he can propose that as a lawmaker, can’t he?
More puzzling is Brophy’s sweeping claim that “the only way to enforce” universal background checks would be to “require all gun owners to register their firearms.” We really don’t know what he means by this. It’s possible that Brophy is fearful of a provision to require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms, but that’s certainly not the same thing as requiring all guns to be registered–and again, he hasn’t even seen the bill yet to know what’s in it. Moreover, considering the copiously-documented chain of custody required by law for such things as cold medicine today, or (need we even say it) medical marijuana, we just don’t see how the voting public is going to consider an obligation to report a stolen firearm some kind of onerous burden.
In the end, opposition to requiring a background check for every firearm sale boils down to preserving loopholes–loopholes by which an individual who even Sen. Brophy must admit should not have a gun might be able to obtain one. More so than proposals to ban various types of guns or gun parts, opposition to background checks makes no political sense to us.
But it occurs to us that we say this quite often about Sen. Brophy.