Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee reports on the passage this week of a gun safety bill introduced in direct response to the mass shooting in Boulder in March that killed 10 people–legislation that would restrict gun purchases to individuals who commit a range of violent misdemeanor offenses, as well as closing what’s become known as the “Charleston loophole” allowing gun sales to proceed if a background check drags on beyond a certain period of time:
If it becomes law, the bill would prevent people from buying a firearm for five years after being convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, including some crimes of child abuse, sexual assault, cruelty to animals, and violating a protection order.
The man arrested for the shooting in Boulder pled guilty to a violent misdemeanor for punching a high school classmate in 2017. Investigators say he passed a background check in order to buy his gun.
“Persons convicted of violent misdemeanors are more likely to be arrested for violent crimes in the future. Communities should not be forced to tolerate risks like this, as the people of Boulder now know too well,” said Peter Fog with Colorado Faith Communities United To End Gun Violence.
The argument against the bill expressed in this story, coming from gun activist Lesley Hollywood, doesn’t seem to have much to do with the bill:
“The more we see ineffective gun control being passed that clearly does not understand current gun law or guns, the more we know this will continue,” said Hollywood.
Again, this is legislation that would disallow gun purchases for specific violent misdemeanor crimes. In addition to the research cited above that violent misdemeanors point to a likelihood of greater violence, the specific circumstances of the Boulder shooter suggest that this restriction would have prevented the shooter from purchasing the semiautomatic assault rifle he then used to kill ten people. The “Charleston loophole” refers the means by which the shooter in the 2015 mass shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina Black church obtained his gun when he would otherwise have been prohibited.
With all of this in mind, our question is very simple: how would this specific piece of legislation be “ineffective,” and in what way does it indicate its proponents do not “understand current gun law or guns?” We look at this legislation and see quantifiable problems being addressed, while the opposition arguments consist of generalizations that don’t seem to apply to the actual bill.
Whoever would like to “gunsplain” this one for us has the floor.