Sean Linnane: NRA NEWS: BACKGROUND CHECKS.
There is a proposal in the United States to extend background checks so that everyone selling a gun - not just a licensed dealer as at present - must first check out their buyer. It sounds innocuous, yes? Who could possibly disapprove? After all, it's not in the interests of law-abiding gun owners for more criminals to have guns. But here's the point. Seventy-six thousand background checks last year detected criminals trying to buy guns. Yet the police prosecuted only thirteen. If there are no consequences when a background check detects a crime, what exactly is the point of having more checks?
This illustrates a key problem with modern politicians - and not just in the USA. They prefer the publicity value of being seen to make new laws to the hard slog of making current ones work. They would rather appear to do something than - well - actually do something. Which is why we have thousands of laws on the books that criminalise virtually everyone, while those committing the handful of crimes that actually matter generally go about their business undisturbed.
If the money spent on debating, promoting and implementing this new law were given instead to the police to be used for enforcement, how many bad guys would be off the streets? Why doesn't that count as "doing something" any more?