Burlington, VT gun owner and concealed-carry and self-defense advocate, Dave Larson, shares his views on why he supports efforts to pass criminal background checks on all gun sales.
Gun owners come from all walks of life and have differing viewpoints on how to stop the senseless violence taking the lives of so many innocents including young children. I hope we can all agree that the current system is not preventing prohibited persons from obtaining these deadly weapons and using them to harm others.
As a personal protection oriented concealed handgun carrier for over 30 years I have looked in detail at the Gun Sense Vermont mission and I can honestly say none of their focus will in any way inhibit your rights as a firearm owner. How many of you have gone into a gun store and purchased a new or used firearm? You are required by Federal Law to fill out a Form 4473 and pass a Universal Background Check (NICS) in order to proceed with the purchase. All we are saying is let's extend that requirement to include all private sales, and work toward improving mental health reporting into the NICS system. There are more licensed FFL dealers than there are post offices in the state of Vermont so it is no inconvenience for the seller and buyer to meet at an FFL instead of a parking lot. If a purchaser unable to pass a NICS check necessary to purchase a firearm from a dealer they have no legal right to buy one privately. The 4473 FFL Transfer also protects the seller and purchaser from criminal charges in the event the firearm turns out to be stolen or used in a crime. The FFL in effect takes responsibility for the firearm from that point forward, and if the firearm you sold is used in a crime the BATFE trace back to the dealer will exonerate the seller. Same thing if you are the buyer - the traceback will look at who sold the firearm to the dealer - not the buyer.
Every time a gun is used to commit mayhem by a prohibited person the backlash prompts calls for strict gun controls like eliminating concealed carry, banning certain "bad" firearms, or attempts at local regulation. If closing the private sale loophole prevents one senseless death it is well worth it. There are many gun owners in support of a universal background check for all purchases, and our voices need to be heard. We certainly do not want NY, NJ or MA style laws in Vermont banning concealed carry for all but the elite, or allowing a police chief with his/her personal views to decide if we are worthy of purchasing a gun. We all want to live in a safe state where violent criminals or persons with mental disability cannot circumvent the system utilizing a loophole. Please support Gun Sense Vermont and common sense regulation that will help keep our children safe and protect our rights.