STL Today: Legislature should realize that gun background checks make sense

The heart of our nation breaks for those killed or injured in acts of gun violence at our schools, churches, concerts and homes. Meanwhile, people from across the political spectrum are ready to come together to pass meaningful reform that will help keep citizens safe, while respecting rights of gun owners.

A recent poll from Quinnipiac University, a nonpartisan and highly respected academic pollster, found that 97 percent of Americans support background checks for gun purchases. Another poll following the 2016 elections showed 95 percent of Americans supporting background checks for gun buyers.

Last week, the Missouri Senate was debating legislation requiring background checks for in-home care providers. This bill would make sure that if a person is coming into your home to care for an elderly relative or person with disabilities, that care provider would have to pass a background check. This Republican-sponsored legislation highlighted how a simple background check can help keep people safe.

That’s why I offered an amendment to require all firearm sales to include a background check. The amendment would not create any new government bureaucracy. Instead, it would use already existing firearms dealers to handle the background checks and sales. Unfortunately, despite the landslide public support for this common-sense proposal, every Republican in the Missouri Senate voted no.

I often hear from opponents to common-sense gun access protections that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Even under this thinking, background checks make sense. After all, background checks are on the people, not the guns.

Hopefully, in the coming weeks and months, the Missouri Legislature will revisit this issue and stand with the 97 percent of Americans who know that background checks make sense, protect gun rights and save lives.

State Sen. Jill Schupp  •  D-Creve Coeur

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