- - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A few voices are calling for so-called universal background checks to address the problem of gun violence in society. Their mantra calls for closing the “gun-show loophole” and requiring background checks for online gun purchases. For the record, there is no loophole in my home state of Pennsylvania, as all sales of handguns and long guns by dealers at gun shows and online require a background check. A call to the Pennsylvania State Police will verify this.

Further, in a recent survey of law enforcement, just 1.5 percent of respondents said tighter restriction on sales and transfers would reduce shootings. Gun-control advocates’ failure to understand facts and root causes, and their continual push for ineffective legislation perpetuates the very problem on the streets. If we want to reduce violence in all its forms, we should focus on four things that are the root causes: underfunding for mental health treatment and care, overuse of psychotropic drugs, the presence of “gun-free zones” (which attackers seek out) and gang violence, a major source of violence in the United States.

Gangs do not get their guns legally, and there are already laws on the books that make it a felony to “straw purchase” a firearm for someone else or submit false information in order to acquire a firearm. However, of the 72,000 people turned down for a gun in 2010, only 44 cases were prosecuted.

We have enough laws on the books. We just need to enforce them. The anti-gun crowd should drop its agenda of attacking firearms and law-abiding gun owners, and instead focus on solutions that will really solve the problem.

JIM VETTER

Middletown, Pa.