I support the Second Amendment. I believe people should be allowed to own firearms and I believe they should be permitted to buy as many as they want, with 50 billion rounds of ammunition to go along with those guns if they feel that's what they need to feel safe after the sun goes down.
What I don't support is the ridiculous lack of laws governing background checks for private transactions. Licensed firearms dealers are mandated to run background checks before they sell a firearm to anyone, but the law in 33 states doesn't extend to private sales.
That's a problem.
You might say it's a life or death problem. Strike that. You can say with absolute certainty it is a life or death problem.
The National Rifle Association doesn't think background checks should apply to private sales and neither do many Second Amendment proponents who claim to be law-abiding and responsible gun owners.
This is a loophole big enough to fire a cannonball through.
While people can argue all they want about the right to bear arms, too often the people bearing those arms are prohibited from owning one. That many of them bought a gun from a private party and then went out and committed murder, or mass murder, is inarguable. In fact, most of them made the purchase specifically with the intent to kill a person or 10.
The facts speak for themselves.
You can find several examples that occurred just in the past eight months. Earlier in August, a convicted felon restrained, shot and killed six children between the ages of 6 and 13, and two adults, in Houston.
The killer was upset with the mother of the children and, being less than adept at conflict resolution, decided mass murder was the appropriate response to whatever it was that frosted his flakes.
He bought the gun from a private seller two weeks before he executed those eight people in a transaction that was perfectly legal, from the seller's perspective.
The young man who on June 17 killed nine African-American worshipers inside a South Carolinian church was a prohibited possessor. His daddy decided the ban didn't apply to his troubled son and bought him the murder weapon off the street.
Closer to home, a Phoenix woman was murdered by her ex-convict ex-boyfriend on July 24, one day after he took possession of a handgun he purchased online.
Last December, an Ohio woman was wounded and her 10-year-old daughter killed by a former boyfriend who - you guessed it - was prohibited from possessing a firearm. But he bought one, online, one week before - no questions asked.
Another ex-boyfriend killed a 29-year-old woman in Washington state days after buying a handgun from somebody in a parking lot.
A group called Everytown for Gun Safety pulled the information above off the front pages of newspapers. The group isn't anti-Second Amendment; its members simply want someone, anyone, to advocate for common-sense solutions to gun violence.
The group counts police officers and gun owners among its members, along with teachers, moms and dads, and people who have lost someone to gun violence.
The one thing most of the killings have in common, other than the fact the killers were not supposed to have a gun in the first place, were that they purchased the weapon from a private seller within a week or two of the murders.
Will closing the private sales loophole eliminate these bloody tragedies? No, but it will save lives because it makes it more difficult for them to pull off. By making them work harder to get a gun, they could calm down enough to realize premeditated murder is a bad idea. In fact, some states won't let you take home a newly purchased firearm for five days. They call this, appropriately enough, the cooling down period.
Seventeen states actually require private sellers to not only perform the background check, but to record it so the gun can be tracked. A call to the FBI will accomplish this with little hassle. In any event, states that require one or the other, or both, have discovered murders involving exes dropped by an average of 46 percent after the rules went into effect.
Sadly, Arizona is not one of those states. It's like lawmakers are on the killers' side. There is no law, however, that says private sellers can't take it upon themselves to run a background check when they sell guns, online or in a parking lot or in the comfort of their own homes.
Seems to me that is exactly what law-abiding and responsible gun owners would want to do.