COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — There may be no issue in American politics that’s more widely supported today than requiring background checks for all gun purchases.
Getting 91 percent of Americans to agree about anything is difficult. Even if football or apple pie were put to a vote, it’s unlikely they’d get anywhere near the unanimity of support Americans have for universal background checks on gun purchases.
There are many good reasons why Americans support background checks for firearms, as attendees at a recent gun show in Colorado Springs explained. Here are five reasons they noted:
1. The seller gets a clear conscience knowing they’re not selling to criminals. One private seller at the show said he enjoys the peace of mind of knowing that he’s not arming criminals. “I don’t want to sell to someone that’s going to use it for something illegal,” he said. “I think you should have a very thorough background check.”
2. Prevents people who are mentally ill from obtaining firearms. Sonny, who attended the show with his young son, said he fully supported background checks in order to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. “Do a background check,” he argued, “make sure that they’re well up [in the head] before you start giving them a weapon that can do mass things like that.”
3. Background checks aren’t bad for business. As one dealer who’d been selling firearms for decades noted to ThinkProgress, conducting background checks hasn’t hurt business. “Doesn’t bother me,” he said. “It’s the way I’ve done it.”
4. Background checks don’t infringe on the Second Amendment. Paul, a Colorado Springs resident, argued that background checks don’t infringe on his personal liberties. “I’ll do whatever they want me to do,” Paul said about background checks, “just don’t take my guns away.”
5. “It tends to keep the bad guys away.” An NRA volunteer from Colorado Springs explained that background checks help prevent people who would commit crimes from obtaining a firearm in the first place. Listen to it: