Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane: Gun control advocates' short memory

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Photo - Modern weapon M4
Modern weapon M4
Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists,Gun Control

Universal background checks? That's it? That's the best Vice President Biden's task force on ways to end gun violence could come up with?

According to news reports, Biden "said that the [task force] has heard repeatedly about the need to strengthen background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill."

In one news story that quoted Biden directly, the vice president said, "there is an emerging set of recommendations, not coming from me but from the groups we've met. There is a surprising, so far, a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks."

A surprising recurrence of suggestions, perhaps, but not much in the way of actual thinking or deductive reasoning on the part of either our vice president or members of the groups that gave him these suggestions.

Anyone remember why this task force was formed in the first place? As I recall, it was the massacre of 20 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. How quickly Biden and others have forgotten the details.

The man behind the massacre was 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who used an assault rifle and two handguns to shoot up the school. Those weapons weren't his. Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy, bought them.

Now suppose, before she bought the weapons, Nancy Lanza had undergone the "universal background check" that Biden and others presume will certainly end mass shootings in America. She'd have passed, right? There is nothing about Nancy Lanza's background that suggests she would not have. She had no criminal record. She wasn't mentally ill (though her son clearly might have been).

So Nancy Lanza would have passed the background check, bought her AR-15 and two handguns, to which the disturbed Adam Lanza still would have had access.

Does Biden, anyone on his task force or anyone in the groups that have advocated universal background checks care to explain how such checks would have prevented Adam Lanza from getting his hands on the weapons he used to massacre 26 people?

I don't suspect they would, because the answer is that a universal background check would have been utterly useless in this instance. Unless, of course, Biden and others are talking about something much more extensive than universal background checks.

Do they envision a universal background check law in which not only a Nancy Lanza, as the purchaser of her weapons, is checked, but also every member of her household? Would the background check extend to Nancy Lanza's friends and associates? To anyone that visited her home and had access to her weapons? Just how much snooping is Biden prepared to have the federal government engage in to prevent gun violence?

We have heard one constant refrain since the Newtown tragedy: that we must do something about gun control "to protect our children." But it occurs to me that repealing the entire Bill of Rights might actually allow us to "protect our children."

Believe me, those ideas are already out there. We have CNN television host Piers Morgan hinting that we should repeal the Second Amendment, and some character out in Iowa saying the same thing AND advocating outlawing membership in the National Rifle Association and declaring the group a terrorist organization. One college professor wants to 86 the entire Constitution. All this is suggested in the name of "protecting our children." We could well "protect our children" right into tyranny.

My ears might hear Biden say the words "universal background check," but my nose detects the stench of a hidden agenda.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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