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Have Your Say: Close 'gun show loophole' now

1:32 PM, Mar. 20, 2013  |  Comments
In this Jan. 6, 2013 file photo, Ken Haiterman, of Pioneer Market, holds a CMMG 5.56mm AR 15 during the 2013 Rocky Mountain Gun Show in Sandy, Utah.
In this Jan. 6, 2013 file photo, Ken Haiterman, of Pioneer Market, holds a CMMG 5.56mm AR 15 during the 2013 Rocky Mountain Gun Show in Sandy, Utah.
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Each Wednesday afternoon, we post online a draft version of the next Sunday's editorial. We want to know what you think! Leave us your feedback in a comment on this story, on our Facebook page, via Twitter by tweeting to @WDHOpinions or by emailing opinion@wdhprint.com.

We'll incorporate reader feedback into the final version of the editorial, and on Sunday we'll publish selections of the responses on the topic. Please share your thoughts by the end of the day Thursday.

Universal background checks are needed

A new poll released Tuesday by Marquette University Law School showed a supermajority of Wisconsin residents are in favor of a system that requires background checks for private gun sales. This is a policy whose time has come. It's time for our legislators to act on it.

Rrequiring universal background checks - closing what is known as the "gun show loophole" - is good policy. And the MU Law School showing that 81 percent of Wisconsinites support the policy proves that it's also politically popular.

There are several flavors of argument against new rules on background checks. Here are several of them, and our reasons for finding them unpersuasive:

? "More background checks means more bureaucracy." Gun stores and licensed dealers follow background-check laws now and do good business. It's likely that this regulation would lead to fewer person-to-person exchanges and more exchanges through licensed dealers. That seems like a tiny cost to pay if the policy makes us safer.

? "Bad guys get their guns on the black market." As the system exists now, they barely need to bother with black markets. At any rate, the right response is to have sensible legal regulations and then have law enforcement crack down on illegal sales.

? "This will lead to other, future policies that might be bad." This objection clearly has some emotional purchase for some - that's is why it's used advocates like the National Rifle Association, which raises the specter of a "gun registry" or other remote and unlikely policies. But this is a way of avoiding a discussion of the merits of this proposal.

When more than 80 percent of the public favors it and elected leaders who are strong gun rights advocates are open to it, we are approaching a broad consensus on this issue. It's time for legislators to act.

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