Poll after poll, scientific or not, suggest that most people are in favor of requiring a background check before an individual can purchase a gun.
However, people aren't being questioned as to their opinion on who should or who should not be able to buy a gun.
What questions need to be asked and answered by background checks and which answers should disqualify a person from owning a gun?
When asked, "Are you in favor of background checks before a person can purchase a gun," the answer is almost always, "Sure," because, it is added, criminals and mentally ill people shouldn't own a gun.
But what if people are asked: "Do you think you should have the right to own a gun?" the answer would likely be, "Oh, sure."
That answer indicates, as recent elections have shown, that greed is a high priority with the majority of American people, that and selfishness. They want things for themselves, but not for their neighbor, or they want to be exempted from certain responsibilities, but they don't think their neighbor should be exempted. They think that guns should be taken away from other people, but not from them.
Several city leaders have said the problem is not enough police and too many criminals with guns. Yet, to them, the answer is tighter control of guns. They want police to be the only allowed to combat criminals.
How can one argue with such idiocy? Even if police were successful in disarming non-criminals, do they believe criminals would all disarm themselves, to make it fair for those they rob, rape or assault?
In Milwaukee, a sheriff has said his departmental budget has been cut so severely that he is advising people to take measures to defend themselves until police can arrive to help.
Wouldn't that be prudent for any citizen in any city?
Logical reasoning may lead one to conclude that if anyone needs to be disarmed it is police themselves. They rarely prevent a crime, they are simply usually the first ones on the scene to observe the post-crime scene in a store after a robbery, or to view the dead body.
One could also argue that it is hypocritical to allow an off-duty policeman to keep a gun in his home to protect his family against intruders, but not allow his 80-year-old neighbor to do the same.
Isn't it also hypocritical for celebrities to opine that there are many sorts of people who shouldn't be allowed to have a gun, but not celebrities? Celebrities think themselves in a class, the upper one, which deserves certain privileges that shouldn't be afforded the little people. Most other liberals, including politicians, seem to think the same.
About a week ago I sent my untrustworthy researcher and adviser out to interview a cross section of Americans to learn what people are thinking on the subject of who should own a gun.
This erstwhile journalist, L.L. Pickering, who works out of his home in Outer Walla Walla, North Carolina (about 70 miles northeast of metropolitan Magnolia, from where I write), just submitted a summary of his findings to me.
His findings are mind-boggling.
"First," LLP said, "450 of the 500 people I talked with think that some people should be barred from owning a gun. But, only four of the 450 think they themselves should be denied gun ownership."
Then, LLP listed for me the top five reasons given that would make a person ineligible to own a gun:
Has been convicted of a crime, except for thievery, arson or political graft.
Is thought to be a member of a militant, right-wing extremist group, or seems to be thinking of joining one.
Is a Baptist preacher in one of the former eleven Confederate states.
Anyone in a neighborhood who has ever been convicted of vehicular speeding or driving while impaired.
Used car salesmen and late night television comedians.
LLP says he personally thinks that universal background checks would be good, but not if members of Congress are exempt. "Representatives and senators are among the craziest people in the world," he said.
L.E. Brown, Jr. may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.