Gun ownership comments come from around the US

And we’re back.

If you didn’t read the column “About that ‘Gun ownership 101’ story” last week, you might want to take a stab at it. In it, we began what I anticipate will be a long, and hopefully fruitful, conversation in search of solutions to this country’s conflicted relationship with firearms.

What we’re seeking in this dialogue is Iowan perspective and reason.

It went beyond Iowa in about 2 seconds.

Disclosure: Some of those readers are friends.

But just as many are strangers.

But first, there was feedback from Iowa.

“I read your interesting editorial on guns this evening and i want to take you up on your request for responses … My thoughts: why did Dimitrios (Pagourtzis, identified as the Santa Fe shooter) shoot his fellow students? Was it because he had a gun? Supposed he had been unable to obtain a gun, would that have solved the problem? What would have stopped him from using a car instead? People say it is a mental health matter? I believe it is more of a bullying matter. Young people can be so devious, and with social media today they can get together with their friends and make another student’s life horrible even outside of school. I say schools need bully-free zones. No student should be afraid to go to school. Any student caught bullying another in or outside of school should be expelled immediately and permanently. Incentives should be given to students to report bullying. Students who stand their ground against bullies should not be disciplined.”

It then ricocheted off to Washington, D.C.: “This is such a great piece … and a conversation starter. I’m one of those who would be happy if the NRA and guns went away, of course. BTW, loved the stories about your dad.”

And west to Colorado: “I’d love to share it with friends all over the country. Is that OK or do you want this to be Iowan only?”

Then it caught fire in Virginia: “Good gun story and even better follow up. It came at a fortuitous time as we just had a long conversation about guns, laws, etc. with our NRA-member Virginia neighbors.”

“Not everyone who sells guns is a reasonable person …”

“And not all states have the same licensing laws as Iowa… A whopping 36 states have no permitting process for buying!! Yes, your articles starting me exploring. That means only 14 states actually do any background check for a buy?!! That would be a really good place to start!” Editor’s note: The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check for a firearm purchase is a federal requirement and is, in fact, done in all 50 states. It is a separate process from any state permitting process.

“A permit to carry (either open or concealed, depending upon the state law) is totally different than the purchase process. U.S. law requires the NICS background check on sales, regardless of state permitting laws. In VA (Virginia), it is legal to open carry without a permit but a CHP (concealed handgun permit) is required for concealed carry. No state permit is necessary to own or buy a gun but all federal requirements of age, categories of disqualification, and passing the NICS are federal law.”

“I am concerned about the buying process. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, because federal law fails to require background checks by every person who sells or transfers a gun — known as universal background checks — ‘individuals prohibited by law from possessing guns can easily obtain them from private sellers and do so without any federal records of the transactions.’

“‘The private-party gun market,’ one study observed, ‘has long been recognized as a leading source of guns used in crimes.’ Although this loophole is sometimes referred to as the ‘gun show’ loophole, because of the particular problems associated with unlicensed sellers at gun shows, it applies to all private firearm sales, regardless of where they occur.”

Tighter controls of sales so that anyone possessing a gun illegally obtained gets some kind of significant punishment. If the gun purchase bypasses NICS rules do they bother with a carry permit?”

“That was an informative article and Virginia law is nearly identical to Iowa’s, but you cannot use a carry permit in VA to purchase, a NICS background check must be done every purchase, even the next day. The NICS background check is a federal law and every state and licensed dealer must comply. I am so, so glad you posted this excellent article, well written and it can serve as a basis for a path forward — by clever Iowans and hopefully others as well. Let us know what comes of her invitation to share solutions, not Facebook diatribes (Jane’s words).

Folks, that’s round one. Thank you Iowa, Colorado, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. By the way, just because they live in other states, these Iowans didn’t hesitate to weigh in. Many of the comments linked to this discussion come from people who still identify as Iowan, despite having moved beyond the boundaries of the state.

What do you say we meet here again next week?

Jane Curtis is the editor of The Messenger.

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