Controls on secondary market for guns should be considered

The Indiana Legislature should consider tightening controls on the secondary gun market.
Posted on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:45 p.m.

Recent editorials from Indiana newspapers:

The Herald-Times, Bloomington:

Calls for tightening gun laws aren’t very loud in Indiana, and even if they were, they wouldn’t get very far. Hoosiers believe strongly in the Second Amendment and interpret it to believe the government should keep its hands off an individual’s right to firearms.

As such, Indiana has very few gun laws. A colorful chart accompanying a Time magazine special report shows Indiana has one of eight state gun regulations that can be found in the United States: requiring dealers to be licensed. According to Time, 14 states have one fewer gun law than that.

One state law the Indiana General Assembly should consider, though, involves the secondary gun market.

Licensed dealers must comply with The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. The FBI notes on its website that the system “is all about saving lives and protecting people from harm — by not letting guns and explosives fall into the wrong hands. It also ensures the timely transfer of firearms to eligible gun buyers.”

The FBI site explains: “Before ringing up the sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to make a purchase. More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials.”

But in Indiana, individuals who are not licensed gun dealers can sell firearms without going through any such background check with the purchaser. This includes individuals who sell at gun shows. ...

Opponents say most dealers at gun shows are already licensed. So what? This will require the others to follow the same rules as the majority.

They also say this won’t stop people from buying guns illegally. They’re right, but it will make it harder.

And they say this would be a burden on a grandfather who wants to hand down a hunting rifle to a grandson or sell one to a brother. Actually, it would be quite reasonable to exempt immediate family members.

We don’t expect the General Assembly to do much to tighten gun laws, but this is one place it should act. ...

Journal & Courier, Lafayette:

To an extent, we’re with state Sen. Mike Delph, a Carmel Republican who is looking for a review of the security of the electronic voting machines used in most Indiana counties.

Questions will always remain about just how secure computerized voting systems are simply because nearly all of us work with computers. And nearly all of us have been left to mop up the mess when hard drives give out and data disappear.

It makes sense, then, to find ways to press ahead with technology that offers the maximum security — whether in paper receipts or beefier backup systems — against a big Election Day failure.

But floating a provocative statement in the form of a test balloon bill? That’s another matter.

Delph has county clerks and election officials in a tizzy over Senate Bill 357, which would eliminate the use of electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots. Delph says, though, he really wanted to just start a conversation about voting security and the chances of manipulation on Election Day.

Fair enough — though it might have been a better conversation if it didn’t start as an accusation without a confirmation that it is happening.

If Delph is truly concerned about the will of the voter being thwarted, a better avenue would be efforts from the Statehouse to encourage more Indiana counties to adopt the vote center concept and more convenient early voting options. That’s worked in Tippecanoe County. Other counties should be encouraged to be as fortunate.

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