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President Clinton signed in 1993 a sweeping gun control act named for James Brady, a Reagan official who was seriously wounded by John Hinckley Jr.The law required criminal background checks for people who wanted to buy guns. But it had some loopholes, including one The New York Times elaborated on in an editorial.
That “yawning loophole,” as the Times called it, allows private gun sellers and people who sell guns occasionally at gun shows to make their transactions without doing any background checks.
This loophole came to light recently after news emerged that a man who opened fire at a Wisconsin spa was able to buy a gun even though he had a restraining order against him.
Gunman Radcliffe Haughton bought the gun he used from Armslist.com, which lists ads from private sellers – including those selling a Bushmaster AR-15, the weapon used in Friday’s massacre in Connecticut.
The Times’ editorial pointed out that firearms sold in gun shows were used in the Columbine school shooting and have made their way into Mexico.
Despite these examples, the Times reported, the NRA has blocked legislation that would require private sellers to pick up the phone and conduct background checks before they give guns to people.
Now that the NRA has pledged to make “meaningful contributions” to make sure mass shootings don’t happen again, it might give up on trying to block attempts to close the loophole.