SOME GUN control proposals in the editorial “Legislature must act on plan to tighten gun laws” (Feb. 13) have merit. The one to require all private firearms transfers to go through licensed dealers, however, will do nothing but increase costs to law-abiding gun owners.
In Massachusetts, gun owners are already required to report all private sales, as well as loss and theft, to the state Firearms Record Bureau, and it is illegal to sell a firearm to anyone not lawfully licensed in the Commonwealth.
If someone already has a valid license, the state has already run a background check on him or her. Those people selling handguns to teenagers in Boston, for instance, are already breaking the law. Do you think that now these same people will suddenly go to the local, federally licensed firearms dealer, where the sale will be rejected? Or will they simply do what they have always done — sell their guns illegally.
Meanwhile, law-abiding gun owners, who already live under some of the most restrictive laws in the country, will incur more costs — the dealers will, rightly, charge a fee to process the sale. The gun owners will also be inconvienced by having to go to a dealer’s shop instead of completing the transaction at home and registering the sale online. All of this busywork will produce absolutely no increase in public safety.
Our current gun laws can be revised to improve safety and to lessen the burden on the people obeying the laws. For instance, as the editorial suggests, the state should provide mental-health information to the federal database for background checks. Putting a gun dealer in the middle of a lawful transaction will accomplish nothing useful.