This letter is in response to Bill Church's "Clinton's court could affect guns," letter of Sept. 14.
To counter the first assertion made in this letter, that the National Rifle Association does not support universal background checks, several national surveys, not conducted by the NRA, show that 3 out of 4 NRA members do support universal background checks.
Clearly these gun owners don't agree with Mr. Church's argument that universal background checks would impose "undue burdens and costs on law abiding citizens" and that they would lead to a national firearms registry. These same surveys reveal that a majority of American gun-owners believe the NRA is out of touch with the gun problem in this country.
Next, arguments about how and why guns get into the hands of criminals and about how to prevent that can be debated endlessly. But noticeably absent from the letter are the arguments for keeping guns out of the hands of so many other potentially dangerous and vulnerable people. What about background checks to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, the domestic abusers, the potential suicide victims and the terrorists?
True, stronger gun laws will not prevent the mass killing we hear about almost every day. What they will help prevent is the chilling number of non-homicide gun deaths in this country that we don't hear about every day. More Americans die from gun suicide than from gun homicide per the Center for Disease Control. Maybe someone who's thinking about taking their own life would reconsider if, when going to buy a gun, they had to identify themselves and their residence and wait even 10 minutes for a background check. We can only hope so.