“There is an emerging set of recommendations ““ not coming from me but coming from the groups we’ve met,” Biden said. “There is a surprising, so far, a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks.” These recommendations were not only about “closing the gun show loophole,” he said, “but total universal background checks, including private sales.” He said the focus would be on how to “strengthen those background checks.” [Washington Post]

EVERYONE KEEPS touting that the N.R.A. got 100,000 members in 18 days. So what? There are over 311,000 million people in the United States and the majority don’t support the N.R.A. We’re gun owners and believe the N.R.A. is an antiquated organization with the only goal being to enrich gun manufacturers at the expense of the rest of us.

The gun industry and other large corporate and individual donors chipped in $71.1 million in 2011 to NRA coffers, compared with $46.3 million in 2004, according to a Bloomberg News review of NRA tax returns. – NRA Gun Control Crusade Reflects Firearms Industry Financial Ties

The national media is as much an aider and abettor to the N.R.A.’s wholly unimpressive statistic. They sound like right wing radio. Today, the N.R.A. represents a minority of American extremists, while the majority of Americans are on the other side of the issue when it comes to gun safety, especially where universal background checks are concerned.

From SmartGunLaws.org there is an example of public opinion long before Sandy Hook left 20 children massacred:

  • Americans overwhelmingly support background checks for all prospective gun purchasers: A nationwide poll conducted in early 2008 found that 87% of Americans, including 83% of gun owners, favor requiring everyone who sells guns to conduct criminal background checks on prospective purchasers.32
  • A poll conducted shortly after the 2008 presidential election found that 83% of voters, including 84% of gun owners, favor background checks for all sales.33
  • A national survey conducted for Mayors Against Illegal Guns in January 2007 found that 92% of Americans “” including 91% of gun owners “” favor mandatory criminal background checks for all people purchasing guns.34

Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado has called for universal background checks on all gun sales. That’s where the push should begin, because the vast majority of Americans are for it, including gun owning families like our own.

Nearly six months after a mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater stirred cries for action on gun violence and mental illness, and with last month’s killings at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School still fresh in people’s minds, Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado called Thursday for universal background checks on all gun sales in the state.

Democrats, who now control both houses of Colorado’s Legislature, rose to their feet and applauded the governor’s proposal while Republicans sat silently ““ an illustration of the divisions in a state that tipped to Democrats in the last two presidential elections, but that still values hunting, sport-shooting and the frontier values wrapped up in gun ownership.

Any Republican, member of Congress or N.R.A. member who wants to argue against universal background checks is going to have a very big problem on his or her hands.

The majority of Americans, including gun owners, are for universal background checks on all gun sales. That Congress won’t act on this immediately reveals they’re the biggest part of the problem.

It’s time to smoke out the congressional shills for the gun manufacturers who are putting capitalistic priorities above the safety of children and the American citizenry.

There is nothing in the Second Amendment that precludes universal background checks. So, when Sean Hannity asks whether universal background checks would have prevented Sandy Hook from happening, as he continues to ask on his wingnut radio show, the answer is no. Mental health remains a huge issue in the massacres that have occurred in our country. But Hannity and his crew are also against affordable health care coverage, which includes mental health care access, and demanding states comply with producing the records of mentally unstable individuals and sharing them with authorities.

Hannity and his wingnut pals are against any and all transparency where gun ownership is involved. There is nothing in the Second Amendment that guarantees this secrecy.

The authorities currently do not know who has guns in our country or the names of individuals buying them, but the gun sellers also don’t know if they’re selling to criminals. There’s nothing in the Second Amendment that supports such dangerous nonchalance.

This piece has been updated.