Americans for Responsible Solutions, the pro-gun safety group founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, has released a new web video showing exactly how simple a background check is for a law-abiding gun buyer.
In the video, Kelly uses a pocket camera to record himself buying a handgun and undergoing a background check at a local gun store. The entire process takes about five minutes — hardly a nightmare scenario for civil liberties, as the NRA has suggested.
“A universal background check is the most common-sense thing we can do to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from getting easy access to the gun,” Kelly says after purchasing the weapon.
Earlier this month, Kelly purchased an assault weapon from the same gun store, in an effort to prove how easy it is to buy a semi-automatic rifle. The owner of the store ended up canceling the purchase after Kelly made it clear that he was not buying the gun for his own personal use. That shouldn’t be an issue with Kelly’s new handgun, which he and Giffords make plans to shoot at the end of the video.
Driving away from the gun store, Kelly notes that there was “not much on the shelves as far as inventory’s concerned,” explaining that the owner told him that “panic buying” was stripping his shelves clean.
“Kind of hard for me to understand exactly why” that would be, Kelly adds, “because there’s no real threat on anybody’s Second Amendment rights.”
Despite that fact, universal background checks are in serious danger of dying in Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to advance gun safety legislation including background checks to a vote in early April, but such a measure will almost certainly face a 60-vote threshold for consideration. With almost no Republican support and several Democratic holdouts, Reid does not currently appear to have the numbers to move the legislation forward.
Additionally, a new CBS News poll finds that, although support for universal background checks is still a near-unanimous 90 percent, support for stricter gun laws in general has dropped to 47 percent — down from 57 percent directly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. So while there is still a broad popular consensus favoring the adoption of universal background checks, it appears that the longer Congress waits to act, the more difficult it will be for advocates like Kelly to marshal popular support.