President Barack Obama was in Minnesota Monday, the first stop on his tour around the country to push his agenda to reduce gun violence.
We know there are many who react negatively to anything the president proposes, but if you really look at the proposals he talked about Monday there is much that makes sense.
First, look at the issue of universal background checks for all gun buyers. Everyone agrees that there are some people who are too dangerous, or too unstable, to have guns. Background checks should sort them out, and lead to keeping legal guns out of their hands.
Anyone who buys guns from a licensed gun dealer has to go through the check. But there is no background check for someone buying a gun from an unlicensed dealer at a gun show. This is a major loophole, and it's hard to argue that it shouldn't be closed.
Next, there's the proposed ban on military-style assault rifles. Their fire power, especially when combined with high-volume magazines, makes them particularly dangerous in incidents like the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. But they aren't that much different from a semi-automatic hunting rifle. We think their looks work against them, much like someone driving sports car five miles faster than the speed limit might be more likely to get a ticket than someone driving a minivan at the same speed. Far more gun deaths are a result of handguns than assault rifles, so why focus on assault rifles?
Finally, Obama wants to ban high volume magazines. We don't see much need for 30-round magazines, unless one is involved in a shootout with someone else. They make it easier to shoot a whole bunch of people without reloading, so there is an argument for not selling them.
State Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) thinks the president's visit will do little more than stimulate gun sales in the state. We hope it will also stimulate some discussion that will lead toward meaningful action to reduce gun violence.