Late last year, in a blog entitled “Meet Larry Pratt”, visitors to this site were introduced to the aforementioned individual. He is the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, a lobbying organization dedicated to protecting citizens’ Second Amendment rights, AND beating down any gun control legislation in Congress.
Pratt surfaced on the national radar upon making several tv appearances during which he spoke out against any such law-making in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Then, his argument was that there should be no limits on citizens’ possession of firearms so that they would be better able to defend themselves against a tyrannical US government intent on subverting the Constitution and our freedoms.
Well, as today’s title indicates, Mr. Pratt is back; now with an argument against background checks that is even more inane than his “tyrannical government” conspiratorial thinking. Again, on national tv, Pratt has opined that a federal law mandating more stringent background checks would be worthless because “criminals will find their way around them” and still secure a weapon of choice.
Make no mistake; this line of thinking rests on the fundamental premise that laws that can be circumvented aren’t worth passing. Seriously??? Circumvention of laws on the books happens all the time. There are unsolved murders that are so old that they have been classified as “cold cases”. White collar criminals commit fraud, escape to an hospitable foreign country and never face extradition back here to face charges. Follow Pratt’s “logic” to its conclusion and laws against murder and fraud ought to either be ignored or repealed. The Latins had a phrase that covers this; i.e. reductio ad absurdum.
The reality is that while laws are passed to serve as deterrents, it’s understood that in that respect, they will not function perfectly. Moreover, the laws provide, not only for deterrence, but as a legal framework for tracking down suspects of wrong-doing, bringing them to trial, and then punishing them if found guilty. All this has escaped Pratt who has decided to “hang his hat” on the vacuous argument that background checks won’t work perfectly. As if any laws do.
One should properly get the impression that organizations like Pratt’s and the NRA have absolutely no respect for the intelligence of the American people. When they float arguments like the one cited above (not to mentioned the conspiratorial “tyrannical US government”), they are essentially saying “We can fool enough of you all the time”. Even worse, they feed these same notions to members of Congress with whom they are “chummy”, who then go on tv and mouth the same empty talking points.
If we do not come out of the horrors of Tuscon, Aurora and Newtown with significant gun legislation, especially in light of overwhelming public opinion favoring same, then we will know that the lobbyists have won, that our elected representatives are no longer responsive to us, and that our democracy is in serious peril.