When in doubt, blame Obama

10/13/2017, 7:10 p.m.
“Bump stocks.” Hardly anyone had heard about them before they were found in the late Las Vegas sniper’s arsenal. Association ...

NRA and Republican resistance held despite Obama’s expansions of gun owners’ rights. As Politifact reported, in 2010 President Obama “signed bills allowing Amtrak passengers to pack guns in their luggage and carry loaded firearms into national parks.”

Yet gun sales surged after each of his elections, partly because of widespread fears stoked by paranoid conservative voices that he was going to confiscate everyone’s privately owned guns before sundown on Inauguration Day. That slippery-slope argument that small concessions to gun regulation now will bring gun confiscation down the road still exerts a powerful grip in the gun owner community.

These days the NRA competes not only against gun safety proponents but also against other more extreme groups like the Gun Owners of America, which announced their opposition to a bump stock ban shortly after the NRA called for that possibility to be considered.

Both the NRA and the GOA are more interested in winning another issue, “reciprocity” laws that would make concealed-carry permits issued in one state valid in other states. Before Congress considers that bold move, it should consider others like universal background checks. Whether background checks would have averted Stephen Paddock’s mass slaughter in Las Vegas or not, we’re better off with them than without them.