In his Dec. 18 One View (Stereotypes in the gun violence discussions, Viewpoints, Dec. 18], John Erickson promised he would give us a proposal to keep guns away from “criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, children and the suicidal.” Because of this promise, it was with considerable interest that I read his follow up article in the Jan. 1 edition [It’s the shooter not the gun, Viewpoints].

In that article, John proposes an expansion of the types of people who would be prohibited from possessing a gun and making that information on these “potential shooters” available to the authorities. Without commenting on the latitude of his prohibitions, I would like to point out that what he is proposing is a background check on every potential gun owner in order to exclude those who are prohibited from possession.  He also said that this approach “would be extendable nationally.” So he is proposing a universal background check on all potential gun owners in the entire nation. If I understand John correctly, under his proposal everyone in the entire nation would undergo a background check before they could acquire a gun. 

Congratulations, John. On this point, we are finally in agreement. 

On a national level currently, only federally licensed gun dealers are required to perform this check. There is a national loophole that allows sales at gun shows and private sales without such a check. All we ask is that this loophole be closed and that all potential gun owners require such a check.

John refers to the current “functioning” Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) currently in operation in the state of Illinois. That system requires a background check when ownership of the gun is transferred to another person. We both seem to agree that such a system should be implemented nationally.

Now all John has to do is to get the other members of the gun rights side of the Gun Rights and Responsibilities Committee to agree to his suggested universal background checks.

I look forward to that happening with more than considerable interest.

John Barrett, M.D.

Oak Park

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