Support background checks on 2016 ballot

Dear Editor:

I am so pleased to learn Mainers will get the chance in November 2016 to vote up or down on a background check ballot initiative. This is an important, lifesaving effort to close deadly loopholes in our gun laws that make it easy for criminals, domestic abusers and other dangerous people to get guns.

While federal law requires criminal background checks for gun sales through licensed dealers, there is no such requirement for sales between unlicensed sellers online or at gun shows. This creates an easy way for criminals and other dangerous people — people who would fail a background check — to buy or trade guns. And, make no mistake, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

The proposed ballot initiative will close this loophole by requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales in our state. The new law would have reasonable exceptions for family, hunting and self-defense.

Support for background checks on all gun sales is strong across Maine. As a mom of two kids, I know I will sleep easier when I know we have taken common sense measures to keep dangerous people from easily purchasing a gun.

We will never stop all gun violence, but research shows background checks work. In the states that require criminal background checks for all handgun sales, 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns and 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.

Congress has refused to act, so I’m pleased Mainers will be able to pass this common-sense measure that will save lives. I will vote “Yes” on the background check ballot initiative next November.

Kelley Columber

Blue Hill

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