Quick question: How many guns are to be found in America? Answer: No one knows, but estimates range from 250 million to over 300 million.
In an editorial entitled "Keep Guns Out of Criminal Hands" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/23/opinion/keep-guns-out-of-criminal-hands.html?_r=0), The New York Times writes:
"Currently, only licensed firearms dealers are required to check the backgrounds of buyers, and they cannot sell to anyone the system flags for having a criminal record. Sales between private individuals, about 40 percent of all gun sales, are not subject to these rules. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee signed off on a bill that would make background checks virtually universal, except for transfers within families and clearly temporary transfers."
With some 300 million guns floating around the US, background checks are going to prevent firearms from finding their way into the hands of criminals?
Background checks might keep guns away from known nutcases, but criminals? No way. Organized crime is not stupid, and this proposed legislation amounts to no more than a band aid at a time when American inner cities - in Detroit, Oakland, Memphis, Baltimore and Atlanta - are hemorrhaging blood.
Background checks involving sales between private individuals are not going to keep more than 250 million guns out of the hands of the criminals. What is needed is a solution, not simple, to get the genie back into the bottle, and like it or not, keeping guns away from criminals is going to require a bit more thought than The New York Times can muster.