A preliminary trial held Monday may shed more light on what happened the night of the Aurora movie theater massacre in July. The alleged shooter, James Holmes, is accused of killing 12 people and wounding at least 58 others.
Stephen Barton, 22, was one of the 58 wounded at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight.” Barton, who was shot in the neck, joins “Starting Point” on Monday to discuss how he hopes gun policy in the U.S. will change following recent mass shootings.
“I think this is another terrible reminder of the failure of our gun policies in this country,” Barton says. “If you don’t have such easy access to assault rifles, then you don’t have these mass tragedies.”
The Aurora shooting survivor adds that he hopes the evidence presented in the preliminary hearing will provide more insight to what happened the night of July 20 and “what led (Holmes) to commit this crime.” The preliminary hearing will be an opportunity to hear what happened beyond “my own recollection," Barton says.
US Gun Laws are Weak!
Current federal law requires criminal background checks only for guns sold through licensed firearm dealers, which account for just 60% of all gun sales in the United States (ATF). A loophole in the law allows individuals not “engaged in the business” of selling firearms to sell guns without a license—and without processing any paperwork. That means that two out of every five guns sold in the United States change hands without a background check.
Though commonly referred to as the “Gun Show Loophole,” the “private sales” described above include guns sold at gun shows, through classified newspaper ads, the Internet, and between individuals virtually anywhere.
Unfortunately, only six states (CA, CO, IL, NY, OR, RI) require universal background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows. Three more states (CT, MD, PA) require background checks on all handgun sales made at gun shows. Seven other states (HI, IA, MA, MI, NJ, NC, NE) require purchasers to obtain a permit and undergo a background check before buying a handgun. Florida allows its counties to regulate gun shows by requiring background checks on all firearms purchases at these events. 33 states have taken no action whatsoever to close the Gun Show Loophole.
Worse, in the case Dawn Nguyen, for example, as a private citizen of NY, she was not required to process any paper work prior to the sale of her weapons to William Spengler (New York Statue S 700.00, S 265.01). Moreover, as noted above there is no Federal law requiring a background check prior to “private sales.”
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