Reporting Esme Murphy
Today Francine Wheeler, who lost her 6-year-old Ben in the Sandy Hook massacre, gave the President’s Saturday radio address pleading for action on gun control measures.
She is the only person other than Vice President Joe Biden who the President has ever allowed to give the weekly address. Whatever your view on the issue, at a personal level it was a gutsy and heartbreaking appeal.
This week, the U.S. Senate agreed to discuss the most limited of proposals to expand background checks. It is a measure that would expand checks to Internet sales and unlicensed dealers at gun shows. It also includes record keeping measures that could help law enforcement track weapons.
It does not include background checks for sales among family members or even neighbors. It is far from the universal background check proposal that the President originally called for. That would have expanded checks to the estimated 40 percent of sales that currently legally take place without a background check.
Polls show between 80 to 90 percent of Americans support expansion of checks.
Critics claim the polls fail to mention the added costs of administering the checks to both the buyer and to any government agency involved. Would the expansion of background checks have stopped the Sandy Hook massacre? No, it would not have.
The guns were bought by Adam Lanza’s mother.
Francine Wheeler’s argument is simple. If this limited measure stops one shooting, one injury, or one death, it’s worth it.