Conservative talk radio is reverberating with misrepresentation, confusion and falsehoods about the gun safety legislation moving through the State Legislature.
Now would be a good time for fact-based listeners to call into these fear-based shows to straighten out the hype-based hosts and their back-scratching guests.
For example, Sen. Kevin Lundberg said the following on KFKA's Amy Oliver Show Feb. 11:
"You know, I remember decades ago, somebody said, 'I will not give up my gun rights, you know, until you pry my cold dead hands away from it.' We all thought, 'Well, That will never happen.' Well, boy, we are so close, so close to that."
I hope Sen. Lundberg isn't digging a bunker in preparation for his own death in a final righteous gun battle, which he believes to be "so close."
In reality, no proposed bill in the Colorado Legislature would make it illegal for Lundberg to own a gun. Ditto for any law-abiding Republican talk-show host, despite the cries you're hearing on the airwaves.
"PBS NewsHour asked me: 'Can't you find a middle ground?' And my answer was, 'Yeah, it's what we have in place now. We have a concealed/carry law. We don't have a Vermont-style carry, where every citizen is allowed to carry, just by virtue of being a legal citizen. But So we have a permit system.' Okay. I can accept that as being a middle ground. But the Left believes the only solution is pretty much a total ban on everything. And so they're just going for everything they can get. It's a very, very extreme position."
Heading toward similar extremes, House Minority Leader Mark Waller told KHOW's Michael Brown Wed.:
"And there's no evidence that universal background checks, in any way, enhance public safety."
No evidence? Zero?
Last month, the Washington Post's Brad Plumer interviewed a University of Chicago Professor who studied the issue in-depth and concluded that universal background checks would likely enhance public safety, by requiring checks on the gun buyers who aren't currently required to get them (up to 40 percent of gun purchases. The NRA believes the figure is 10 percent, but, still, Ludwig's argument, below, still holds up.)
Ludwig cited studies in the late 1980s showing that 80 percent of people who committed a crime with a handgun acquired it from an unlicensed gun dealer and therefore didn't have a background check.
"Most people who own guns are middle-class, law-abiding citizens," he says. "If you tell them to do a background check, I think they'll do it voluntarily." And for those who prefer to evade the law, the government might have to provide more resources for police to do undercover gun buys on the secondary market--in order to ensure compliance. "That's never going to be perfect, but anything you can do to tighten the secondary market will help."
That's fact-based, common sense. It makes a good starting point for a reasonable discussion on costs and benefits of background checks.
Waller's and Lundberg's hyperbole sends us in the opposite direction and should be called out by talk-radio hosts -- or you, if you listen in.