Credit: Sally Morrow

It wouldn't have prevented the killings in Tuscon, but Rep. Gary Ackerman's proposal this week to close the "fire sale" loophole that allows delicensed gun dealers to sell weapons without background checks makes sense.

Under current law, gun dealers who lose their licenses are allowed to convert their stock into a "private collection.'' They are then allowed to sell the weapons without conducting any background checks or keeping records of the transactions. Because of this loophole, thousands of guns have been sold to people without background checks, and some have been used in the commission of crimes .

This is only one oddity in a set of laws full of them. Weapons can also be sold at gun shows with far less regulation than in gun stores, though there is no clear reason to regulate show sales less than store sales.

Gun dealers have property rights, and if they lose their license to sell guns those rights don't go away. Perhaps the law should require dealers who lose their licenses to sell their stock only to registered gun dealers.

It would be better than the current situation, where licensed dealers face restrictions and those who have licenses revoked can sell to felons for all anyone knows, without fear of consequences. hN