Take steps to abate gun violence - now

A church, a movie theater, a military recruiting center — places where people gather with an expectation of public safety, places where people were gunned down this summer in mass shootings.

Nine people died June 17 in a shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C.

Five people died in the July 16 shootings at recruiting and reserve centers in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Two people died and nine were injured in the July 24 shooting while watching a movie in Lafayette, La.

People are being shot to death in Connecticut’s cities this summer, including an innocent woman who was sitting on her porch in New Haven.

It can feel as though nowhere is safe, not even an elementary school.

As recently as Aug. 26, two young journalists were killed in Virginia during a live television broadcast.

It would be easy to become numb to the senseless violence, to feel helpless in the litany of shooting after shooting. Instead, we must turn the numbness and helplessness to resolve — and action.

Step one: Work to close the background-check loophole that allowed the Charleston shooter to purchase a gun, despite his criminal record.

Dylann Roof bought a .45 caliber handgun without passing a background check because a loophole in federal law allows a gun sale if the check is not completed by authorities in three days.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, both Democrats, are introducing legislation to close the loophole and require all buyers to pass the background check before a gun can be purchased.

Support them. Let them know you agree with the safety measure.

Step two: Congress, as a whole, can work slowly and sometimes, as with gun safety, with great reluctance. Until it addresses the loophole, individual firearms retailers can opt to wait for the check to be completed. They are not required to sell within three days.

Walmart, to its credit, will not allow the “default sales.”

Bass Pro Shops, which will be coming to nearby Bridgeport, does, according to the senators.

Let the retailer, more so than a firearms dealer, know you support waiting for the background check to be completed before a gun would be sold.

“No check, no sale.”

That loophole needs to be closed.

In the last five years, the loophole has allowed 15,729 firearm sales to “ ‘prohibited people’ — individuals who were deemed ineligible to purchase a firearm once their background checks were completed,” the senators wrote in letters to Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and EZ Pawn.

This must be done, and now.