A Bridge Too Far

Senator Jeff Blake (R-AZ) thinks universal background checks on gun sales are “a bridge too far”.  For some reason, regulating guns seems like a scary proposition for Congress.  And yet, state and federal legislatures find plenty of time and motivation to regulate women, poor people, and farmers.  Just not guns.


Over the past few days, I’ve been scanning the rules for the soon-to-be-implemented Food Safety Modernization Act.  The act updates our food safety provisions to address the globalized food system, but catches a lot of small, sustainable farms in its net.  It regulates several aspects of growing and harvesting and requires documentation of on-farm food safety protocol.*  At its core, the law tries to institutionalize grower accountability.


Wading through the extensive list of rules, I can’t get Jeff Blake’s words out of my head.  Creating a paper trail for the sale of a firearm from one private individual to another is a “bridge too far”.  What’s expected of the farmer is too much to ask of the gun owner.


So, to Senator Blake’s point, why is it easier to sell a gun than to sell a vegetable?


*Of course, it doesn’t try to regulate real threats to food safety, like the working conditions of food industry workers and farm workers, legal carte blanche for Monsanto, or huge corn subsidies, but that’s a post for a different day.