Monday, March 04, 2013

Gun Control - a Necessity

Two things we know about recent mass killings: the perpetrators had mental illness and they used "assault weapons" to maximize their carnage.  Two things we know about guns:  40% of gun transactions are now conducted without a background check, and there are few controls to ensure mentally ill people cannot buy guns.  Just this week, a woman with severe mental illness killed her two little grandsons with her pistol before killing herself. Haven't we had enough?

I like guns.  They do a great job of what they are legitimately asked to do, whether it be target practice, hunting, or protection.  I've used them for the first two, and my dad carried a .38 to work because he went in very early and parked in a downtown parking garage with no security.  I was once asked if I wanted to be the officer in charge of the 101st Airborne Division's marksmanship team, which I declined.  I've enjoyed firing .45's, M-1's, M-14's, AR-15's, light artillery, and a number of civilian-type rifles, pistols, and shotguns.    So, I know a lot about guns - but I don't love them.  My experience has ingrained in me the idea that they are very dangerous and, therefore, they must be controlled.  Even the Army understands this; every weapon is accounted for, they are never taken home, and their use in "practice" is strictly controlled.  Why, then, do we allow guns to be bought and sold in this country with no more control than if they were children's toys?

I can't accept that the 2nd Amendment prevents reasonable controls over guns, and I believe the Supreme Court has also accepted this position.  How gun enthusiasts, and the NRA, can claim reasonable controls are  unconstitutional seems not worth the debate.  Yes, we have "the right to bear arms", but all of our rights are limited - we "can't yell fire in a crowded theater" for instance.  Our government is prohibited from taking our guns from us without due cause, but they are not precluded from exercising reasonable controls over them.

So, what is "reasonable" when talking about a tool that can be, and often is, used to kill someone in an instant from a distance?  To me, reasonable controls consist of four things:  first, every firearm in the country should be registered with the government at the state level, and all state databases should be accessible by the federal government; second, all citizens with felony convictions, orders of protection, or under treatment for mental illness should be denied access to guns by their being included in a national database until taken off by a judge; third, all transfers of guns should be recorded permanently in the state databases and be accessible by the federal government; and, lastly, those convicted of any crime involving use of a gun should be subject to a mandatory prison sentence.  Penalties for possessing an unregistered gun should also be non-trivial and never plea-bargained away.

Why don't we already have these controls, which most other civilized countries already have in place?  Like most other important questions, the answer is found by "following the money".  There is a giant industry in the U.S. centered around guns and desperate to maintain its sales and profitability.  It goes to extreme lengths to protect its place in our society, constantly publishing false information and engaging in scare tactics.  Chief among these tactics is the "confiscation" argument"; registration will result in confiscation.  Nothing would be further from the truth, as this would be in direct contravention of the Second Amendment as now interpreted by the courts.  Hey, if we don't register guns, why bother to control cyanide or C-4?  All are equally dangerous in the wrong hands.

So, I consider politicians who oppose gun control to be complicit in the murders that result from the uncontrolled sale/transfer of weapons.  With about 300,000,000 guns already possessed by U.S. citizens, there's no doubt that gun murders will continue for the foreseeable future.  However, I believe that reasonable controls would reduce these deaths by thousands every year.  How much is each one of these lives worth? Well, many politicians have determined their price, and then banked it.

1 comment:

thimscool said...

I'm too tired to properly express my disgust at your evident ignorance of history and traitorous disregard of the constitution.

I retract anything I ever said about encouraging you to run for office, since you apparently don't understand the elemental concepts of the constitution that you would falsely swear to protect.

I am responsible for abusing my first amendment rights if I mischievously shout "FIRE" in a theater; and I am also responsible if I misuse my 2nd amendment rights. That does not affect the letter or spirit of either amendment.

If you want to regulate the militia by licensing or other tests of worthy, then that is withing the realm of discussion; but if you do not recognize the blatant disregard for individual rights that the current administration (and everyone prior in my lifetime) repeatedly demonstrates, then you don't understand the meaning of the 2A, the reason for the battle of Lexington.

God may have mercy on your tired ass, but I don't. You New England Yank's apparently think that embracing martial law is patriotic, if "Boston Strong" is an indication as to to how we should react to any "terrorist" challenge.

You prefer safety to liberty... our forefathers would regard you as a worthless Tory. They had the advantage (compared to today) of an ocean and 18th century technology to enable them to ignore folks like you. We have no such advantage, and thus you are an enemy to the constitution... not worthless, but worth challenging.