Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Regulating Guns

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

All of the irritating NRA noise and threats aside, there is much that can be accomplished in the realm of sensible gun regulation that would not trample anyone’s “right” to bear arms  - well, at least those of us without a mental diagnosis or a criminal background.

First of all, limiting the size of ammunition clips to something within reason, say ten rounds or so, won’t impinge on anyone’s ability to bag a few squirrel carcasses for dinner, and the limitation of rounds per burst would cause an active shooter to take time to stop and reload, thus giving “a good guy with a gun” an opportunity to take him out.

Second, who really needs automatic weapons?  They certainly aren't necessary for hunting or "sport."  Banning the sale and ownership of automatic weapons would not only make out police and law enforcement officials safer, it would also make the public infinitely more safe.   Those who argue for the "right" to own automatic weapons often state a delusional fear of their own government, a view not born out by history or reality.

Third, tracking the sale of guns and ammunition is just plain common sense.  Guns are used in crimes, by criminals, and if the police come upon a gun at the scene of a crime, they should have a way to trace its history.  Catching criminals and delivering them to justice is in everyone’s interest.   It is also in the public interest that measures be taken to prevent gun sales to known felons and to people with psychiatric disorders.  People selling at gun shows should be required to perform as much due diligence as federally licensed gun dealers.  Conducting background checks needs on all buyers needs to be mandatory, whether they purchase guns from commercial dealers, private individuals, or at gun shows.

But tracking the sales of guns might lead to a national gun registry.  (So?  We register cars, don’t we?)  But if guns are registered then the government will come seize them.  (People who believe that are too dumb to own guns anyway.)  The focus should not be on one man’s ability to play Rambo – it should be on overall public safety.

And fourth, gun owners should be required to have liability insurance on their weapons.  We often hear the gun advocates whine about how cars kill more people than guns (they don’t), but states require that drivers have liability insurance on their vehicles.    Having liability insurance on guns also makes sense – at least to sensible people.

Several years ago I had a conversation with a very nice lady from Canada.  The conversation took place while we were both on vacation in Mexico.   The lady said that she was fearful of visiting the United States because of our attitude toward guns.  It is legal to own guns in Canada, but they are not a national obsession.

Guns are an obsession in the United States, one that borders on being diagnosable.  It is not an image that needs to be defining us as a nation in the twenty-first century.

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