I am a gun owner and I strongly believe it is time for common sense gun safety. We have now heard from the gun control crowd, and rightfully so. Being a defender of the 2nd. Amendment does not make one immune from responsibility. If gun owners do not begin to take more responsibility, more innocent Americans will needlessly die, and we will find our cherished freedom greatly reduced.
It is time to put to rest the lie that common sense gun safety measures are incompatible with the 2nd. Amendment. After all, none of our other Constitutional rights are anarchic in nature. Moving about freely is a right and cars are part of that, but we see no problem with requiring a competency test to drive a car. Why should it be different with firearms? If the firearms community is serious about protecting Americans and the 2nd. Amendment, here are four steps that they can support.
- Enforce the laws that are on the books. Had the Defense Department properly reported the Texas church shooter’s criminal background, he never would have been allowed to legally buy a gun. Has anyone at the Defense Department lost their job over this? What kind of change is being implemented as a result? What about the FBI’s lack of coordination in the case of the Florida high school shooter? We must demand accountability and transparency. These are not, “bridge to nowhere,” special interest issues that we can turn a blind eye to. This is life and death.
- We must get serious about mental health and guns. People with blatantly obvious mental health warning signs should not be able to be able to purchase a firearm. The Las Vegas shooter was reportedly taking Valium daily. It’s one thing to have a prescription for such a drug for a specific phobia like flying. But to have to take it just to get though a normal day is a sign of significant mental pain.
“Red flag” laws may be an acceptable solution. It is essentially what is used in the case of domestic violence to issue a restraining order. They are not permanent but intended to immediately protect potential victims while the appropriate parties have time to investigate. In the case of guns, an order could be issued that would restrain an individual that has been “red flagged” for known threatening behavior or specifically defined mental health risks, from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Certainly, the Las Vegas and Florida shooter should have been, “red flagged.” The Orlando nightclub shooter likely would have been as well.
- Make the legal age for a magazine with a capacity above ten, 21. Several mass shooters in the US have been under 21.
- Gun licensing and safety courses for all first-time owners should be mandatory. They should then be renewed every ten years, much like a driver’s license. As we know, it is not a major impediment to take drivers ED and get a license. It would not be any different with guns.
No set of laws will prevent every tragedy, but the preceding suggestions definitively would have helped stop some of America’s mass shooters. And they could stop future events by directly blocking access to firearms to those who should not have them.
The NRA has been disappointing, but not surprising when it comes to common sense gun safety. Let us not be fooled. It is not a valiant protector of the Constitution. It is making a mockery of it by pretending that the 2nd. Amendment lives in a vacuum that no other amendment is subject to. The NRA’s stupidity on this issue will ultimately imperil the rights of law abiding gown owners by making it more likely that a mirror opposition of their intransigence will be elected and in an act of understandable rage, Congress will vote to take most of our 2nd. Amendment rights away.
Millions of Americans rightly support the freedom to protect one’s self, to hunt and even the original intent of the 2nd. Amendment as an insurance policy against tyranny. However, none of these goals are in opposition to common sense gun laws. For the sake of those who have senselessly died and for the sake of the 2nd. Amendment, let’s work towards a more reasonable position.