Not More Guns, More Gun Safety

Once again we’re anguished over a seemingly senseless mass murder. Well, this time it’s not senseless but obviously racist. And just like every other time, gun control comes up followed immediately by calls that “now is not the time to talk about gun control.” We shouldn’t have the discussion because we are too emotional at this time. We need time to heal before making tough decisions. We shouldn’t politicize the grief of the bereaved.

The same refrain followed Columbine, the Sikh temple, Aurora, Newtown, and now the Charleston AME Church.

The gun manufacturers lobby, essentially the NRA, has sufficient clout that the Democratic party has about given up on the discussion. And yet a conservative website screams “Charleston shooting may trigger Obama gun grab.” I suspect just like the past sales of guns and ammunition will increase in the near term as the terminally paranoid feel the need for more weaponry. So be it.

It is time for the talk. It is way past time to talk about some modicum of tightening the access to guns of those who don’t deserve to have them. Neither those with a violent criminal past nor the mentally ill should have access to guns, but loop holes in the law allow that access. It is estimated that 40% of all gun transfers occur through private hands where no background check is required. Our most recent killer Dylann Roof, got his gun as a birthday present from his father. It is illegal for a private entity to transfer a gun to a felon or one under indictment for a felony unless the seller is unaware. No problem – don’t ask, don’t tell.

That is a loop hole worthy of Paul Bunyan’s belt. But it is one that could be easily fixed legislatively. Simply outlaw private gun sales. If you want to sell a gun, you sell it to a licensed gun dealer. If you want to buy a gun, you buy it from a licensed gun dealer after a background check. If you want to give a gun as a gift, give them a gift card to a licensed gun dealer. See that wasn’t so hard, was it? Is it an inconvenience, yes, but so is maintaining the brakes on your car or attaching your toilet to a sanitary sewage system.

Consider the analogy of handling of potent, potentially dangerous prescription drugs. We have through our laws agreed that the distribution of them must be tightly regulated. Just because I have a script for an opiate and therefore can legally possess the same, it doesn’t mean I can sell them to my neighbor.

There are so many guns out in circulation now that it will take some time to have an impact on the use of guns in violent crimes but it will help. And of course we can’t expect perfection. We can’t expect that all violent crime with guns will stop, but we can expect a reduction.

Nothing herein would violate that oh-so-poorly-worded 2nd amendment. In fact it would serve to improve on the “well regulated” part that is so often ignored. Once again we’re anguished over a seemingly senseless mass murder. Well, this time it’s not senseless but obviously racist. And just like every other time, gun control comes up followed immediately by calls that “now is not the time to talk about gun control.” We shouldn’t have the discussion because we are too emotional at this time. We need time to heal before making tough decisions. We shouldn’t politicize the grief of the bereaved.

The same refrain followed Columbine, the Sikh temple, Aurora, Newtown, and now the Charleston AME Church.

The gun manufacturers lobby, essentially the NRA, has sufficient clout that the Democratic party has about given up on the discussion. And yet a conservative website screams “Charleston shooting may trigger Obama gun grab.” I suspect just like the past sales of guns and ammunition will increase in the near term as the terminally paranoid feel the need for more weaponry. So be it.

It is time for the talk. It is way past time to talk about some modicum of tightening the access to guns of those who don’t deserve to have them. Neither those with a violent criminal past nor the mentally ill should have access to guns, but loop holes in the law allow that access. It is estimated that 40% of all gun transfers occur through private hands where no background check is required. Our most recent killer Dylann Roof, got his gun as a birthday present from his father. It is illegal for a private entity to transfer a gun to a felon or one under indictment for a felony unless the seller is unaware. No problem – don’t ask, don’t tell.

That is a loop hole worthy of Paul Bunyan’s belt. But it is one that could be easily fixed legislatively. Simply outlaw private gun sales. If you want to sell a gun, you sell it to a licensed gun dealer. If you want to buy a gun, you buy it from a licensed gun dealer after a background check. If you want to give a gun as a gift, give them a gift card to a licensed gun dealer. See that wasn’t so hard, was it? Is it an inconvenience, yes, but so is maintaining the brakes on your car or attaching your toilet to a sanitary sewage system.

Consider the analogy of handling of potent, potentially dangerous prescription drugs. We have through our laws agreed that the distribution of them must be tightly regulated. Just because I have a script for an opiate and therefore can legally possess the same, it doesn’t mean I can sell them to my neighbor.

There are so many guns out in circulation now that it will take some time to have an impact on the use of guns in violent crimes but it will help. And of course we can’t expect perfection. We can’t expect that all violent crime with guns will stop, but we can expect a reduction.

Nothing herein would violate that oh-so-poorly-worded 2nd amendment. In fact it would serve to improve on the “well regulated” part that is so often ignored.

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