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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gun Control Issue for the Masses

The issue is about both Gun Control, and the idiots who abuse their right to bare arms. Let's break it down from both sides; You have firearm manufacturers who are producing and distributing millions of guns per year, for sale in the United States. At the same time you have over 250 million guns in the United States already. If I were a smart woman, and I am, I would say this is probably a big reason for the easy access to firearms by people who are incompetent, homicidal, or both. To put a very fine point on it, guns are everywhere and more are manufactured every year.

Law's surrounding the ability to acquire and possess firearms vary like a patchwork quilt across the United States. From states where you can purchase guns without background checks, to states where there are so many restrictions for some it would be cost prohibitive, there is absolutely no uniformity of law regarding firearm acquisition and possession. Lobby Ideologues like the NRA or Handgun-Free America, Inc who are diametrically opposed to one another leave no room for a common sense middle ground on the issue. In turn the politicians they solicit, the political parties that support them in their party platforms, or the millions of mindless ideological automatons who follow one political party or another are unable to come to a middle ground of common sense on the issue.

Recent statements by the NRA said, "We should have armed police/security in every single school". The first thing I thought is Great, just what we need trigger happy TSA-style cops or rent-a-cop's, patrolling the schools and bullying students. I guess we should make kids wear uniforms, have identical haircuts, and read from government-approved conservative propaganda too, and go the whole hog while we are at it. A US style Hitlerjugend. Now I understand my Hyperbolic tirade aside, the Hitlerjugend was overdoing it, but the sentiment is very real. Do we really need to take the step of a police state by bringing armed people into our schools. We already criminalize everything, all this is going to do is cause unnecessary problems between a gung-ho Pat Garrett and a kid who is being a kid. For the NRA to put out this kind of statement, highlights their refusal to find a common sense solution to the very real problem of gun violence.

I see the problem like this; there are to many guns, available to too many people who are not responsible enough, or mentally competent enough to possess them. Guns which should be available only to military-style forces, are readily available to these people, and handguns are so prevalent I'm surprised we don't trip and fall over the sheer number of them. Yes, some criminals have guns, that is why law enforcement carries firearms. Yes, responsible and mentally competent gun people should have the ability to possess firearms, for defense. Yes, hunters should be allowed hunting rifles. Yes, concealed carry permits should be allowed to those who are competent and responsible. Most liberals understand these points and do not take exception to them.

Part of the problem is groups like the NRA who push for legislation to make purchasing and owning a gun so easy, irresponsible or mentally incompetent people are able to acquire weapons, and either themselves or their children then use those weapons inappropriately. Most people are not taught respect for firearms, and many people who own firearms do not take the proper precautions to ensure their arms are locked up appropriately. Another part of the problem is an ideology which refuses to find common sense, middle ground compromises on the issue.

The issue of Children using weapons, is the responsibility of the parents who should monitor their children's activities, and properly secure their firearms. Adults who commit crimes with guns, should never have been allowed to purchase guns in the first place, and a lax system of laws has made it far too easy for these people to do this. Gun companies should not be producing millions of guns per year and distributing them for sale, when there are already hundreds of millions of guns available.

I personally own a rifle, and plan to acquire a LTCF in my state. I enjoy visiting a local gun range and sampling different firearms, and have had training to use various firearms from the Military. I don't agree this issue has to be all or nothing and I've given it serious thought. I think there are Common sense things we can do to minimize incidents of gun violence.

For starters; Ammunition should be strictly controlled and monitored: if bullets are more difficult to obtain it may help deter the next shooter. This doesn't mean bullets should be impossible to get, but we could treat the sale of ammunition in a similar way to the way we treat the sale of Sudafed, or the way we monitor the prescription of narcotic pain killers. Gun Amnesty programs should be in every county in the country, with appropriate and genuine positive reinforcements to encourage participation. Getting excess firearms off the streets goes a long way toward reducing gun violence.

The Penal system should be overhauled, taken away from a privatized for-profit system, and be designed and geared toward rehabilitative services, rather than human warehousing; Similarly, The mental health system in the United States should also be overhauled, taken away from a privatized for-profit system which medicates people, and dumps them on the corner, while making off like a one-armed bandit on their insurance or off the taxpayers dime. Address the real issues surrounding mental health and make sure these people are taken care of and cared for.

People should not be allowed to own AR15's, AK47's, M16's or other assault weapons, unless that person is a veteran, works in law enforcement, or has a background in tactical weapons training. These weapons are designed to inflict multiple casualties, not to hunt animals; Therefore, they have no place in civilian life in the hands of people who are not properly trained to handle them.

It is also important to note; Personal Responsibility plays a part in this discussion as well. People who own firearms and do not keep them properly secured, out of the reach of children are as culpable as the child, when that child takes their weapon and uses it. Parents who do not properly monitor their children's activities, who claim they had no idea what was going on are as culpable as the child. Remember folks, Children are not fully mentally developed, they may have a knowledge of Right and Wrong from their own perspective; However, there are differences in the way children view potential consequences compared to Adults. While they do have to accept responsibility for their actions, treating them the same as you would an adult is antithetical to a just and enlightened society.

There you have it Folks, it is what it is.