But, thank God— and The Constitution—Jarod has/had the right to defend himself and our country with a semi-automatic weapon.
The saddest thing about this tragic debacle in Tucson is it will undoubtedly be repeated again and again.
My father asked, “How can a 22-year-old have anything to be that mad about given how much of life is in front of him?”
Even more poignant, another friend noted, “Funny, a guy can be unfit to join the army, but okay to own a gun.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a touch of mental illness, combined with true vitriolic rhetoric in our media and easy access to lethal weapons is a concoction that can lead to nothing good.
Beyond pledging ourselves to curbing violent-implied speech and the ongoing plight to understand mental illness, I still find it odd that owning a gun is easier than obtaining a driver’s license.
I just don’t get it... how did something as lethal as a gun (and designed for the sole purpose of killing) end up so loosely regulated—compared to operating an automobile?
Jarod and I are required to pass a test, allowing us to operate a car which requires renewal on a regular basis. Why is that? Answer: For the safety of everyone—as in “general welfare.” Yet, in the purchase a a Glock, we simply have to wait an hour or two for a background check and if we’re clean, we’ll never be bothered about it again. No testing on how to use it (never mind psychological testing), no type of insurance is required, no renewal, nothing. We can even sell the gun to someone else without any kind of background check on them... talk about a Pandora’s ammo box.
Of course, nothing is fool proof... people will continue to be killed via cars and guns whether obtained legally or illegally. Yet, imagine the extra fatalities on the road each year if anyone could legally operate a car simply because they were of age—or worse—a loaded semi truck. Sure, maybe you and I wouldn’t let our inexperienced 16-year-old drive without going through a period of careful supervision, but consider the numerous dimwits that would.
Given we have different type of operator’s license for cars, busses and trucks, why can’t we do the same for guns?
If I want to own a bolt-action hunting rifle or single-shot shot gun for hunting purposes, a simple license (something like a normal driver’s license) is all I need apply for. However, if I want to possess a semi-automatic weapon or a large-caliber weapon suited for non-hunting purposes, then my background and character will require some serious scrutinization and on a regular basis—much like driving an oversized rig.
It is certainly true that thugs will continue to obtain guns illegally, but I do believe scenarios like the one that played out in Tucson this past week would be significantly reduced if there was something in place akin to what is required in possessing a driver’s license. And, as I see it, punishment would be severe for anyone in possession of a firearm without the proper license.
Oh fuck, my 2nd Amendment rights are going to be trampled!
The NRA would like us to believe that restricting access to firearms results in elevated crime rates (i.e., “only criminals will have guns”). However, this is not supported by a substantial body of data at the national level. In countries like Japan and Great Britain—where guns are greatly restricted—deaths from guns are low, especially compared to the United States. Sadly, but not surprising, the USA is a leader in gun-related homicides.
Of course, if my proposal here is so far-fetched, perhaps we should consider the other end of the spectrum such as the gun policies of Switzerland.
Until interpreted otherwise, it is our Constitutional right to own a gun, but it is also the Constitution’s role to “promote the general welfare” of all its citizens. I’d like to believe the latter of these two carries a little more importance.