Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aurora and gun control

I've written about gun control before, in regards to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, and that can be found here. What is important to remember is that while I support the Second Amendment's incorporation to the several States, I do not necessarily approve of the free-roaming nature of no gun control at all, and I think that is a direct contributor to gun culture in the USA. It comes down to a difference between a respect for constitutional law and a desire to see things changed for the better.

I don't think anyone will ever convince Americans to give up guns, and I wouldn't dare to try that. What I'd like is to see Americans agree on responsible gun control. Gun culture is a pervading force in America, and one that has caused irrefutable harm to its people - the Aurora massacre is the most recent, but by all means not the most prevalent, of such instances.

What is responsible gun control? To me, responsible gun control means two things: regulating the purchaser, but also, regulating the supplier. Gun control should have two aims: educating all gun owners constantly and ensuring they are responsible, and secondly, making sure guns stay off the streets reasonably. These are two separate thoughts, but combined, they establish a careful basis by which most Americans can still own the guns they want.

Aurora was a failure of the legal purchasing system, because someone who was intending to commit mass murder purchased an assault rifle and a 100 round drum that he used to commit a very startling crime. He bought these weapons legally, simply because he wanted them. This shouldn't be allowed. Legal gun sales must be restricted, and they must ensure that the only people who own powerful weapons are those with both a) a reason, and b) constantly upgraded training and safety certifications. The government has a clear reason to require both "cool-down" periods, security checks, and reasonable restrictions on who can purchase and own a gun. Having a sport license for an assault rifle is reasonable, and should be maintained. I'm not even advocating that we ban them, just restrict them. If you buy a weapon of that type, you should be licensed to do so - and there should be a careful limit on such purchases, as well. Reasonably, you don't need 15 AR-15s.

The invariable argument here is that anyone who really wants a weapon of this style can get one from street dealers, and there is some truth to this. However, that's why I think gun control also requires a close watch on the legal dealers. Prohibition failed for alcohol, and is failing for marijuana, because those things can be made in your basement, and there's no way to actually stop people from doing that. I haven't quite checked, but I'm pretty sure you can't assemble an AK-47 in your bathtub. Most guns were legal guns to start with - very few have been illegally imported from over the border. Most guns used in US crimes were made in the USA or legally imported to the USA by gun dealers.

Guns enter the criminal populace in three ways - stolen shipments, reselling to criminals after a legal seller, or through crooked gun dealers. ATF has estimated that crooked gun dealers are one of the biggest ways illegal guns hit the streets, followed by gun shows which resell weapons to anyone with cash. Shutting down those styles of gun shows plus hammering crooked gun dealers seems the best way to slow the flow of automatics and assault rifles - as well as making sure such weapons can't be bought or even stored in-store. That would ensure no thug from the street can pay a guy an extra couple hundred to hook him up with that sweet automatic pistol, because the arms aren't in-store.

Of course, gun nuts will insist that the Second Amendment means they can own whatever they want, whenever they want. Luckily, the Supreme Court has disagreed with them. All rights in the USA have reasonable restrictions on them, even the right to vote. Too bad the gun lobby is so powerful that nobody will do what I've suggested. At least, not talk about it during an election year.

No comments:

Post a Comment