Gun Control – Yes or No?

GunsI’ve been thinking about writing on the subject of gun control for a while now. It is certainly top of mind for many people in the United States these days and rightly so. For some people in the United States, on both sides of the gun debate, it is their number one “issue” every day of the year.

It was a couple of articles in today’s edition of the Minneapolis Star & Tribune that finally prompted me to add my two cents on the topic.

Before we begin let me set the record straight. I am a gun owner. The most liberal among us would call me a gun nut, the people I might be tempted to call a gun nut would say what I own are nothing more than toys. Some people hate all things gun related and some people love all things gun related.

Such is the emotion that surrounds this important debate. As with most topics that are worth debating it is that emotion that makes the debate so unfruitful.

The first story I noticed in the paper was the story of a man who murdered his mother in 1995 with a shotgun when he was just 14 years old. He was found to be insane and was committed to an institution for the criminally insane. Under both state and federal law if he was ever released he would be forbidden from ever buying or owning a gun again.

Well, he was released, and there are NO RECORDS to indicate exactly when. Nice isn’t it, they really aren’t sure just when he got out, that would indicate to me that they also can’t say it was okay to let him out. Was he cured or not?

Well, apparently not.

In the time since his release he has been acquiring guns, “legally” purchased at local gun shops. A LOT of guns, the paper rightly described it as an arsenal. He just lied on his permit application, switched his first and middle names and presto – he’s good to go.  He managed to acquire 13 guns, including semi-automatic rifles, an AK-47, a Tommy gun, assorted shotguns and handguns, including a .50-caliber Desert Eagle.

Then he posted a photo on his Facebook page of all his guns laid out on a table. A local sheriff’s office saw the photo and recognized the name of the person as someone who was forbidden to own any weapon, much less this stockpile.

When the deputies arrived at his home, the same home where 18 years earlier he had murdered his mother, they discovered letters he had written (apparently to no one) that talked about the “monster” within him that wanted to kill, and kill and kill.

I wish I could say that the paper reported this was an isolated incident but apparently not being able to legally purchase guns in Minnesota is no hindrance to “legally” purchasing guns in Minnesota. The loopholes are so big you could drive a tank through them.

Why would we even need “debate” about closing those loopholes? Sorry folks, but I don’t want convicted murderers, crazy ones at that, standing next to me at the gun range blasting away.

The next story would almost be funny if it wasn’t so ridiculous. On Saturday, January 23,  2013, five people were shot at various gun shows around the U.S. All accidentally, and all will fully recover. But five people, in a day?

I probably wouldn’t have paid that much attention to this story except for the part about the guy who had just purchased himself a used 45 caliber handgun. Apparently one of the first things he did was point it at his business partner and pull the trigger. Well, guess what – unknown to the guy who purchased the gun it came with bullets and the bullets were in the gun. His business partner is hospitalized but recovering.

Now here’s the part that really caught my eye. It’s illegal to bring a loaded gun to that gun show but the person who did will likely never be prosecuted because no one knows his name. It was a simple cash transaction. No records and no ID required! We would probably never know who bought it either if the knucklehead knew anything about handling a gun.

Could we at least get a name of the seller? Just a name? Why would we even need to debate about that?

I went up to my neighborhood store for my morning diet coke this morning and there was a guy in front of me who looked to be about 40 years old. He was buying cigarettes, they asked for his ID and he showed it to them.

So remember, when buying cigarettes be sure to bring your ID, when buying a gun, be sure to leave it at home.

I do not want more gun control laws passed in the United States. I will not surrender my guns, I will not stop supporting those who choose to owns guns, lots of guns. It is a basic right of every law abiding citizen of the United States. It’s fun to target shoot, hunting is a great sport and having a gun for self-defense is a very reasonable thing to do.

BUT….

Can we be reasonable people? Can we FULLY enforce the laws currently on the books? Can we track the buyers and sellers of guns in the manner that we track the buyers and sellers of certain cough syrups and cold medicines in the United States?

Can we ask people for a legal ID before we let them set up their table and start selling guns at the local gun show?

Worried about the “government” collecting all the guns? Stop deluding yourself; you and I know that is NEVER going to happen – 300 million guns are not going to go quietly into the night.

This really shouldn’t be so hard.

One last question to my fellow Conservative Republicans before you start ripping on me for this post ….  We want to pass “Voter Rights” laws that require people to show an ID before they vote (which I support) but showing an ID before buying a gun at a gun show is unconstitutional?

Help me out with that one.

 

 

19 thoughts on “Gun Control – Yes or No?

  1. My husband was a gunsmith and what some would call a gun nut. He had many guns of all kinds. If he were alive today, he would be furious at the newly proposed gun laws. But I don’t think he would be opposed to showing an ID at a gunshow. To me that is a no-brainer. Guns should never be sold to anyone anywhere without a valid ID and a background check. It was scary to me to see so many people at gunshows buying guns who normally would not buy guns. Your account of people accidentally shooting themselves and one guy accidently shooting his business partner just goes to show that owning a gun is not just a right, it is a responsibility. New gun owners should want to be trained in the proper handling of a gun before they purchase one, but they are rushing to buy because they are afraid the government will make it more difficult for them to buy later. All this political debate about guns is making the problem worse. If our politicians really care about the safety of our children, they should take a step back and look at the laws that are already on the books and figure out how to enforce those laws. Enforcing those laws would save lives. Laws that ban any type of gun or ammo will not keep the legal guns out of the hands of criminals and that is what we really need to focus on. One more thing…I love the way you put it…300 million guns are not going to go quietly into the night. I,for one, plan to keep mine for protection.

    • Thanks for the comments my friend. It is a little scary to see people who never touched a gun running around with a loaded weapon. It just shows what happens when people fear losing their rights.

      • Amie how Bongay says:

        You are so right. People who have never been touched by tragedies of guns or crime; will never understand the impact of an unregulated industry like the gun industry on people who are facing such tragedy. I pray that God will comfort them.

  2. Thank you for a blog that makes sense when it comes to guns. We never blame the car when a criminally insane (intoxicated) person kills innocent people, why is it any different with a gun?

    • You make a good point, there is just so much emotion attached to the gun debate that it’s hard for either side to have a serious discussion. Both sides have good points, both sides seem unwilling to listen to the other. I wonder what it will finally take for real compromise to happen…

  3. This issue is probably one of the most divisive in the US. As divisive as is complicated.

    But I’m surprised Steve that you haven’t mentioned anything about the tens (if not hundreds ) of children who have been killed or severely wounded over the years in schools, and other places by nutters?????? Psychos, who should never be let to own a gun, crossbow, or indeed any other dangerous weapon.
    Surely, if your son or daughter or anyone close to you had been a victim, I doubt you would look on this issue quite as optimistically as you appear to do. In my view, the ‘system’ of gun ownership is too liberal, almost non-existent, and as you correctly allude, you could “drive a tank” through the massive loopholes.

    A safer option for everyone, is to immediately ban sale of further weapons without a strict licensing procedure. Firstly you need to know who is buying these things. And whether they have the right mental frame of mind and responsibility to do so. Its probably a bit like being a pilot. You can’t let any nutter train to be a commercial pilot unless they went through the structure and earned the hours, unless they were fit in that capacity. Gun ownership should be like that.
    Also maybe increasing the age limit, and storage conditions of ownership could add additional levels of security. In other words, how can a 14 year old have gained access to the gun? Shouldn’t it be kept locked somewhere and the access severly resticted? shouldn’t that be a pre-licensing condition?
    I think the US system will eventually get there, but a restriction and rigid licensing, possibly over a number of years of assessment, before you are permitted to own a lethal weapon is essential. It will save lives and reduce the unnecessary deaths.

    There’s a different dimension to this. As a Faith person (who is aware that there are many Americans gun owners who are devout Christians), and in view of the new testament dispensation, I struggle to reconciliate the concept that God is the protector of Christians, with gun ownership. I struggle to believe that in Christian warfare of casting out devils and fighting demonic spirits in a spiritual realm, there’s in fact a physical dimension of semi-automatics and .50 calibers.

    • I appreciate your comments. What you should know is that someone VERY close to me has indeed been a victim of gun violence. I’ll never forget the phone call late one night and hearing my dad’s voice telling me that my brother had been shot and killed.

      This is a tough issue, sadly, it’s people “with all the answers” who make it even tougher.

  4. Steve, I’m sorry to hear about your brother. I really am. In re your comment “with all the answers”, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. I didn’t mean to. And I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’m just wondering how without talk of drastic but somewhat costly measures such as introducing gun scanners in every building, or an outright ban…why are the basic things not being done?

    Considering that you can’t change all people to behave in a certain way, and in view that you can’t make people ‘to be good’ and do the right thing, all the times, how else is there to ensure that weapons don’t get into the wrong hands, or at least to SEVERELY restrict the number of weapons that get into the wrong hands, other than measures such as (i) an outright ban – and re-interpretatiopn of the constitutional right (ii) a very strict licensing regime on who gets to own a gun (iii) … ??
    Sadly, at some point, as more innocent brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters get massacred, America is going to have to squarely address this dilemma. As uncomfortable and divisive as it is, some people are going to have to be upset, for the right and sensible thing that will ensure a degree of safety to be done.

    • No offense at all. My “all the answers” reference was directed at our Vice-President who recommends that people buy the very type of weapon that killed my brother… That is his answer to gun control.

      It’s just not as simple as people think. We need to change the root cause, rid the country of the hate and anger. Sadly, the gun “issue” simply adds to it.

      • I will never understand how anyone could want to kill a child. Sadly, many children are killed and not just by guns. All the focus on guns is only addressing one of the methods that are used to accomplish this unthinkable crime. And it does nothing to address the root cause. Passing of gun laws may give some a false sense of security, but until the world is rid of all the psycho child killers, our children will never be completely safe. Why aren’t we looking at banning or restricting violence in films and video games? Those things encourage people with violent tendencies to act upon those tendencies. Some of those mass murderers killed because they were bullied in school. Why isn’t bullying being dealt with? I could go on and on. There is so much more we should be doing to make our children safer, and we are not doing those things because our focus is all on guns.

      • Not surprisingly we are of like minds on this… Until the root issues of violence in our society is dealt with the violence will continue. There was a story in the local paper about a teenager who killed a classmate – his description of the crime – “just like a video game”

  5. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date
    rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your
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    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy my blog. I post a couple of times a week and try to keep the content a little varied and fresh. I’m delighted you recognize the effort that takes.

  6. wanda says:

    Steve, thank you for a great article. I needed to do a paper on gun control and did I feel that any of the current strategies is critical to curb gun violence. If I didn’t think they were effective I had to say why. Your article or blog certainly gave me a lot of “ammunition” against gun control. Sorry about the pun.

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