SOME THOUGHTS ON GUN SAFETY
SOME THOUGHTS ON GUN SAFETY
It is perhaps not the best idea to dive into a debate where emotion could overrule reason, which is very understandable in the wake of the Sandy Hook grammar school shootings, but I have contemplated the issue of gun control through the years following Columbine, Virginia Tech, and all the other senseless incidents. The first impulse following each tragedy is to wish that private gun ownership was outlawed in the U.S. Other nations, such as Great Britain, have taken such a step after mass killings, but is that realistic here, where possessing firearms has long been considered sacrosanct, and is safeguarded by the Constitution. Something needs to be done, yet would even a ban on assault weapons (by passing the obvious fact that all guns are assault weapons if used against other people) proposed by President Obama be enough? Is there a way to prevent the further proliferation of weapons so prevalent in our society, while guaranteeing the 2nd Amendment rights of responsible gun owners?
After pondering that question many times, I was finally struck by a seemingly ridiculous truth that offers a possible solution: it is easier in this country to buy a gun than it is to obtain a driver’s license. Operating a car and using a weapon recklessly are both dangerous to the public safety, but the requirements to get a driver’s license are much stricter than those for buying a gun. I have never heard a complaint that anybody’s constitutional rights were being infringed by the steps needed to be able to drive. Why not make the process to receive a gun license similar to the one for driving? If you want to purchase a weapon, you would be required to take a gun safety course, pass both a written exam on the subject, and a practical application demonstration before the instructor. After meeting the standards, you would be issued a state photo ID certifying that you are eligible to buy a gun.
A background check can be conducted before someone is permitted to enroll in the course, those with criminal records or a documented history of mental instability being denied entrance. Once the system is up and running, people who legally own guns at present would need to register for the class or turn their weapons in to authorities. License renewal could be scheduled on a 5 or 10 year basis, with a mandatory refresher course. Any assault weapons would have to be kept at a gun club or shooting range, to be used when the owner desires. There is no need to have such guns in private homes, as their only use is recreational. Such a simple thing would have saved the lives of those 20 children and their teachers. A pistol for protection or rifle for hunting could be stored at individual houses. While such a framework, or something like it, may not completely deter future mass shootings, it could decrease the number of weapons floating around, falling too often into the hands of the ill-intentioned. It also retains the constitutional privileges of conscientious gun owners for protection, recreation, and hunting. Peace to the victims, their families, and the community of Newtown, Connecticut, as well as all other towns which have endured such a horror.
JESUS IN THE SONG YOU WROTE
THE WORDS ARE STICKING IN MY THROAT
PEACE ON EARTH
HEAR IT EVERY CHRISTMAS TIME
BUT HOPE AND HISTORY WON’T RHYME
SO WHAT’S IT WORTH?
THIS PEACE ON EARTH
“PEACE ON EARTH”- U2 (2001)