Over on Facebook someone I know and respect wrote this in response to a local newspaper op-ed on the failures of gun control to prevent high-profile shooting incidents:
We can’t continue with the argument that because we can do little, we should do nothing. Sooner or later, another bigger, badder incident will happen and in a panic, folks will do the wrong thing. Heck, the 68 control act is an example. Do you think for a minute that a political assassination or two won’t rob you of support in congress PDQ?
We simply can no longer allow mentally unstable folk to possess/purchase firearms. Unfortunately, we will be forced to change the status quo a bit and attempt to judge the competency of individuals before they purchase. For lack of a better term, I’ll use a loaded one–a firearms ownership ID.
Could all of the recent list of scumbags have obtained their legally purchased firearms if they, say, were required to have two or three letters of reference to sound mind and good character? Is it really too much to require that a facility for locking up firearms in the home be required?
Obvious, wording and such for laws must be carefully crafted such that devious individuals do not use such laws to abridge rights. But I believe it’s doable. Also, we seem to forget about just what Reagan did with the machine gun import/manufacture ban, i.e., he bargained for lifting of other restrictions in the bill. Distasteful as that is to “purists”, he knew his politics.
We absolutely need recourse if firearm possession is restricted. True and meaningful relief from disability and a fair process developed for appeal of such matters.
That a citizen should lose possession rights during a divorce is an affront. That a non-violent felon is disbarred from possession forever, is an affront. That a fully automatic firearm costs tens of thousands of dollars is an affront. That I need to trade through a licensed dealer is an affront. That the government is using an axe to cleave off thousands of “prohibited” possessors is an affront.
But all these “affronts” are not the fault of government, they are the fault of the people–those few people who have lost their morale compass and abused their right to keep and bear arms.
If you truly believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.
Then what you insist on is a death match which we will inevitable lose. The society will continue to deteriorate and the people in their panic will vote for restrictions in search of safety. There is no Constitutional right to keep and bear arms–only what 5 clowns on the Supreme Court say. It is an accepted concept that many rights are subject to reasonable restrictions, but what’s reasonable? Whatever 5 justices say. We are one justice and one court case away from catastrophe.
You know me, I don’t need to present my bona fides to anyone.
We suggest no potential solutions to the mentally unbalanced obtaining firearms, in that manner we are the same as the opposition–intransigent and unwilling to discuss potential solutions to what we freely admit is a people problem. I know from my personal experience and others in the community that there are any number of folk we run into that we would never sell a gun to or trust them with such. Yet we support their unrestricted right to walk into a store and buy a firearm? Do we? Should we?
My suggestion is to attempt to approach the people problem directly without depending as much as possible on government whose methods of separating good from bad are crude and flawed at best and devious and disingenuous at worse. The best defense is said to be a good offense.
What I hear is that it won’t work, but few alternative suggestions. What we are experiencing plays right into the hands of prohibitions who jump on every opportunity to carve out classes of prohibited possessors in order to reach their goal of complete prohibition. The most recent, returning vets and SS recipients. There will be more.
Prohibitions play the long game. We saw a similar strategy wrt smoking. When the number of smokers reached a manageable level, approximately 25%, we saw a full court push to prohibition. We smoke now simply because it produces obscene tax revenue.
I simply offer suggestions and present some themes for discussion, not a fully laid out plan. If you have other suggestions for vetting firearms owners, then make them.
And if we submit to “firearms ownership IDs” we will still lose, only FASTER.
Here’s an alternative for you: Instead of applying for a “firearms ownership ID,” how about the State runs a full background check on you when issuing a State ID: driver’s license, whatever. If you’re a prohibited person, that ID gets a “No Guns” symbol – you know, the pistol in the international circle with a slash through it. That way, if you go buy a gun, the seller – FFL or private person – asks to see your ID and if it doesn’t have that symbol, they’re free to sell to you. If you’re slapped with a restraining order, arrested for domestic violence, whatever, you’re required to turn in your ID for new ID. If you don’t, a warrant is issued for your arrest until you do, AND they can force you to divest yourself from whatever you own (as they can now, but never seem to bother to).
That way, the government knows only who’s eligible and who’s not. Not specifically who legally OWNS guns, and who does not.
Will this prevent nut jobs from buying guns? Well the “War On (Some) Drugs” has done such a marvelous job of stopping people from getting stoned, I suspect that your local nutjob can probably score a Glock from the guy he gets his Oxycodone from, but it is better, I think, than your option.
I’m not happy invoking Godwin here, but fucking volunteering to sew a yellow star on my clothes because I’m a law-abiding gun owner? No. Gun ownership IS a right. It should only be denied through adjudication of either criminal acts or mental disability. I shouldn’t have to prove that I’m qualified to buy a gun, the government should have to prove I’m NOT. And if we volunteer to identify ourselves to the government, when (not if) the next or the next or the next heinous act occurs, well, I’ll let Charles T. Morgan, at the time Director of the Washington office of the ACLU said in Senate testimony in 1975:
I have not one doubt, even if I am in agreement with the National Rifle Association, that that kind of a record-keeping procedure is the first step to eventual confiscation under one administration or another.
The only people the government can disarm are the ones they KNOW have guns. I have no doubt they know I do, but I also have no doubt they don’t know exactly what or how many I do. And I won’t be informing them. Certainly not voluntarily.