With the most recent mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut added to the list of other massacres involving guns, talk of gun control is all the rage right now. President Obama has pledged to offer a proposal on gun violence by January with the help of a group led by Vice President Joe Biden. What comes of that, if anything, remains to be seen. (Note: I wrote this without any editing, so it is just some thinking out loud…please read it as such.)
I want to go on record that I do not support the wholesale ban on the ownership of all fire-arms. In fairness, I do own a few rifles/shotguns which I have hunted with in the past. And even though I am not much of a hunter, I respect those who do like to regularly hunt. Further more, even though I do not feel any need to carry a gun for personal protection, I respect the choice of those who do so long as they do so according to local, state, and federal laws.
Having said that, I would like to see some changes to the laws regarding guns. But these changes would not prohibit the ownership but more so regulate the operation of fire-arms much like states regulate the use of vehicles. Some might object with the tired reasoning that “guns don’t kill, people do.” That is true and it is also true of vehicles too Cars don’t kill, the people who drive them do and that is why the operation of vehicles are regulated in all fifty states.
Currently, the to operate a vehicle, a drive must have obtained a state issued driver’s license that requires the applicant to be of a legal age, to successfully complete a state certified instruction and the successful passage of both a written and driving test. Once a drive has obtained a state-issued license, to legally operate a vehicle, a driver must have the vehicle properly registered and insured. And I might be wrong on this part but I don’t think any auto dealership will allow an unlicensed/uninsured driver to take a vehicle off of the lot (though that can easily be circumvented). Additionally, certain types of vehicles remain illegal for drivers to legally operate without additional licensure. For example, I have a motorcycle endorsement on my license which allows me to legally operate a motorcycle. Yet, unlike my older brother, I cannot legally operate a tractor-trailer because I do not have a “class A” driver’s license.
Although I am sure there are some angles and issues I have not thought of and considered, it seems like society could regulate the use of fire-arms in a similar manner. To begin with, a person would have to be of a certain age to legally obtain a “gun license” and to legally obtain that, they would be required to complete state certified instruction and pass both a written and field test. Insurance would also be a requirement, that way any monetary damages do not become the burden of those affected by any incident.
Further more, I am supportive of measures to severely restrict who can legally own assault rifles (e.g., AR-15) along with high-volume magazines.
I am not under any illusion that better regulation will prevent all gun related crimes from happening or any other mass-shootings from occurring. However, surely better regulation will save some tragic incidents, accidental or intentional, from happening. It has worked with automobiles (and I do not know of any sane person who would argue against state regulation of automobile operation) and so it would seem that it would work with guns as well.
Maybe I am wrong but this seems fair, both to those who desire to own fire-arms and those who want the government to do more to prevent gun related tragedies from happening. I know there are many other issues that contribute to mass-shootings and other gun-related tragedies and I don’t mean to ignore those or pretend that guns are solely to blame (for they surely are not). Further more, I have tried to be fair-minded with this “thinking out loud” post but I would love to hear what others think…just keep your replies civil please.