I have seen people pose the question which is more important, your guns or your kids? Well, I ask you this; which is more important to you, a couple extra dollars out of your check to ensure all Americans, including you and your family, have access to healthcare, including mental, or the life of your children? Mental illness is no longer someone else’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem. That is, if we don’t want to continue to see mass murders happen.
We also definitely need some common sense gun control, but realize, this won’t solve our mass murder problem. If a crazy person wants to kill lots of people, they will find the tool they want to use to execute their plan. But, reasonable and rational regulations can prevent ignorant, less responsible people, or some people planning on doing harm to large numbers of people from owning firearms, or being able to carry out their plan. Here are a few ideas I have for gun regulations.
First, we need federal gun recall laws. We have recall laws for everything from children’s toys to vehicles, but not a single recall law for guns or gun related products. Gun manufacturers have had design flaws the led to accidental deaths. The people involved were paid off and silenced.
Second, the federal government needs to track all gun and ammo sales. They should make official inquires whenever large purchases are made. I am even open to the idea of putting a cap on the amount of ammo one individual can purchase at one time or during a short period of time. Since the ammo is being tracked, it is possible to deny ammo sales to an individual, no matter where they buy it. The tracking should include gun shows and individual sales or inheritance.
Third, every first time gun owner should be required to take a class on gun safety, marksmanship and laws. Everyone who owns a gun should be required to have a federal permit and take this class, along with a background check, which would also include a search of a mental health database. This would ensure that everyone who owns a firearm has at least basic training in how to safely use it.
Fourth, we should ban the manufacture and sale of all ammo clips or cartridges that hold more than 10 rounds, unless they are for government use. That would make the sale of every assault rifle illegal, but not necessarily put all of the companies who have sprung up who modify and make them now. They would be hard at work making clips that only hold 10 rounds, since none of these guns currently come with clips that small. In order to understand my logic, you must realize that the only difference with an assault rifle verses a pistol is the number of rounds in the magazine or cartridge. Both of these weapons are meant for close range, but without a magazine capable of holding large numbers of rounds, assault rifles are effectively turned into big pistols.
Last, we need to gut the power of lobbying groups in all areas and levels of our government. By doing this, we remove much of the power that business has over our government. This will effectively diminish the power the NRA and other gun lobbyist groups have.
For the sake of argument, let’s pretend guns weren’t around. Bombs are easy to make using ingredients that can be bought at a grocery store. If you doubt me, I know for a fact that all it takes to make a pressure bomb is some tin foil, a glass container and a chemical that can be found in any home improvement or grocery. Instead of being armed to the teeth, this disturbed young man could have just strapped a bomb to his chest and walked in the school. Depending on the type of bomb he created, the death toll could have been much worse.
The problem is not the tool used, in this case, a gun. The problem is our lack of mental health screenings and access to preventative healthcare for everyone. Every single one of these horrible incidents would have been prevented with hands on, observant parents or mental health screenings. Each one of these disturbed young men showed signs that they were mentally disturbed, but our system is so broken that no one noticed.
We were attacked on 9/11 and we had advanced notice of this attack, but we ignored the intelligence. We created sweeping laws to ensure that this would not happen again. We have had many mass killings by mentally disturbed young men, yet we have never once asked ourselves, how do we ensure that we don’t miss the signs before the next young man goes on a killing spree?
The answer to the question I posed above is mental health screenings. These would be part of free general health screenings for everyone. Along with ensuring anyone who has any type of violent tendencies or mental health issues gets the help and treatment they need. By treating them, they are far less likely to use any number of deadly tools to commit mass murder.
The simple truth is that guns are ingrained in our culture. We will never get rid of them, at least not without far more bloodshed or a civil war. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t regulate them, in an attempt to lessen the death and injuries they cause.
These mass killings are a result of a broken society. We are a society that almost worships violence. We have become desensitized to it. Now, for most of us, this is no big deal, but for a small number, this can give them the ideas they need to cause lots of damage and death. We are a society of those who have it all and those who have almost nothing. We are a society that shuns mental illness and denies there’s a problem. We are a society where justice is based on the amount of money in ones wallet. All of these things contribute to our ills. If we cure the infection, the symptoms go away, without taking away freedom for the masses.