There seemingly is no end to gun violence; and at the end of each incident, there are the usual cries for “more gun control.”
It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is a one-on-one killing or a massacre; the solution in the minds of many Americans is that stricter laws governing who can own what weapon – and under what circumstances – is the answer for prevention.
The mass shooting at the Thousand Oaks country music bar in California on Nov. 7 ended with 13 dead, including the gunman. Authorities say he killed himself as officers closed in.
Without missing a beat, civilians interviewed called for more, and stricter, gun laws – and politicians did the same. They all want more of the long arm of the law.
The problem with that is – it hasn’t, and doesn’t, work.
California as long been a model for firearm regulations. In fact, it is the only state with an “A” rating in the annual gun law scorecard conducted by the Gifford’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
So much for stricter gun laws.
The California shooting followed the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue which left 11 people dead, and despite the fact that there were other shootings in between, it was the deadliest mass shooting since 17 students and faculty were killed at the high school in Parkland, Florida in February.
It’s not a pretty picture of what’s going on; and despite all the talk and words written, no one seems to have an answer to how to deal with this. They all seem s to end with: We need more gun control.
But do we?
The California gunman was a Marine veteran who had a legally purchased Glock 45-calibre handgun. It was modified with an extended magazine – which, while not “legal,” is not illegal, because the law limiting magazine capacity is on hold due to a legal challenge.
There were questions raised after the shooting that the man had mental issues. But despite the fact that California has a law to allow restraining orders on gun ownership for family members with mental issues, nothing was done in the case of this shooter.
Why not? It was known he was troubled.
I remember the shooting in 1989 of five school children at an elementary school in Stockton, California and the deaths of eight people at a San Francisco law office in 1983. Politicians went crazy about the guns and it led to a flurry of new gun regulations, which have only increased over the years.
Assault weapons were banned. Purchases of guns were made dependent on buyers having safety certificates, taking written tests and enduring a 10-day waiting periods for the purchase.
That’s not all. Background checks are required and purchases of handguns are limited to one per month. Cheap “Saturday nite specials” are banned. A unique law prohibits convicted criminals and the mentally ill from having guns. A database automatically tracks such individuals.
All gun dealers must be licensed and are required to keep records of all purchases, and that includes purchases of ammunition (only allowed from a licensed dealer).
If you want a concealed carry permit, it depends on the sheriff or police chief in your jurisdiction. Some may allow it, others may not.
If you want to buy a gun – a long gun or a hand gun – you have to be 21 years of age; plus, of course, all the other requirements about safety courses and tests. And yes, fees.
All of these make California one of the most restrictive states in the country concerning gun ownership; and yet, after a mass shooting the usual comments from politicians are heard. After the country bar shooting in Thousand Oaks, California Senator Dianne Feinstein (long a gun-control advocate) said that the mass shootings have one thing in common: “Easy access to guns.”
Her answer to the shooting is that despite California’s strict regulations, we need “stronger federal gun regulations” – because without them, “there’s little California can do to keep guns coming in from other states.”
She didn’t address the fact that the shooter bought his gun legally in California.
Of course, there are those who would like nothing better than outlawing all firearms – whether those for personal protection or those for hunting and other shooting sports. They love to tout the fact that guns are outlawed in the UK.
But that hasn’t stopped crime. The weapon of choice now, is the knife. As expected, there are those who now want to ban knives – even steak and kitchen knives! And street crime is up.
Then there’s Australia – touted for the confiscation of some 659,000 weapons from citizens in reaction to a mass shooting in Tasmania. Since then, all types of crimes have increased.
So much for gun control reducing crime.
What needs to be done is keep guns out of the hands of people with mental issues – whether from illness, or anger, or alcohol or just a personality problem.
Healthy Americans have the constitutional right to have and use firearms; not to kill people wantonly, but for protection and for sporting activities.
I have never understood how anyone could have the right to tell someone they don’t have the right to protect themselves and their family.
In my view, that would not only be illegal – it would be immoral.