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Gun Control

by on March 29, 2018

Gun Control

by Marco M. Pardi

DISCLOSURE:

I have been a gun owner since age 15. As a highly trained professional I carried various firearms for years. I currently have, and regularly use a Concealed Carry license.

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Some people like to say gun control is using both hands. Cute. But on a serious note, I am a strong advocate of gun control, as I will spell out below. I am also serious about getting guns out of the wrong hands. When I read or see television coverage of, say, two drug dealers shooting each other to death in a deal gone bad my reaction is: Two down, more to go. When I read of an armed robber shot dead by an armed citizen in a convenience store, or a home invader shot dead by the home owner it’s, Hooray for our side. And when a trophy hunter gets stomped by an elephant or munched by a lion or bear, it’s three cheers for the home team. You get the idea.

But I am also appalled by the very obvious poor training “sworn professionals” receive. The media are filled with examples of police officers using their firearms inappropriately, usually with fatal consequences. Less obvious are the risks one runs in going to a neighborhood shooting range. I’ve seen too many examples of inadequate or absent firearms safety and oversight, including among police officers. One can only wonder at the general civilian population and their capacity to safely handle firearms.

Having said all that, the United States have a problem with firearms. One sector of the population holds up the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as if the hand of God wrote it. Never mind that the Republican owned Supreme Court chose to overlook the part about “a well regulated militia”. Another sector, quite likely the majority, wants much more control over guns.

But control over guns is not the only answer, or even the best answer. There are already literally millions of guns in private hands. Imposing controls on the further distribution of guns, especially certain types such as “military style assault weapons” is a visible and partially effective measure. The production and sale of “assault weapons” should be banned. These are fantasy weapons, for adult children who want to play soldier; none of them are approved for military issue and use and only an idiot would keep one for “home defense” or hunting. But, I have some additional suggestions:

  1. Just as we license drivers, we must license all gun owners. The purchase of any firearm, of any kind, would require a license. This would be dependent upon successful completion of a thorough background check and a firearms safety course, paid for by the prospective gun owner. This license must be renewed every five years, all costs borne by the owner.
  2. So how do we enforce this? Enact federal law that no ammunition, of any kind or caliber, can be sold without the licensed seller verifying that the purchaser has a valid and current license. A firearm without ammunition is just an expensive paper weight.
  3. Extend these laws to private sales. Gunshows are highly valued by people wanting to get around background checks. One can go into a gun show, approach a dealer or a private individual who has rented a booth, and “step outside the show” for an unregistered purchase of a gun seen inside the show. So, specify that violation of the federal law banning the sale of a firearm or ammunition to an unlicensed individual carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
      1. There is a significant home industry in re-loading

        ammunition. Subject the sale of equipment and supplies, such as bullets, primers, and propellants to the same licensing requirement spelled out above.

      2. There is a growing interest in and ability to fabricate firearms from synthetic materials by using 3-D printers. Declare the manufacture, possession, or sale of these firearms to be illegal under federal law and carrying a mandatory prison sentence.

Many readers will say these measures do not address the problem of so many guns and so much ammunition already out there. That is largely true. But it is completely true that going apartment to apartment and house to house to register or confiscate these materials is out of the question. Would you like to do it? I bet not. Instead, we are faced with the classic Pig in the Python, the pig being the ammunition and the python being the guns. As the existing ammunition is used the pig moves through the python coming out the other end as useless shell casings. When people use all their ammunition and find they cannot acquire more without a thorough background check and license the frequency of use will decline. Eventually, if the laws are enforced, the problem will solve itself. Some people may dislike that word “eventually”. Welcome to the real world.

For now, the “real” world of America is the unreal world generated by Hollywood and fiction books. It is the armed frontiersman, the itinerant armed cowboy on the ever present horse, the homesteaders who are crack shots. Of course, none of these ever seems to run out of ammunition. The 2nd Amendment was written during the times of flintlock muskets. It had a very specific political goal in mind, and it had specific conditions attached. Contrast that with National Rifle Association practices which enroll children as young as six and place little or no limits on the types of available firearms.

Some people will say my suggestions are Draconian and will hurt the responsible gun owners. Let me personally assure you of something: Getting shot hurts a lot worse.

I’ve kept this entry short because I do not want to turn away the reader with arcane discussions about weapons technology or Byzantine legal systems. I also hope that, since it is short but to the point, readers will take the initiative to respond.

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14 Comments
  1. Mark Dohle permalink

    Thank you for a clear rational stance on this issue. Of course, like drugs, even if taking guns out of the hands of private citizens were implemented and the public went along with it…..yet…..there is always the black market where anything can be bought. The way our culture is today it is a lose, lose proposition I believe.

    Selling assault weapons is really over the top. Sort of like me buying a tank so that I can deal with offensive drivers…..yes it limps LOL….could you imagine tanks on our highways? Well perhaps people would be less offensive….driving a tank could bring out the cave man in me as well, so the problem would continue. My inner caveman is just under the surface.

    • Thank you, Mark. I agree with your point about the black market, yet I do feel that strict control over the availability of ammunition is a workable way of rendering guns inoperable except through legal means.

      So, I’m sitting here with visions of you driving a tank out the monastery gates and clearing traffic all the way to the VA. That would be a show stopper, and the You Tube video would set a new record.

      • Mark Dohle permalink

        LOL, even a movie deal. Hopefully, you are right about more control for guns. The way the news handles it, I believe is not helpful. Instant fame for the one who kills innocents.

        Peace
        Mark

      • I agree about the instant fame, and apparently the news media are catching on. There are attempts to downplay the identity of the perpetrators. Still, the public demands its thrills.

  2. My brother-in-law is part of a tank corp. in a WWII reenactment group, so I find Br. Mark’s comment particularly amusing. I can see him standing in the open gun turret, his long beard blowing in the wind, with a wicked grin on his face.

    Gun control is a subject which raises its ugly head often in my house. I don’t like guns, but that is primarily because I possess no great skill in their use. My husband, on the other hand, learned to use guns at a young age. We own several small arms, and I don’t mind awfully if other sane and responsible persons do the same.

    Rifles and shotguns used for hunting are one issue. Pistols used for self-defense are acceptable, but any weapon designed solely for the rapid-fire extermination of other humans is not. These weapons have no business being in the hands of civilians.

    I support the 2nd amendment, but not rabidly so. The world in which we live is no longer the world in and for which it was written.

    I truly did not think there was a viable solution to the problem, but you have proven me wrong, I am fully in favor of your suggestions. They might not keep guns out the hands of all the untrained crazies, but over time it should make a difference. I get that criminals don’t follow the law, and that regulating private sales could prove problematic, but making these sales more difficult, as well as prosecuting those who break the laws, would certainly be a good start.

    • Thank you, Rose. I think one of the hardest problems to face is the social desire for problems to be solved instantly, and when they are not the attention quickly shifts to the next story of the day.

  3. Gary permalink

    When Americans I meet tell me they have conceal and carry license and use it, I have only one question — why?

    • That is a good question which should be asked. In my case, I’m 75 years old and look it. I walk with a cane from old military injuries. I walk slowly. I have a disabled parking sticker. I sometimes have to travel in or through high crime areas. In other words, I’m a very visible target.

      I don’t know where you have your second home in the U.S., but the Atlanta area is a significant risk for people like me.

    • Gary, I once worked in an office where an outside supervisor open-carried a handgun. I wondered if a criminal might grab it out of his holster one day. I also wondered why he didn’t have a conceal & carry permit. Was he being a bit showy, or deterring would-be thieves (he would have had materials on his truck)? I guess I’ll never know.

      • Thanks for getting in here, Dana. You raise an interesting question. Deterrence is often preferable to having to use the firearm, and then having to fill out all the paperwork. But, as you suggest, poorly secured weapons are often turned against the owner.

  4. Gary permalink

    Marco, my second home is in Florida where plenty of whackos live. I do my best to avoid high crime areas, if I know about them. My biggest fear is somebody descending into “road rage” on the highway, so I am the most courteous driver you will ever meet. I am also a senior, not too many years younger than you, although I can still keep up in a game of doubles tennis. I don’t kid myself, however, I would be no match in a face to face with some younger able bodied individual.

    Still and all, as a Canadian, I could not see myself drawing a gun from a holster and shooting someone.

    In the past, I have been confronted by people who have threatened me with bodily harm. I have always used my good speaking skills to “disarm” them. I do realize that the same would not apply to some drug-addled thug, and on the occasion I was so confronted I was able to walk away without incident.

    I am always careful where I park (where there are plenty of other people and good sight lines) and I survey my surroundings to ensure that no suspicious individuals are lurking nearby, both before I exit the vehicle and when I return to it.

    • Thank you, Gary. Your protocol should be taken as suggestions for self preservation by more people. One of our more common issues is car-jacking, frequently when stopping for gas.

      When I was stationed in Miami years ago gangs would lurk at interstate exits and hurl cement blocks into the windshields of cars slowing down the exit ramp. They then blocked the cars and robbed the occupants. I was not very surprised when the Florida Highway Patrol made an official statement: “If this happens to you and your car is blocked, run them over and keep going.” I had a pretty sturdy truck at the time, but never got the chance to put it to a socially good use.

  5. Ray Rivers permalink

    I was out of the country and missed responding earlier – but let me say that much of our crime problem in Canada as well as the USA is a function of education and income. Well educated middle/upper class folks may occasionally go postal, as we know, but are not likely to be involved in perpetrating the kinds of threats you and Gary most seem to fear and for which a concealed and carried weapon has some relevance.

    The gun problem is primarily a social problem, notwithstanding hunters and other terrorists.

    • Thanks, Ray. I agree. Of course, there are people who would see that as politically incorrect. But they don’t know the streets.

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