Once we have dispelled the notion that we can identify mentally ill people who are dangerous and the notion that we can erect bunkers and concertina wire to protect our schools and have armed teachers inside the schools, we can move to see what can be done to limit the harm potential to regular, sane gun ownership.
The first thing is that anyone purchasing a gun has to go through a background check. I have an idea as to what that should include but would not dream of even suggesting let alone designing such a program. A gun ownership license will be acceptable to all but the right-wing nut-jobs positive that a Democratic president will unleash the monkey-people on gun owners.
And an insert here: don’t think this is hyperbole, the part about the monkey-people. InTexas local patriotic wing-nuts screamed at some poor major trying to brief them on the military operation Jade Helm 15. These poor souls never got a chance to shoot at American soldiers, including SEALS, Green Berets, and other special ops people trying to confiscate their guns for Obama. We all know how such military units are hot-beds of liberal thought and Communist tendencies. All of those protesters should have been profiled on national TV after the operation and grilled on just how many American troops they saw terrorizing good old boys. Morons.
Then in the 50s, there was the rumor that Congolese troops were gathering in Georgia. It turned out that an international group of soldiers were in Ft. Benning for training, crashing around in the forest at night, and about seven of them were from Liberia, i.e. Black. So let us never underestimate the stupidity and paranoia of the Right.
Now that we have acknowledged their existence and negligible status in the realm of policy making, let us ignore the crazies and think about ammunition. One comedian, Chris Rock, suggested we let people buy all the guns they want, just make the ammo so expensive the “mass shooter” will be able to afford only three bullets. We can at least limit the sorts of bullets available because, as with military-grade weapons, a bullet designed to tear up a person’s insides isn’t much good for hunting, unless you are hunting your wife’s lover, which is just the point here. And a major factor in mass shootings is the amount of ammunition immediately available without a reload. By limiting clips and clip sizes, etc. – a technical issue, like bump stocks, above my pay grade – we can give the police a chance to limit the shooter himself.
This leads to buy-back programs. I would not make it mandatory as Beto O’Rourke would, but my opinion of the sort of person who will turn an automatic weapon or other people-killer on his fellow man is not high. I think either his rent will come due or his supply of drugs will run out and he will sell his gun to the government. No seller’s buy-back……. not in this program.
So the road blocks are licensing, background checks, limited ammunition, both types and feed mechanisms, and buy-back programs.
This leaves some elements of the population bereft of guns who we might like to see able to purchase a gun for reasonable use, e.g. felons, people adjudicated a danger to himself and others, and those failing other elements of a background check like membership in a terrorist organization. Some of these folks might need a gun for self-protection but they would perhaps have some recourse through special appeals. Some moms living in dangerous neighborhoods might qualify despite having a felony record; I would exclude such moms found to be mentally unfit by a panel of psychologists. So many details but better to deprive a few of their guns than let any Tom, Dick or Harry have an AR-15.
And, the other side of depriving a few deserving people of the right to own a weapon, there are some who should not own one who will slip through the cracks. An eighteen year old can buy a .22 and sit on a hillside shooting randomly. There’s not much we can do about that and straining at gnats because of the horror of mass or random shooters will not move gun control forward.
Which brings me to the last road block of sorts, which is really step two, the mental health angle. There is no doubt that some potential murderers, mass or otherwise, random or targeting, can be headed off through therapy rather than catching them in some sort of net. Most such murderers get tunnel vision with lashing out their only option. Therapies can relieve that pressure on them.
Road blocks to gun control itself seem to be falling. The NRA is imploding under its own corruption. The blood-bath in our country continues on the news day in and day out with up-close and personal interviews of victims. It is all horrifying and made more so by the fact that some killers have invoked our president as inspiration. Nice. You can hear patriots all over the country vomiting on realizing this is not some crazy apocalyptic movie, it’s us. Even CEO by the dozen are petitioning for gun laws. And, best of all, the whole Republican Party may go down in shame.
And then there is the matter of rogue police officers.