Every time there's a horrific mass shooting, and sometimes when there's a single random killing, there's a momentary blip on the heart meter over sane gun control laws. A voice or two calling out for reasonable gun regulation.
This past weekend's Isla Vista, California, massacre has once again brought out the cry for gun control. Despite a vast majority of the US population agreeing with this, Congress will continue its spin cycle and do nothing. The latest voice to attempt the seemingly impossible is Sen. Peter King (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) joined the charge of politicians calling for a review of gun control legislation on Sunday in the wake of a gunman's deadly rampage on the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara.
“This tragedy demonstrates once again the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” he said.
Boy, haven't we seen that so often before? But don't worry, you NRA enthusiasts and right-wing gun nuts, nothing is going to come of this. It's just another case of "soak, wash, rinse, repeat." Wishy-washy, wishy-washy.
Just asking, what is so hard and so wrong with a common sense law regarding guns? We do have some regulations, so it's not a totally foreign concept. We refuse sales of certain automatic weapons, we don't allow people to carry guns openly in many places and we don't let ex-felons purchase guns. Why not a simple bill which might weed out unstable or unqualified citizens from getting them. It would still protect citizen's 2nd Amendment rights. Call it a sanity clause -- but with a loose interpretation of sanity.
In this case, maybe a better word might be a responsibility clause. Anyone of legal age who wishes to get a gun to join the state militia (that's the 2nd Amendment) or even wants a gun for their own personal protection (a very loose interpretation of the 2nd Amendment), needs only to pass a proficiency test to show they know how to safely handle the gun or rifle. At the time of licensing, DGS (Department of Gun Safety) would also assess any overt signs of mental or emotional instability which would not prohibit the applicant from getting licensed. If and only if the inspector feels there is a problem the applicant will be directed to get a mental evaluation stamp from a certified health specialist before the license would be approved.
Now before you go thinking that's an abuse, let me confess that my younger brother has Asperger Syndrome. He was diagnosed years ago. He's the kindest, finest person you'd want to know. Yet, you would only need two minutes talking to him to know there's something a little off. He's still capable of living on his own, he worked for 25 years for the City of Los Angeles, and he's self-supporting. But truthfully he should not have a weapon of any kind.
This brings me to the Santa Barbara area tragedy. The shooter was reportedly diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, so obviously I'm a bit familiar with it. Why was he sold weapons? That truth is, because there's no rule against it.
Despite that, with the dearth of meaningful restrictions on who can buy a gun, this ill young man went twice to a gun store and plopped down money and bought weapons. That was it. And that's really the sum total of gun control in our nation.
We make people get and renew driver's licenses ever few years for the privilege to get behind the wheel of vehicles, classified as deadly weapons. So what's the harm in doing the same with guns? The only ones who should fear this regulation are those who shouldn't have guns in the first place.
Oh, just as a side argument for this sanity or responsibility gun licensing-- my brother, when he was younger, decided he wanted to learn how to fly. He paid his money, took flying lessons and passed the flying test. But he was denied a license. Why? Simply because the certifying instructor noticed his slightly different behavior (the Asperger Syndrome) and reported it the the FAA. They interviewed my brother and had him meet with a licensed psychologist. It was determined that he was emotionally unqualified to deal with the stress of flying.
That was the right move. And this same logic and reason should be part of a congressional bill. Let's not stop gun sales. Let's stop gun sales to those who might be unqualified to handle the stress and responsibility. What I propose is not new, nor is it a fail-safe system. Some people will fall through the cracks. But it's sure going to make it safer for all of us.
Watch this distraught father of one victim from the recent shooting. He wants two things-- Congress to get off their asses to do something and he really wants equal rights for all of us -- the right for us to live even if it trumps some interpretation of our right to bear arms.