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Thoughts about guns

Gun rightsWe’ve all heard just about enough on this subject, assuming we respect the rights of others and understand the 2nd Amendment. Guns are part of our culture, a fact of life. They aren’t going anywhere, and nobody is taking them away.

Now I’ve established my position, let’s look at a few things requiring study and possible action. First, both sides must absolutely agree, for the most part, guns don’t kill people; people kill people. If there’s to be dialogue, this must be agreed. Granted, sometimes there are terrible accidents, cases of irresponsibility. Children find a gun and horror ensues. But statistically, guns in the hands of law abiding, responsible citizens save many more lives than they destroy. This is a fact.

Next, there are hundreds of laws on the books controlling sale and ownership of guns. If these laws were followed to the letter, it might prevent a few situations that develop into criminal acts, but generally it wouldn’t stop the types of shootings & mayhem we all desperately want to stop.

Next, not only is gun ownership allowed by the constitution, but the individual states are entitled to loosen or restrict ownership as they see fit, except they can’t prohibit completely such owner- ship, nor can they allow exaggerated/abusive ownership such as automatic weapons and/or a variety of military grade ordnance like rocket launchers, grenades, etc.

The next thing to note is background checks should not only be on the purchaser, but should canvass additional information about members of the purchaser’s household and, under penalty  of perjury/fraudulent intent, purchaser must disclose who lives in the home, their age, relationship, and any information concerning criminal background or ill state of mind.

LanzaIn other words (and states/feds must determine this) does a person’s criminal background justify rejecting them as a new or existing gun owner; does a history of mental illness? Do acts of emotional instability on public record and/or common know- ledge to the purchaser, members of his household, neighbors, friends, extended family, work associates and so on do so?

If the purchaser or member of his household has made lethal threats against any person, neighbor, family member, fellow worker/boss, religious person or persons of any particular ethnic background, or governmental body including city, county, state or federal and/or persons representative thereof, should this war- rant restriction and/or prohibition?

If the purchaser is a friend of any questionable person described above, said friend being a frequent/infrequent visitor to purchaser’s home or a person who is likely/could possibly ask to borrow purchaser’s gun, should this flag concern/caution to purchaser he will be in violation with possible sanctions/penalties under laws controlling gun ownership, including possible confiscation?

The point so far is to insure to the greatest extent possible, within reason, guns of legitimate, responsible citizens don’t knowingly/unknowingly fall into the hands of persons who are of dubious status or prone/capable of using them illegally or against society. Obviously such background analysis would be lengthy, tedious and of questionable accuracy, but at least an attempt would be made to alert gun purchasers to the seriousness of gun ownership, and how they will be held personally liable  should a gun owned by them be used in a crime.

Another facet is to send a message to gun sellers, whether they are manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, retailer, mailorder, gunshow purveyor or private party that, depending on state and

federal laws, they must insure 1) the guns they sell are legal 2) the purchaser is thoroughly screened with no conditions or conflicts discovered during the process. Applications should therefore be standardized nationally, with slight modifications at state level, with sellers responsible for their proper use and overall data gathering process.

If conditions or conflicts are discovered, the seller must suspend the sale and refer the application to a local controlling body or agency empowered with resources/manpower to thoroughly re-examine the purchaser and his disclosures. This could be a state-level body, with final appeal going to the feds. Again, a process like this could take weeks, even months, but if we’re serious who owns a gun it must be tolerated by the gun-owning community as part of the privilege.

To guarantee cooperation by all parties in a gun sale transaction, punitive actions, penalties, fines and possible punishments must be appropriate to the error or oversight. Again, gun sellers, buyers and owners must get the message repeatedly this is a zero tolerance situation. The rules and laws must be followed, or severe corrective action will be taken.

RifleExaggerated weaponry was mentioned earlier, implying lethal capability at or near military grade should be unacceptable and against the law. Pistols, rifles, shotguns and so on should be described in such a way as to guarantee clarity as to acceptability. No gun or weapon should be offered for sale that has not been pre-approved by the controlling gun authority, which in turn gets its instruction/mandate by legislative process. Further, there can be limits on the number of guns a person owns, except under unusual circumstances and/or in locations that are remote.

The idea/concern here is, if an individual is known to have a large cache of guns/weapons it makes them more susceptible to private tradings and sales outside the system. Also to burglary and theft and, of course, their own ability to safely store & maintain dozens/perhaps hundreds of guns in safe working condition. Gun control authorities should want to insure such gun owner’s premises is completely secure/alarmed. The owner should be required to account for every gun on a moment’s notice. Owning many guns is problematic, subject to limits and record-keeping.

As a generality, should it be of concern where gun buyers/owners live? Is it a densely populated urban setting, lightly populated suburban setting, or a rural, country setting? The more people in the immediate vicinity, the more chance of an accident or problem.

Gun sales should be tougher and more restricted in big cities than in thinly populated areas. Municipalities themselves should dictate this, possibly banning certain types of gun sales that are otherwise in the inventory of acceptable guns. They could also limit gun shops per/sqmi and number of guns sold.

Gun owners must understand this concept, and how they may not freely carry or move into densely populated cities having these restrictions, how doing so would violate their contract of gun ownership, and result in penalty or confiscation.

Gun carry or concealed weapons permits should also be reviewed for appropriateness, and the basic qualifications of an individual requesting such license. The idea is to restrict gun ownership to responsible parties, but also to reduce the number of guns in urban settings to some non-worrisome level, such as 1 permit for every 50 people, 100, etc.

My final suggestion about the rights & responsibilities associated with gun ownership would be to require that certain public places, such as bus/train depots, airports, government buildings, schools, libraries/churches, perhaps large shopping malls and office buildings/complexes, have as part of their normal facilities personnel trained, armed guards, stationary and patrolling, who can respond 24/7 to any incident/situation requiring inter- diction or immediate action.

Some of these proposals will be difficult to implement, and I’m sure the more vocal/radical members of the gun lobby will complain they’re excessive and over-reactive to the purpose at hand, which is to guarantee as best as possible the safety/happiness of average citizens, young or old, as they go about their business.

mk3 pistolI am a gun owner. I own a rifle, shotgun and two pistols. I’ve owned them for 5yrs, and during that time gone to a local shooting range to practice-shoot at fixed targets, honing marksmanship & staying intimately acquainted with my guns & how they operate. I recall a test concerning gun safety when I bought the first gun, but nothing since. I/my family also know how to clean our guns, and we keep them in a locked & alarmed vault.

The overall success or failure of implementing the various actions I propose goes to the efficiency/effectiveness of gun con- trolling bodies and level of cooperation/personal attention given by the gun distributing chain, from manufacturer to final owner. Everyone must understand this is not a quick comply & out the door. It’s a new paradigm, a lifelong commitment by all associated with gun ownership, particularly current sellers/owners.

If new permits, licenses, tests or other regulations become necessary in order to gain compliance, a guy like me who is busy with other things and would normally consider it a nuisance if not outright invasion of privacy, will have to face the reality it’s an essential, urgent new part of the gun-owning experience. They can’t stop me buying a pre-approved gun, but they can demand I meet all their requirements before buying it, insuring my safety and the safety of those around me.

A quick review of the horrible Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and many other recent incidents as well, shows the shooter/perpetrator to be in a marginal/dubious state of mental health. In the instant case his mother had been considering institutionalization or intervention of some kind. She evidently felt she couldn’t cope with her son anymore.

At what point does she realize, or do neighbors/friends suggest, it’s not be a good idea having guns around? I’m aware she was killed, so trying to figure this out now when she can’t defend herself seems distasteful and unfair. She might tell us how much he loved going to the range with her, and it was at these times she felt close and loved by her son.

But she was in an untenable situation that varied day to day.

She knew he had moods, fits and so on, and could be uncommunicative and aloof. How could she trust him while in one of those moments, unsupervised? I must suggest she herself was in need of counseling/guidance, and any friend, associate or professional who knew about her guns would have intervened! It was not up to her anymore. The home situation had been deteriorating, and a dispassionate 3rd party would have legally removed the guns, under parameters of my proposals, as a safety measure.

This is what we must be willing to do, in every case, and if the lawyers tell us it abridges 2nd Amendment, so be it. Remember, we’re doing it selectively and after intensive review/evaluation, to keep our children safe. Each case would be momentary, not infringe or establish precedent regarding gun rights in general. Preventative measures would be exclusive to a given situation, and applicable only to similar situations. It the price we pay for gun-ownership in this society, at this particular time.



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I’m Al Shane

Alvan I. Shane Author, The Day Liberty Wept 2270 N Euclid Ave Frequent Op-Ed Contributor Upland, Calif 91784 Political Donor to Cons Grps / Causes (909) 946-5104 Ex-Marine / California native Tax Accountant / Mar 43yrs / 1 son
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