Why We Can’t Get Ahead Of The Gun Issue

By

Leonard Zwelling

This is the third time I have blogged about the gun issue, I believe. There’s at least three reasons why.

First, we have had another of a seemingly endless scene of carnage, this time in a small town in Texas. Second, there is no easy answer to the issue of mass shootings. Is it a mental health issue? Is it about gun control? Is it about background checks? Third, while President Trump was ready to send the perpetrator of the truck violence in New York to Guantanamo or to put him to death the day of the attack, it is still “too soon” to talk about gun laws after the incident in Las Vegas weeks ago. When was the right time?

Now we have had yet another in Texas. There is no waiting period to discuss improving the defense of the population from this violence.

I think we can all agree that the time is now to discuss this problem, and it is a problem. It is not uniquely American as there have certainly been mass shootings in Europe, but it seems to be a greater problem in this country than in the rest of the civilized world. The reason is simple. We have more guns.

What we are really talking about is taking responsibility for those weapons.

Just as Facebook, Google and Twitter are about to be forced to own up to the fact that they are true media companies and must be regulated like networks and held accountable for what they broadcast and to whom they sell ads, the gun manufacturers are going to have to own up to the fact that they make certain products (semi-automatic rifles) whose only purpose is to kill people. As such, much like makers of surgical tools, they can’t sell their wares to just anyone.

Guns should be legal. They need not be outlawed. But some active intervention to assure that those purchasing these weapons, products that when used properly kill things, are neither mentally ill, nor on no-fly lists, nor are agents of our enemies. This just seems prudent. When I got my handgun permit, I was subjected to a written test, a practical shooting test, and a finger printing. All of this seems logical to me. I never did buy a gun, but I would expect to have a background check run on me if I did, and would just have to cool my heels while the bureaucracy to do that background check ground on.

I think the reliance of the NRA on the Second Amendment is a bit screwy. The current weapons bear no resemblance to the muskets that were common in 1789. Furthermore, no amount of semi-automatic firepower is likely to protect you from an invasion by the US Marines should they want to take your house. Get over yourself.

I am not advocating the banning of all guns.

I am just questioning whether the system we have to regulate their purchase and use is logical and is protecting most Americans from irreparable harm promulgated by their neighbors who could not or would not withstand the scrutiny of a background check.

If we don’t get on this soon, these incidents will become more common and I fear that they will be of both the terrorist and non-terrorist types. Both the incident in Las Vegas and the one in Texas seem not to have ISIS at their roots.

And, Mr. President, the time is just fine to discuss this now.

Leonard Zwelling