Enough Guns

By

Leonard Zwelling

I feel like we’ve been here before.

Two mass shootings over one weekend have once again raised the issue of when will enough be enough to get Congress to do something about gun violence in the United States. Clearly, we haven’t yet reached the tipping point as the President of the United States will not push for gun control legislation and neither will any of his Republican colleagues take the plunge and join the Democrats in imposing universal background checks, guarantees that the mentally ill not get guns, and the banning of automatic weapons of all sorts. And what about making guns usable only when the right fingerprints are on the trigger? Why is none of this happening?

The easy answer is the NRA. But let’s be fair. While powerful, they are just another lobbying group, currently in disarray and they are losing members anyway. We could all live better without them and the NRA is weakened. Now is the time to challenge the NRA’s lobbying power.

The second easy answer is the Second Amendment. But let’s be honest. Nothing in the Constitution precludes the regulation of firearms by the federal government in a way that would protect the lives of the citizens of America.

The third easy answer is that this is America and we love our guns. Let’s be candid about this. This is nuts. Guns are more dangerous than automobiles and virtually useless most of the time anyway. If you want to kill a deer for sport, use a bow and arrow. If you want to defend yourself and your family against intruders, you’d be better off with a baseball bat and less likely to get shot. You want to target practice, use a non-lethal firearm like in the Olympics.

Then there’s the truth. Not only do Americans love their guns, they are in love with them. For both men and women they serve as an unproven method of security in the hands of amateurs and a non-deterrent to criminals. If we outlaw guns the outlaws will have guns, right? They have them now. They will have them then. They will have them whatever. Bad people do bad things and you having a Glock in your purse is not going to change that. But having an open market for firearms, without universal background checks (gun shows), with the easy availability of assault-style weapons and the rise of hate and discord promoted by the president, the time is right for good men and women to say enough. This violence is happening in our country because it can and because people like the President of the United States encourage hate speech and bigotry that energizes the unbalanced to commit atrocities like we have seen last weekend.

We can no longer count on the responsible use of firearms to curb the killing. It has not worked. The net must be tightened and the availability and acceptance of guns needs to stop. There are more guns than people in the U.S. Most Americans do not own a gun. Why do all of those people have to tolerate those who claim it is their right. Who says?

Did Prohibition eliminate the consumption of alcohol? No, it did not. Did it lessen it, yes it did. Might prohibiting guns drive a black market? Probably. That would still mean fewer guns around and an easier time for law enforcement to confiscate them. If they see a gun, take it!

Law abiding Americans deserve a government that looks out for their interests. The interests of most Americans are not associated with the ownership of firearms.

Universal background checks.

No guns in the hands of the mentally unstable.

Rigorous licensure for gun ownership limited to those who need the firearm to do his or her job.

No automatic weapons at all.

Long guns for hunting after thorough review of owner, perhaps.

No handguns for anyone beyond law enforcement.

Lock out of the gun’s use without a fingerprint match.

Enough is enough.

Leonard Zwelling