In light of the gun debate circling the nation, I’ve decided to further research the mass shootings we’ve had in recent years and the weapons used in these incidents. After which I’ve reached a sad conclusion. I don’t believe a ban on assault rifles would have much of a positive impact. There are millions of these semi-automatic weapons already in circulation. In the shooting that happened at Columbine, a semi-automatic Tec-9 was used. Although banned at the time, this was an older weapon, grandfathered in and considered legal (although it was sold illegally to a minor). On top of this, the previous Federal Assault Weapons Ban had a long list of things that qualified a weapon as illegal. The gun manufactures simply made other weapons that were just as deadly, but still met the federal requirements. This is why I would say that a ban on semi-automatics would have little effect. Instead I have formulated my own proposal that looks to compromise. Helping to deter those who would do harm while still preserving everyone’s 2nd amendment right to own fire arms.
The first part of this plan is in line with what President Obama and Democrats already proposed. It is also something supported by over 3/4ths of the country. Universal Background checks! Currently, background checks are required only for weapons sold by federally licensed gun dealers. But 40% of guns are sold at gun shows and through private exchanges that don’t require a background check. If I was a criminal who wanted a gun, I have many legal options of obtaining a weapon by simply going to a private party or gun show. To many others and myself, this seems like the most sensible measure that could be taken to help avoid guns ending up in the wrong hands. Not only should there be background checks for all purchases, but every weapon should be registered, logged and recorded for better tracking if the gun is ever stolen and used in a crime.
I would also add on one further measure. The background check should also be required for ammunition purchases. If most of these killers weren’t able to simply walk into K-mart and pickup a few hundred rounds, with no questions asked, many lives may have been saved. If you are a legitimate, law-abiding citizen, there should be no room for concern here. The Universal Background Check is the single biggest measure that can be taken to help curb gun violence without denying people their right to own and operate a gun.
Then there is the assault weapon ban. Like I previously stated, I don’t believe a ban on these weapons would do much to curb violence. Instead I offer up a different idea. Rather than banning these weapons altogether, we simply require an extra permit for those who want to own and operate these weapons. It’s the same kind of permit as the Concealed Weapon Permit. This would help to further ensure that people who have these weapons are safe, responsible individuals. Again this doesn’t infringe on the right to own a semi-automatic gun. This should apply to all semi-automatic weapons: new purchases and for people who already own these weapons.
As for the issue concerning high capacity magazines, (the idea of limiting the number of bullets allowed in a gun clip), I would apply the same idea of obtaining the necessary permit. Let’s say 7 bullets are allowed for the average handgun and anything more requires an additional permit. It’s the same as our driving laws. If you drive a semi-truck you need a special Commercial Drivers license. Then in addition there are endorsements. If you want to drive a bus with a certain number of passengers, you need a special endorsement. If you are going to drive hazardous materials, again you need a separate endorsement.
These two issues alone; the universal background check and special permits for assault weapons and high capacity magazines can help deter those who would use weapons to harm others, while protecting everyone’s right to own a gun.
Finally, no law or regulation will be effective unless it can be enforced. In order for the background check system and permit laws to be effective, the ATF needs to be empowered to make sure gun dealers and their sales are applying the proper background checks. Also the database itself needs to be accurate and updated, which will take people and resources. It should be a coordinated effort with law enforcement, to make sure these weapons are being sold and used properly. What good are laws if you can’t enforce them?
Part of enforcing and deterring gun violence is proper punishments for those who break the law. I don’t mean just for the killers themselves (there are already punishments for murderers, and as we’ve seen, many of them don’t care about being punished). If it is found that a gun dealer improperly sold a weapon without the necessary background checks or permits, then they should be held liable if the weapon is used in a crime. The same logic applies for gun owners. Strict punishments should be enacted for gun owners who are found negligent, allowing their weapon to be used by someone else in a crime. It is important for those who deal and use weapons to understand and respect the responsibility that comes along with their rights.
Nothing I’ve mentioned here prevents law-abiding citizen from owning guns. What it does do, is look to keep weapons out of the wrong hands by having a complete record of gun sales and holding people accountable for the use and distribution of these weapons.
Do you like the ideas listed here? Then please make sure to share with friends, family and more importantly, your government representatives. Like people have correctly stated, “You can’t legislate morality.” So does that mean we should do nothing?