Politics Magazine

What Could (And Should) Be Done

Posted on the 19 December 2012 by Jobsanger
What Could (And Should) Be DoneThe picture above shows us that the right-wingers in this country are all over the place with their issues. First, they want to label teachers (and other government employees as "union thugs". Now, they want to give those same "thugs" guns for their classrooms. The two views seem to me to be in opposition to each other, but then I find much of the right-wing's beliefs to be nonsense.
Let me preface the rest of this post with the following statements. I am a liberal politically -- in fact, I'm very liberal. However, I don't want to repeal the Second Amendment or take guns away from law-abiding American citizens. But I do think there are some things that must be done to curb guns falling into the hands of people who are too dangerous to have them -- like convicted felons, those fleeing from the law, mentally ill persons who have been declared to be dangerous, and people (of either sex) who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse.
The White House has announced it would support three things. They are:
1. Outlaw the sale of assault weapons.
2. Limit the capacity of ammunition magazines.
3. Close the loopholes that allows the sale of firearms at gun shows without a background check.
These are all good steps that should be taken, but I don't think they go quite far enough. The assault weapons ban would just ban the future sales of assault weapons by weapons makers and gun dealers. I think that ban should be extended to everyone, including ordinary citizens who currently own an assault weapon. It should be illegal for anyone to sell or give away an assault weapon (except to an official buy-back program that will destroy the weapon).
As for the extra-capacity ammunition magazines, it should not only be illegal to sell them -- it should be illegal to even own them. There should be a grace period in which owners could turn them in to law enforcement, and after that grace period it should be a crime to be in possession of them (and that crime should be a felony).
While closing the loophole for gun shows is badly needed, it doesn't go far enough. Anyone, even private citizens, who want to sell or give away any firearm should be required to run a background check on the person who is buying or receiving the weapon. This could be done through a licensed gun dealer, and that gun dealer could be authorized to charge a small fee for the service to offset their costs. No gun should ever be sold by anyone without a background check being completed, and it should be a serious crime to do so.
In addition to the above measures, the federal government should fully fund mental health efforts. No one who needs care for a mental problem should fall through the cracks and be unable to get that care. And those few mentally ill people who are deemed by a professional to be dangerous to themselves or others (and it really is just a tiny minority) should be included in those unable to buy or receive a firearm. This is already the case, but far too many states have drug their feet on submitting these names to the government database. This must stop -- immediately. And any state that refuses to comply should pay a large penalty, and that penalty should continue until they comply.
I don't think these measures would completely eliminate the mass shooting evil -- but I do believe it would make them a lot rarer. And that is something we must strive for. Doing nothing, or increasing the amount of guns available to everyone, are simply not options we can afford anymore.

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