On Jan. 29, 1961, President JFK, a strong Democrat from my home state, made this bold statement: “In my own native state of Massachusetts, the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men — citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment's notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of America, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.”
I have been asked by 2 Democratic friends how I can be an NRA member who believes in the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms in light of these horrific events in Texas and Ohio. They stated that we need to ban all assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms and that we need stronger background checks.
Fortunately, these 2 friends and I can talk relatively calmly and intelligently listening to both sides. One of my friends said I should become Trump’s gun czar. It would take pages to write my complete thought on the topic, so I will condense it to a few paragraphs.
First, I do believe that we need more comprehensive background checks. Having said that I strongly believe that state and federal authorities need to get over their territorial pride and work together.
What do I mean? Between state and federal laws we have somewhere around 20,000 gun laws on the books today, which is absolutely asinine. As a rule, I believe that the feds should refrain from making laws that would pertain to a states right to govern; but this is one area where some laws should be nationalized.
Why? Because presently it is federal law that all guns sold by licensed gun dealers require a background check (with the exception of gun shows and private sellers). Virginia in 2016 enacted a law requiring the state police to be available at gun shows to conduct background checks on purchasers or transferees of firearms at the request of the parties to the transaction.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but should background checks be done for all firearms sold at gun shows? Sadly, “Virginia law still does not require unlicensed sellers and transferors to seek this background check before the sale or transfer of a gun at a gun shows.”
This is not the first mass shooting where the person was mentally unstable, nor the first where there were telltale signs, or people who knew in advance that there might be an eminent threat. Or that law enforcement had been given a sign that there was a possible problem. Or that someone with fringe-group mentality has gone on a rampage.
One solution might be as follows: In many states if a 911 call comes in and the person hangs up there is a wellness call to the house to check and see if there is a problem. Or in some states there is even a drive-by to check on that 911 caller. Why not something like that for calls like the one that occurred in Texas.
Even though the mother did not identify herself, more than likely if there were protocols in place for this type of call as there is for the 911 system. Then the phone number could have been pulled up and Police could have had a check-up done. If a parent is concerned enough to make a call to law-enforcement because their child owns an AK47 then if I were law enforcement, maybe I would be curious enough to want to ask more questions.
Especially in today’s climate of gun violence, I am not blaming the parent or law enforcement. I’m looking for practical ways to attempt to address some of the issues and not simply blame the gun.
Another example: Sandy Hook.
Guns were purchased legally by his mother, yet she did not properly secure them from a child known to have emotional problems. Not the gun’s fault.
Another solution might be to take the politicians out of the equation because they have an agenda. Then set up a panel of calm intelligent individuals who are not only gun owners, but law enforcement, psychiatrists who understand guns and the criminal mind, and lawyers who understand the Second Amendment, all of which would be willing to look at developing common-sense laws that would work to stem the tide of psychologically impaired individuals and criminals from getting guns. Then we would have a start to appropriate gun laws.
Also, this panel should be able to look at these laws that exist and determine which ones need to go and which ones need to stay. I believe that rather than writing new laws, we need to enforce those already on the books today and dump many more that are redundant — just to clear up the confusion that can sometimes occur.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as gun control as long as there are people with evil in their hearts or the mentally ill. They will find ways to create chaos.
Take the Boston Marathon bombing as an example. A simple household tool used to cook with was used to create total chaos and destruction.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe if a law-abiding citizen wants to own a legal firearm — even if it is an AR or AK — then after an appropriate background check, which should include not just criminal but psychological checks, then they should be able to own it. I am pro-Second Amendment, pro-gun ownership, pro right-to-bear arms.
But I’m also pro common-sense gun control, which means to me that we have to intelligently look at addressing the issue of the gun violence. Not emotionally. We need to create an appropriate response and not just react.