Monday, January 10, 2011

Time to do Something about GUNS

So we now have another tragedy involving guns. A nutcase in Arizona shoots 19 people, including a United States Congresswoman, a high ranking judge, a child, old people, young people. There is practically no segment of society that he missed, is there?
It amazes me that in this society tin which we live today, with the illiteracy rates at high levels, the unemployment levels at higher levels than anytime in recent memory, the political rhetoric more nasty than ever before with Americans hating on Americans like no time since the Civil War (quaint term—“civil” war) that random crackpots like this guy in Arizona could just waltz in to a gun shop six weeks ago and legally purchase a handgun. Yet, that is exactly what happened. And it isn’t like he came out of nowhere---the police were aware of his history of making vague threats on social networking websites and yet, his name was never placed on any watch lists for handgun sellers to peruse and make a determination that maybe, just maybe, this guy was a little off kilter and shouldn’t own a gun. Why wasn’t his name put on a list like that? Because there isn’t one. Unless he had a prior felony conviction, this (alleged) murdering swine took six lives and ruined another 13 because he was able to just walk into a store and buy an instrument of mass murder. If his name had been Abdul or Ahmed, it is possible that he would not have been able to board an airplane for a vacation in Cancun, or anywhere, because there is a very good chance that his name would have been on a terrorism watch list.
I’m not here to debate the second amendment, a clause to the Constitution of the United States that, despite the claims of the NRA and gun owners, responsible and otherwise, is vaguely worded at best. I am here to state empirically that not everyone should be allowed to own a gun. In most, if not all states, to go out in the woods and hunt a deer with a rifle requires a hunting license. To get that license you have to take rifle safety classes in most states and pass an test proving a minimal competence with the weapon. Yet, anyone, in many states, like Arizona, like Georgia and others, can just walk into a pawn shop or a sporting goods store and walk out 15 minutes later with a killing machine. This has got to change, people. I have seen people in the aforementioned pawnshops, people that I know to be thuggish and aggressive, buy a Glock while I am browsing the used DVD racks. They have come in, picked out a weapon, filled out the minimal paperwork, and paid for and walked out the door with gun in hand before I have even found a movie to watch. This has got to change. With great power, (the power to kill in an instant), comes great responsibility—and it is the duty of the government of the states and the country to make sure that anyone who wants to buy a gun has to meet some kind of standards. We license drivers, electricians, plumbers, hunters, anglers, and more. Time to require licenses for ALL guns, and the ability of the gunowners to prove to us all that they deserve such great power.

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