Saturday, February 02, 2013

Gun Control

Obama must be a heck of a chess player. At the moment, I would say his strategy seems superb. Coming off the victory over "out-of-touch-rich-White-guy", that is, the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney (I say that that because that was the tag the Democrats successfully hung on Romney), Obama and his team hit the GOP hard; right in its conservative gut---guns and illegal immigration.
Taking advantage of recent tragedies involving mostly the ordinary street variety types of guns, Obama formed a "task force" headed by Vice President Joe Biden to "study" the issue of gun violence and make recommendations to get the guns...err...situation under control. After making up their minds, they then interviewed the 2nd Amendment groups, which they termed as the "pro-gun lobby" to hear the other side's point of view (never let facts in the way of a good political opportunity).

All in all, some good points have come forward from the Obama team such as reducing clip capacities from 30 shells to a maximum of 10. Seems reasonable. There's really no call for 30 shot clips in hunting, and perhaps aside for target shooting, it's not all that practical. However, they are wanting to ban so-called "assault guns" (though most of the recent incidents were ordinary hunting caliber albeit in modified stocks just for appearance sake). They are wanting to prevent or at least greatly curtail private sales between individuals and through gun shows by requiring additional background checks (including psychological analysis. I wonder if criminals will have to do this to? Sure would have been helpful for programs like AG Eric Holden's botched "Fast and Furious" gun sale to drug lords which have resulted in several murders of US agents. Come to think of it, perhaps Holden needs to take a psychological test).

Of course, many on the Right are having hissy fits and claiming that "Obama is coming after your guns" and is planning of destroying the Constitution, starting with the 2nd Amendment. I see literally dozens of emails every day detailing some nefarious plot attributed to the "Socialist Left". Frankly, it makes true Conservatives look, well, stupid. Neither Obama or some ultra secret Leftwing black shirted jackboots are "coming for your guns". It ain't happening. Not because they wouldn't love to do it. I'm sure some on the Left have wet dreams about seizing every gun in America, but like Prohibition, it won't work.

First of all, there would be an all out revolution and civil war with tens if not hundreds of thousands dead. The political and perhaps social structure of this country would implode. Secondly, guns are easily your garage or basement. At least, certain types of guns are. The same goes with ammunition. Besides, various types of homemade munitions can be made many of the same material and parts. Third, guns can be disassembled and concealed just about anywhere. Forth, in this global economy, guns, ammo, parts, and supplies can easily be smuggled into this country. Think about it. We have over 11 million illegal aliens in this country and tons of illegal drugs crossing the borders weekly. Do you think smuggling guns would be all that difficult? Lastly, as say expression goes, "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". Yeah, kinda trite I know, but accurate. The bad guys will continue to have guns. More and better than the cops. Only law abiding citizens will be trapped in the middle...unarmed and vulnerable. Snot nosed John Dillinger wannabes on one side and Johnny "Come Lately" Law on the other.

There's something to be said about reducing clip capacity, and certainly there's no need for the average gun owner to have amour piercing bullets. For that matter, do hunters, sportsmen and women really need body amour? Are elks and moose starting to shoot back? The next thing you know, ducks will be dropping napalm (well, I guess they do if you think about it). As for so-called "assault guns", most are really ordinary semi-automatic hunting caliber weapons in fancy stocks to give that "Rambo" look.

As for restricting ownership, that's going to be next to impossible to enforce. As it is, felons aren't supposed to have guns. Do you think any have any trouble getting them? Do you think they're going to put them back? Gangs seem to have no problem either. Guns have always been swapped and sold privately and will always be...with or without regulation. Yes, people who are or have been under psychological treatment should not have guns. That's common sense. Not just criminals, but drug addicts, alcoholics, child or spousal abusers shouldn't have access to guns either (but that doesn't eliminate their access to weapons of some sort). But what about people who are slightly but not clinically paranoid? What about people with hot tempers? The same with people taking certain forms of medication.

The only way that's going to happen is if this very personal and private information is entered into some type of public or quasi-public (law enforcement) data base, and if that should happen, you now have a privacy issue (not to mention a breach of the doctor-patient confidentiality). Of course, that opens the door to what other medical or personal issues could find their way into a public domain. Perhaps an individual could sign a waiver to release the information, but what happens when they become well? How is that information corrected or expunged? And then there's the fact that some gun (and other forms) of violence are committed by people who show no outward signs or have any obvious history at all.

As for putting guns in schools, the cold hard fact is that potential violence can happen anywhere and seems to be happening more and more all the time. So, do you arm the teachers? Probably not. Most would shoot themselves or lock the gun in drawer. How about malls? Theaters? Stores? Apartment complexes? Nightclubs? Certainly, competent security could be placed in all those a cost, which begs the question as to who ultimately picks up the tab? But, do we really want to live in country reminiscent of the Wild West or Europe or the Middle East? If guns and the ability for self defense are removed, it will become more not less dangerous.

We need to re-evaluate violence and how its treated in this country. That means examining the electronic games our children (and adults) play. There's no reset button on a tombstone. It means making Hollywood accountable for the types of movies they put out. It means examining and reforming our criminal justice system from a focus on punishment to rehabilitation for non-violent crimes; separating non-violent offenders from violent offenders; to immediate death sentences for certain violent crimes; to decriminalizing certain drugs. It means re-examining how we deal with certain social issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention spousal and child abuse. It means a shift in our socio-economic system to provide more opportunities. It also means reintroducing a standard of norms...morals if you will...back into society. None of this is either quick or cheap. The costs are high, but so is the loss of a loved one.

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