Some Thoughts on Gun Control

January 5, 2013

It seems to be time for honest and productive discussion about firearms in New York State and across the U.S.

Although I do not currently own a firearm, I have in the past, and may do so in the future. 

I occasionally enjoy shooting at targets and at clay birds.  I know I don’t need an assault weapon, high capacity magazines or semi-automatic handguns to enjoy the sport of shooting.  In fact, these seem to be the weapons of choice for the military and law enforcement, and unfortunately, for criminals and ‘gang bangers’, not for any hunters or sport shooters I’ve talked with recently.

I was recently in a conversation with some Alaskans who regularly hunt for meat. 

Their reaction to using a handgun for hunting?  “You’d have to be crazy or really stupid.”

Semi-automatic long guns with high-capacity magazines?  “If you can’t hit the target with a couple of shots, you have no business being out in the field with a gun.”

Gun control doesn’t have to mean no guns.  I’m not suggesting we take guns away from those who wish to own them and use them responsibly.  

There just seem to be way too many gaps and loopholes in our current controls on acquiring and owning weapons, accessories and ammunition.

Gun show loopholes make no sense at all.  Selling ammunition online seems to be a very controversial issue worthy of serious examination.

When we allow special interest groups to use emotional arguments which have dubious merit to enrage and inflame their ‘base’, we end up with non-productive and potentially destructive dialogue.

Driving an automobile is considered an American right, yet there are a number of steps required before a driver license is issued to an individual, along with regular oversight and renewal requirements.  We require proof of insurance before we allow a motor vehicle to be registered.  Why should firearms be any different?

It makes sense to me that possession and/or ownership of a weapon – particularly in densely populated urban areas – ought to come with a license requirement that includes mandatory background checks; psychological and medical evaluations; character references; and some sort of proof of insurance.  Training and testing should be mandatory, and a license renewal process ought to be defined which ensures periodic re-evaluation of key variables.

If we want to preserve the right to responsible American citizens to own, possess and use firearms, a critical issue seems to be creating an environment which closes out the proliferation of possession and/or ownership by criminals and those others who don’t meet mutually acceptable criteria.

It would seem that if gun owners and non-gun owners could come together and agree on regulations that protect the right for responsible adults to own firearms while keeping them out of the hands of criminals and those who may be mentally unstable, we would end up with a much better, stronger and responsible outcome than we have today.

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