There’s no creationism news out there at the moment, so we’ll go off topic and discuss gun control. One hears all kinds of proposals being advocated to deal with gun violence — some rather outrageous by our standards. Your Curmudgeon is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but we’re willing to see some changes made.
We’ve previously mentioned that the number of legal gun owners in the US is about 30% of the population. That’s at least 100 million people who legally own guns in the US. There are maybe 12,000 gun killings each year. Some are multiple victims of the same killer, so there are no more than 10,000 actual killers who use guns — and some of those aren’t legal gun owners. All murder is bad, of course; but we need to think about those numbers.
If as many as 1% of gun owners were killers, there would be a million of them. If the killers were a tenth of a percent, there would be 100,000 of them. But it’s only 10,000, which is one one-hundredth of a percent of all gun owners. Think about that.
Statistically, gun ownership seems to be an excellent predictor of lawful behavior — and, we must add, a look at history shows that prohibition of private gun ownership is an excellent predictor of tyranny. So the problem isn’t gun ownership, per se. Rather, the problem is that a tiny fraction of gun owners are crazy. So what’s to be done?
To begin with, we propose that no one should be allowed to own a gun unless he can meet certain requirements for enlisting in the US military. If the military doesn’t accept people who can’t meet those requirements, then why should they be allowed to own guns? Specifically, we think a gun owner must:
1. Be a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder who is fluent in English.
2. Have a high school diploma (or equivalent).
3. Have no criminal record (including juvenile offenses) and not be the subject of a restraining order. The military services have a provision for obtaining a waiver of those restrictions in some cases, but that’s not easy to do.
And we’d go even further. If someone has escaped conviction because of an insanity plea, we wouldn’t let him have a gun. Hey — it’s fair. He did the deed and admits that he’s crazy. No guns for him.
There should be a nationwide database where all of that information would be stored. Every county or municipality that grants gun licenses should have to consult that database and they should only allow gun ownership to those who aren’t in it — and who also meet our other requirements. Additionally, we’re not opposed to raising the minimum age to 21, which some are currently suggesting.
What about people with mental health problems? Obviously, anyone who has been adjudicated incompetent should be disqualified from being a gun owner — and that information should also be in the national database. Otherwise, mental health is a difficult issue to deal with. For example, some think “Darwinists” are mentally ill, while others have the opposite opinion. We may not need to incorporate additional mental health requirements in our gun laws. In general, anyone with a serious mental problem would probably be disqualified by one or more of the requirements we’ve already listed.
So there you are. Our proposal won’t solve all problems. Nothing will. However, we think it’s a realistic reform that could actually become law. We welcome your suggestions.
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