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Wed Jun 24, 2015, 12:10 AM


Guns in civilian hands kill people. [View all]

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by Sissyk (a host of the General Discussion forum).

Posted in response to a request to start a discussion.

This needs its own OP

This is the 21st century. It's time to get over the notion that we need firearms in the hands of the average civilian to preserve our freedoms. We are not going to lose our freedoms if guns are taken away from those who have no business possessing them in the first place.

Since I'm a new member, I've been hesitant to start a discussion. However, I've been asked to, so I'll give it a shot. I also saw a post that said, "Ban all guns," so Iím not alone in the way I feel. I checked What can and cannot be posted in the General Discussion forum. I think this qualifies under the following: "Open discussion of guns is permitted during very high-profile news events which are heavily covered across all newsmedia."

If I get my wrist slapped for doing this, so be it. I'm far too old and time is too precious to me for me not to say what I have on my mind while I can. I won't say how old I am, but my son retired from the Army year before last. He graduated from high school in 1980 and from West Point in 1984. Going to West Point was his idea, not mine -- and not his mother's either.

This discussion may not turn up anything new, but it might help keep us focused on what we should aim for.

Here's something I posted to my (private) blog a couple of days ago.

Guns in civilian hands kill people.

First, let me make where I stand clear: I loathe firearms of any kind. With good reason.

If we are to join the community of nations, Congress must pass laws calling for national firearms registration. Doing so is both mandatory and urgent for public safety.

We are well beyond the point where the populace needs to be armed to the teeth to preserve our freedoms. This is the 21st Century. America is vastly different from what it was when the Bill of Rights was passed. We are in no danger of losing our freedoms; the Second Amendment is out-of-date. Although my preference would be to repeal the Second Amendment and leave gun laws strictly up to Congress and the President, chances of repealing it are virtually nil. Therefore, Congress must pass federal laws that limit ownership of firearms -- pushing those laws to the very limits of constitutionality.

Without taking time to refine them, a few of my thoughts follow.

Federal law must prohibit gun sales without government authorization, including private sales. Buyers must provide proof of age, residency, mental state, and satisfactory completion of a federally-approved firearms safety course -- at a minimum. A seller must have a federal license to sell firearms. Gun shows must be closely monitored by the The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. All gun shows must have local, state, and federal permits before they can be held.

Nobody needs an assault weapon -- and that includes semi-automatic weapons. They can easily be turned into fully automatic weapons with a readily available and inexpensive conversion kit. Semi-automatic and automatic weapons are simply too dangerous to be in private hands. All semi-automatic weapons for private use should be banned: no buyback, no grandfathering of weapons already owned, and no sunset clause. Private individuals must either turn them in to authorities or face criminal charges.

Currently owned weapons, ammunition magazines, and ammunition quantities above a certain number must be turned in to authorities or destroyed in a timely manner and thereafter their possession in excess will be a crime. (Some gun nuts own dozens if not hundreds of firearms, along with untold thousands of rounds of ammunition. Why do they need so much ordnance?)

Gun nuts will respond that people outside urban areas keep firearms in their cars or trucks for "roadside emergencies, impromptu plinking, and varmint-hunting opportunities." Yes -- and to have them close at hand when road rage hits. What a crock. Let them go to gun and rifle ranges -- and keep their weapons under lock and key in a controlled environment. Let them keep their weapons in an armory, to be signed out when they want to use them -- with a specified return by date that can be enforced. No more than a couple of weeks or so at a time.

Gun nuts will claim that private ownership of firearms results in many life-saving defensive uses -- and that those uses are under-reported by "the liberal media." That's simply not true -- neither the alleged magnitude of the number of life-saving incidents nor that the very few that occur are not reported adequately.

Enforcement? Well, for one thing the TSA's role could be expanded to run random checkpoints for firearms -- like those run by local police to deter drunk driving. Anyone caught without proper registration to carry a firearm in a vehicle could be cited for the violation, facing a stiff fine at a minimum and potential confiscation of all weapons in his or her possession at the other end of the spectrum. For egregious violations of the law, jail or prison terms could be specified in the law.

If it were possible to go beyond what I have proposed and completely eliminate private firearms ownership and possession, I would be all for that. I just don't think that can ever be done. Not in a country as backwards and violent as the United States is.

Make no mistake about it: If the Second Amendment were repealed, guns could be brought under control at the federal level, despite state constitutions that mimic the Second Amendment. That's because of Article VI in the Constitution: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land...." (Emphasis added.) Article IX and Article X of the Constitution might present a slight obstacle -- but not much of one if we can get a conservative on the Supreme Court replaced by a liberal.

It's time to do something.

I've said elsewhere that I'm not in favor of repealing the First Amendment the way I'm in favor of repealing the Second Amendment, but I am in favor of amending it to permit hate speech to be controlled better. Hate speech by its very nature is inflammatory and likely to cause violence in the short-term, if not immediately.

Letís face it -- and most of us feel that way sometimes -- some people don't deserve First Amendment protection. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me for the Constitution to allow Congress to pass laws that reflect the wishes of an overwhelming majority of the people.

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Reply Guns in civilian hands kill people. [View all]
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