Saturday, February 24, 2018

Provide For The Common Defense

In the past I’ve commented about guns, gun violence and mass shootings. For the record:
_I’m not a member of the NRA
_I do own quite a few guns including a couple of semi-automatic handguns.
_I do not own an AR-15 or similar type of weapon (nor do I have plans to own one).
_I do have a concealed carry license. But I rarely carry a gun.
_I do have a pistol in my vehicle
_I have never shot at anyone, don’t want to and hope I never will.
_I live out in the country and I am my own protection. I have a gun at both ends of the house and out back in my office. I believe it’s better to have a gun and not need it, than to need one and not have it.
_Since I’ve been old enough to vote, I’ve voted for both Democrats and Republicans. Right now Republicans hold a 60-40 edge. And the older I get, the more I lean that direction. Pretty common for old white guys, even those who used to have long-hair and protest everything.

We have a serious problem in this country. And it’s not just guns, but guns are certainly part of the problem. It’s time to face up to the fact that any place where two or more are gathered there is a chance that someone will attack them. That someone can attack them with an AR-15 using high-capacity magazine fire power makes the problem even worse. So take the AR-15’s away or at least reduce firepower (and then figure out how to enforce it…good luck with that).

Fine. Now what? Little Johnny’s meds aren’t working so he takes daddy’s shotgun and kills 2 or 3 of his classmates instead of 15 or 20. Are we going to have a parade? Or do we just ramp up the gun ban conversation?

And when Little Johnny can’t get a gun what will he do? If he can drive, he’ll just run over a bunch of kids. He watches the news. Or he’ll go online and learn how to make a bomb. He may be crazy, but he’s not stupid. Or maybe he just torches the place or poisons the sloppy joes in the cafeteria.

I don’t think there is one right answer. But I think there are a number of steps in the right direction. In my opinion they include the following:
_ Armed protection wherever people are gathered. (Effective armed protection, not a deputy hiding outside waiting for help.) We have better protection at my little church on Sunday mornings for less than 100 people than those kids had down in Florida. (I don’t carry my gun, but we have a couple of law enforcement members who do. And if they weren’t there, I would be carrying mine.)
_Raise the age limit to 21 for the purchase of semi-automatic weapons ( handguns or rifles) and require stricter background checks…maybe it’s double or triple checks and a longer waiting period.
_Make fixing the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) a priority. There is no excuse for there being any gaps here other than the usual government incompetence. My guess is they’ve spent millions with some consulting firm that has milked this project for all it’s worth.
_And I’m ok with a national gun registry. I know there are plenty of people who see this as an invasion of privacy and the first step to gun confiscation. But guns are something we need to keep up with. Where are they and who has them?
_When kids are at risk, get them some help and keep an eye on them. “The Village” failed Nikolas Cruz and he declared war on it. He even warned them. No one listened.

I’ll let Andrew Pollack wrap this up. His daughter was shot and killed at Parkland. If you haven’t seen or listened to this…it’s well worth 4 minutes of your time.

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