Saturday, December 22, 2012

The 2nd Amendment

Every time there is a tragic incident involving bad people with guns, such as the killing of all those poor little first graders last week, every politician in the universe starts screaming about gun control. But they never do much about it. At the same time, the NRA gets all huffy about infringing on the 2nd Amendment and they do everything they can to block even the smallest law regulating gun ownership or sales.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I own a gun. I have owned guns since my grandfather gave me a .22 caliber rifle when I was about 12 years old. I currently have a Berretta 9 mm which I have had since my days as a police officer back in the 70’s. In those days I owned several firearms, including 2 rifles, a shotgun, a .357 magnum, a 2 inch Charter Arms .38, a .38 caliber Police Special and, of course, my Berretta. Over the years they have all disappeared. I gave one to my mother for protection. I sold a couple, and most of the rest were stolen when my home was burglarized back in 1987. My Berretta survived because I was carrying it at the time. All of this is to say that I am very familiar and comfortable with firearms and I support the 2nd Amendment.

But, no right is absolute. For example, it’s not specifically in the Constitution but you have a right to own and drive a car. That right depends on your ability to pass tests and obtain a license. That is a good thing. It protects the rest of us. Gun ownership should be viewed the same way. Reasonable regulation is necessary, absolutely necessary.

I have tried and tried but I just cannot understand the need to own a military style assault rifle. I do not understand why a private citizen needs magazines that hold a hundred rounds of ammunition. Having given this some thought, I have decided that I would support the following regulations.

1- Ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

2- Regulate assault rifles in the same way they regulate machine guns (you can own one, but you need a very expensive Federal License for each one. I think it is currently about $5,000.00 a year per weapon).

3- Require background checks which include past mental health problems. If there is any evidence of a problem the person should be required to go to a Mental Health Professional who would be required to certify that the person does not appear to represent any danger to themselves or others (and is not likely to in the future).

4- Make using a firearm in the commission of a crime a Federal Offence separate from the crime committed. Take it to Federal Court and, if the person is found guilty, impose very stiff sentences (again, above and beyond any sentence received for the original crime).

Is all this going to solve the problem? No, of course not. But it would put a dent in the problem and slow down the bad guys. And afterall, isn't that about as much as you can do without becoming draconian?

OK, there. Now I’ve had my 2 cents worth. I know some of my NRA card carrying buddies are going to get bent out of shape, but I really think these are reasonable precautions and they do not impose on the basic right to own a gun under the 2nd Amendment.

Live Long and Prosper....

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