Another weekend passes and our country has had two more mass shootings. After each of these, I sit down and write Senator Robert Portman, to say, hey, we have a problem, what are we doing? This time, one of the shootings was in Ohio.
I think I have had a single response – and it just wasn’t enough. Frankly, I feel bad for the staffer tasked with responding. It was a complete waste of time and postage.
I am a gun owner. I hunt. I vote on both sides of the ticket. To me, this issue isn’t a political issue – it is a moral one.
There are a number of things we could do to help curb this needless loss of life. Here’s my short list:
Make it illegal to sell or possess a magazine larger than 5-rounds. The shooter in Dayton took nine lives (and there are still victims in critical condition) and wounded twenty-seven more in less than a minute. He was using a 100-round magazine.
Mandatory Insurance Requirement. You want to own an assault rifle or high capacity magazine? Fine, but you should be required to take out an insurance policy or post a bond in the event the weapon causes harm to others. We do this with cars, contractors, hell even plumbers. I’ve never heard of a plumber going rogue with a plunger, but you bet they have to be “licensed, bonded and insured.”
Revamp background checks. When someone purchases a firearm from a retailer, the purchaser fills out and signs a two-page form. Here it is – ATF Form 4473. That isn’t enough folks. To perform meaningful background checks, law enforcement would have to be able to view medical records. Our privacy laws do not allow that.
Mandatory wait period on all firearm purchases. This would allow for “cooling off periods,” curb any impulse buys and also allow time for appropriate background checks.
Get rid of background check loopholes. The only time background checks are currently performed is when the transfer is from an ATF licensee or retailer. Person-to-person and gun show transfers have no background checks. We could fix that.
Require licensing for ownership of assault weapons. Currently, the National Firearms Act requires a licensing requirement for certain classifications of firearms. E.g. fully-automatic weapons. Without the appropriate license, it is illegal to possess the weapon. Let’s do that.
Bring back assault weapon ban. We’ve done this before, and guess what? It worked. The law was passed by a Republican House and Senate in 1994, and signed into law by Bill Clinton. In May of 1994, Ronald Reagan even wrote the U.S. House of Representatives to say, hey, I support the ban. The momentum for the ban were three separate incidents. The ban had a sunset provision that it will expire at the end of ten years. It ended in 2004.
Just thoughts folks. The conversation about gun control goes to mental health issues, then the conversation stops. As long as there are humans, there will be problems with “the wrong people” possessing guns.
This isn’t a problem with the mentally ill – this is a problem with having a dangerous device readily available. No different than drugs or cigarettes. When used as intended, it puts a significant risk to human life.