|We should all agree that it is probably not the best thing to allow violent criminals to buy guns or that maybe it would be best if mentally ill people would have to at least be deemed competent to own a gun. Before we debate outlawing clips or particular gun models I believe that is the first thing we need to reform. The ease in which folks who want to kill innocent people are purchasing guns.
A bill is being introduced in the House based on common-sense ideas that the NRA membership widely supports. It is being introduced by Jim Moran of Virginia and takes into account the rights and views of gun owners while taking on the NRA:
"The NRA's absolutist position on gun issues is an impediment to the safety and security of the public," Moran said in a statement. "This legislation is designed to highlight that schism, offering popular proposals even NRA members support to prevent more gun-related tragedies."
NRA members support these proposals because they make sense. Nothing radical is being proposed that anyone that is the least bit rational would oppose. In fact, some of these things Americans probably already think are required. Some of the ideas in Moran's bill and level of support among NRA members:
74 percent of NRA members support criminal background checks on all potential gun buyers - as opposed to current law, which requires background checks only on those who buy from licensed gun dealers;
79 percent of NRA members back requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees
Does this not make sense? If you are convicted of a violent crime, a gun crime, or armed robbery you do not need a gun. If you have a history of mental illness maybe you should have to prove you are competent enough to own a gun. How could anyone think that it is unreasonable to ask someone who is buying a high-powered assault rifle to submit to a background check?
This "provision" is almost ridiculous and insulting to the American people that is has to be included:
71 percent of NRA members would bar those on the FBI's terrorist watch-list from buying and owning guns
So much for the "War on Terror".
The fact is that we can come together as Americans and figure out a better solution to this problem. If we can even stop one of these incidents or a single drive-by shooting it will have been worth the effort.
I have never wanted to take guns away from anyone who hunts or just collects or shoots targets or whatever they do. I believe it is an American's right to bear arms. I believe our citizens should be able to defend themselves against our government although I will wonder aloud here what good even an assault rifle is going to do against an Apache helicopter, a cruise missile, or a Stealth Bomber.
I think a lot of this can be settled at the state and local level if communities are just allowed to do what they need to control the flow of illegal guns. However, I believe too that some federal action is required to try and make it harder for someone to buy advanced military-style equipment.
While I believe that an American has a right to own guns if they choose, I believe too that it is their responsibility to those of us who choose not to own or carry guns that those guns are held in a responsible manner. It is their responsibility to store their guns in a manner that would keep people that should not have them from taking them. If you are not responsible enough to keep your kid, your neighbor's distraught kid or anyone else from easily accessing your guns then you are not responsible enough to own them. The Constitution may give the right to bear arms, but it does give limits to any right that infringes upon the rights of others. These people who are dying had the right to go about their daily lives without being shot dead.
The encouraging sign is that we all seem to agree now that something has to be done. We seem to be on the same page at a very good starting point to begin making common-sense changes. I hope the passions will take a back seat and we will continue to work for a solution to this problem.