Now, that the whole brouhaha about the Tucson shooting has died down, we can take an objective view of the underlying issue which led to the tragedy – the unbridled access to guns. As per the present laws, any Tom, Dick & Dirty Harry can walk up and buy a gun. I agree with the right of every warm-blooded American to own a gun*, but I feel that the right has to be regulated, owing to the blood-splattered history of gun-ownership.
1) License to Own: Every gun user should get a licence to use a gun, like every driver needs to get a driving license. To get the license, people should need to pass tests, undergo shooting test. No license for minors (under 18 years). Stringent background checks for applicants for gun-using licenses. Points to be deducted (and license revoked) for misdemeanours and / or on information received (mental stability / drug abuse / substance abuse / any criminal record).
2) Register gun sales – each gun sale and ownership to be registered. Gun sale only to licensed gun-user licensees. Like car sales, each gun to have registration number and responsibility of owner as per record. Stiff penalty and punishment for use of unregistered guns
3) NO concealment of guns in public. The primary reason for gun ownership is protection (apart from sport). An openly displaced gun is a stronger protection than a concealed gun. An armed person is the best deterrence against any attack, like mutually assured destruction (MAD) is the deterrence among nuclear arms owners. So, if you have it, flaunt it.
Regulation on type of guns and bullets on sale is just scratching the surface and doesn’t go towards solving the issue. Once you have licensing and the above controls, let the gun users buy assault rifles, fully loaded etc – even dum-dum bullets and AK-47s, for all I care.
Gun lovers and right wingers will cry foul about limits being imposed on their inalienable rights. But in the long run, it is better to have right to own a gun in the proper way, than to either own a gun in an illegal way or maybe not own a gun at all.
Every gun lover went through the process of getting a driving license without cribbing about it – why can’t they go through a gun-owning licensing process? The license will only be denied to people not competent (physically, mentally or legally) enough to own a gun. I am sure all this registration and monitoring will increase the government involvement and bureaucracy (like the DMV), but any level of bureaucracy is better than the 6 dead citizens in Tucson, and the average 9,300 firearms-related deaths in America.
As previously posted, the Constitution and its Amendments provide the US citizens with many rights. Hence, its’ people should have the opportunity to enjoy both the right to own guns and the right to a safe & secure life. As someone said, “With great power, comes great responsibilities”.
*The Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” [My italics for emphasis]