Monday, April 30, 2007

Domestic spying and gun control

Following the recent school shooting at Virginia Tech and the killers ability to obtain weapons and ammunition legally despite significant mental health problems, the discussion of more stringent gun control methods has come forth.

I'll never be popular with the NRA folks. While I understand and support the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans, I do see a need for stronger background checks on handguns. These are the weapons that are killing our kids on the streets of North Minneapolis and in these school shootings. In most cases, kids are not raiding their dads gun case and taking the .30-06 to school. They are not taking the 12 gauge to the streets.

It's handguns.

Conservatives chide efforts to place more safeguards, or hurdles as they call them, to obtain weapons.

I'll use the same analogy they used when most Americans expressed great concern at the depths of FBI/CIA domestic spying.

If you don't break the law, you have nothing be be fearful of.

The same holds true with these gun control issues. Creating universal standards across our nation for gun control would be a great start. The fact that Texas and Virginia have some of the most lackadaisical gun control laws in the nation simply puts guns in the hands of people who should not have them.

DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Baltimore all attribute most of their illegal handgun issues to the lax policies in Virginia, which create a pipeline of illegal weapons into these areas.

Does your 2nd Amendment right trump my rights to "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"?


Brad said...

In the honor of good discussion through open debate I would like to expand on your position.

Gun control has always been a sensitive subject, especially with me. I have hunted and have shot for sport in many different arenas. From trap, skeet, sporting clays, long rifle, and the occasional “plinking” in the local gravel pit I have had my fun.

However, I believe it is sad when a tragedy like what happened at Virginia Tech is what has to happen in order to move policy on the issue. Why does it take a national tragedy? Is it because our elected officials forget there are crazies with guns that give the law abiding gun owners a bad name. I think not. In my, not so expert, opinion it is because in order to find a good solution you must first have a two sided discussion in order to work out the differences in the debate. In these heated times some use emotion and near sightedness in order to implement stop-gap approaches in making public policy and give them a pat on the back in doing it.

I pray for the friends and families of the deceased at Virginia Tech everyday and it rages me that there are disrespecting individuals that believe they have the authority to take another’s life. But it is not a result of bad gun laws that make these people do what they do. It is a result of a under funded educational system, counseling system, and law enforcement system and to that end we are the only ones to blame. Let’s not blame guns. The analogy of blaming a vehicle when a drunk driver kills someone comes to mind. Let’s fix the broken system together. Let’s elect people that have the courage to stand up to “No new taxes” and be proud of the progressive state that we live in.

Blue man said...

Good job BK! In no way shape or form do I want to see a law abiding citizen have their ability to lawfully obtain a weapon curtailed.

A two sided discussion is completely in order. Unfortunately, the extremes seem to dominate the conversation.

Staunch righties hold the 2nd Amendment over our heads and call any sort of checks and balances unconstitutional.

Extreme lefties want strict bans.

Neither will work.

I think good sound public policy revolves around a greater accountability and finding that middle ground most Americans desire.

This kid in VT had been picked up by the police for stalking 2 young women on campus.

He was confronted by police after he was reported to be deeply depressed and possibly suicidal.

Despite this, he was able to purchase a gun in Virginia.

On the flip side, would more stringent gun control laws have halted this tragedy? My gut feeling is that this kid would have found a way to get guns and ammo, legally or not, and this would have happened anyway.

I wholeheartedly agree that stop gap approaches and band aid solutions will fail, and simply empower elected leaders to continue with faulty practices such as this.

While I like the drunk driver analogy, we also take significant measures to ensure that someone who has a DUI pays for that crime. Licenses are suspended, they have safety interlocks installed in their cars, high insurance rates and other penalties that discourage the practice.

Such a complicated issue...thanks BK, great comments! You're Iron Range days provide a great example on this issue! said...

I'm with you on this. Did you happen to catch my essay last week on gun control?

Arm Fratboys -or- Curb Straw Purchases?