Grownups: Please Step Up

28 people dead in Newtown today, including 20 little kids, shot in their classroom.

It’s such an outrage that there will certainly be calls to restrict gun ownership or ban them altogether. I’d happily go along with that, but thanks to the gun lobby we can’t even speak the word “ban.” We can’t even have a conversation about gun control. The debate is so warped in our country that — and I can guarantee this — there will be those who say that teachers should be armed, and that would prevent these types of murderous rampages. See the logic? More guns=less shooting. Me neither.Pistols

Few civilized societies in the world today tolerate the kind of firearm profusion that we do in the United States. As of 2009 there were 310 million non-military guns in the U.S., one for every man, woman and child, including newborns. That year there were 17,000 homicides in the U.S., 12,000 of them by firearm. In fact, with that many guns floating around, you could say that there is no solution to the problem of folks going crazy and shooting up their schools, their workplaces, theaters, malls and neighborhoods.

Maybe you’d be right.

I won’t try to fight the NRA, the gun manufacturers or the cranks who think they need guns to protect themselves against being herded by the federal government into concentration camps in the Mojave desert. Their twisted logic has so permeated the culture that there’s no percentage in debating it. But I’m ready for our government — city, state and federal — to take some action.

I propose a ban on assault weapons and big ammunition clips. Much heavier penalties for possession or modification of fully automatic rifles. Deep background checks (paid for by the prospective purchaser) on anyone who wants to buy a gun of any kind, and a good long waiting period. Licensing of gun owners. Serious penalties on gun owners whose negligence allows their weapons to fall into the hands of unauthorized or unlicensed others. And a high enough tax on gun purchases to create a fund to help rebuild the lives of the inevitable victims and their families, as we have done with cigarette taxes.

There are so many guns already out there, legal and unregistered, that anything we do to curb their proliferation will not begin to be effective for generations. But in 85 years it will be the turn of the century again, whether or not we start now trying to fix this problem. Most of us won’t be around by then. I wonder if those who are will thank us for our foresight, or curse us for our stupidity.

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4 Replies to “Grownups: Please Step Up”

  1. After reading today’s statement from the NRA (concerning the school house slaughter) in which almost everyone’s to blame for the massacre, except gun owners ….

    The NRA basically wants more guns in circulation and they want everyone to be packing heat … that way, if a crazed looney attacks a school or church or whatever, armed citizens will be there to quickly shoot and kill the the crazy person.

    Their proposal hasn’t an ounce of sanity in it but it certainly sends a message to congress and everyone else … there will be no gun control either today or in the future … with the unreality of the organization’s philosophy and the influence they have over congress … I doubt we will ever have intelligent or reasonable gun rules and regs.

  2. Bill – You’re right: It’s insane. It only begins to make sense when you realize that the NRA has been taken over by arms dealers and restructured as a lobbying and propaganda organ for them. Their motive is and has always been profit. I’m sure the same companies are selling weapons to both sides in the current Syrian conflict.

    Horrible, but inevitable, given their priorities and lack of conscience.

  3. I notice,with some satisfaction, that NRA CEO LaPierre has been pilloried in the press (even by some rightwing publications; see for his loonytunes statement. But you’re right, Larry. Sad as it is, disgusting as it is, any hope for actually banning these weapons is faint.

    For the memory of those poor, slaughtered children and their families I’m holding on to that hope for sanity, as tenuous as it is. Your ideas for controlling guns and ammunition are really very good ones. Maybe… maybe… someone with the grown-up wherewithall to DO something will, well, DO something.

  4. Wren – I’ve thought about it and talked about it and written about it, and I’m all burned out on it. As long as there are a small group of crazies out there (some of them on the Supreme Court) who is afraid of living without their guns, reasonable regulation can’t get no political satisfaction traction…

    But, Merry Christmas!

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