January 19, 2013
Every time I’ve written about gun regulations in the past, I’ve received a profanity- and threat-laced anonymous e-mail from the same person telling me I better watch my back. Not terribly persuasive, but the caustic missives do underline the need for mental health outreach to the tortured souls in our midst. Ever since Cain and Abel, mankind has wrestled with anger management issues. I don’t believe the NRA’s arms race solution is the answer.
The President’s recommendations are reasonable and his executive orders pose no threat to the Second Amendment. Congress has been asked to reestablish some boundaries on an untrammelled right to bear certain types of armament: military grade assault rifles and large capacity ammo clips. Though “a small step for mankind,” it’s a good start. I would allow such weapons to be kept under lock and key at community firing ranges and prohibit their possession elsewhere – this would be more in keeping with the Amendment’s avowed purpose, maintaining a well-regulated “militia” (a body of ordinary citizens, not professional soldiers, subject to a modicum of governmental control).
The other truly significant request requiring congressional approval is mandatory background checks applicable to all firearms sales. Unprecedented in its scope, but almost universally accepted in concept, opposition to this legislation is based primarily on how hard it might be to accomplish. The last chance to stop a madman lies with a well-informed gun seller. We should give them that chance.