Apologies for the double post, but the content is divergent enough that it seemed warranted. This is primarily directed at Feud and Ace, but I welcome comments from others. Please read this editorial
. It does an excellent job of explaining my point of view---far better than I myself could do. For those that don't want to read the whole thing, a few highlights:
There are two major problems that need to be addressed: (1) unusual events, such as mass shootings, and (2) the more common background of gun violence. Several propositions are made to prevent both. Some of the more interesting include
- Mandatory registration of firearms (similar to the registration of vehicles).
- Background checks every time a firearm is sold, whether privately or by a licensed retailer (so that if a firearm is used in a crime, it can, theoretically, be traced back to the legal owner).
- To support the above point, mandatory factory-stamped serial numbers on multiple parts of the firearm.
- Again, to support the above, criminal liability for those who's arms are used in violent crimes. If you are the last owner of record and your gun is used in a crime, you can be charged as an accessory after the fact.
- Mandatory licensing and training in order to own a firearm. If you want to own a gun, you need to be properly trained and obtain a license, which includes a justification for why you want one. It doesn't have to be a "good"---sport shooting, for instance---but those that justify their possession of firearms with "I want one," or "To fight the coming race war," might get a second look.
- Mandatory trigger locks and/or gun safes for when a firearm is not being used. The point here is not to prevent a firearm from being stolen, but to limit the accidental or intentional use of domestically-owned firearms by children or other unauthorized users.
- Stiff penalties, including loss of licensure, for dealers who show a pattern of selling weapons that are ultimately used in criminal acts, both in the US and in other countries.
- Limits on the kinds of firearms and accessories that can be bought by civilians. Large clips and automatic weapons are not something that should be widely available.
To this, I might also add the availability of restricted weapons to gun clubs. No private citizen needs to own an AK47 or AR15. However, I respect that there are some people who like to shoot these things for fun. Fine. Join a gun club, which must keep the firearms under lock-and-key, with annual inspections. Want to fire the weapon? Do so on the premises of the gun club.
From the standpoint of mass killings, limits on clip size and availability of automatic and high-powered weapons makes it more difficult for a potential mass murderer to obtain such weapons. Is it impossible? Probably not. Could someone kill 20 school children with a frozen banana? Anything is possible if one is sufficiently motivated. Does this mean that we should throw up our hands and give up? Absolutely not. From the standpoint of the background violence, being able to track weapons back to the original owner or seller should help to keep weapons off of the street and out of the hands of those that are likely to commit crimes without unduly impacting those with a legitimate right to own and use a gun.
So, Feud, Ace, others: what is objectionable about this?
One other, kind of unrelated point: you have made a big deal about the woman hiding in her closet and repeatedly shooting an intruder. I have given this some thought, and now feel that I can put my opinion into intelligible text. If there is an intruder in my home with a firearm, there has already been a catastrophic failure in my community. An intruder would have had to get through a locked door, evaded the community watch, ignored the usual police patrols, and somehow obtained the firearm in the first place. He would have to have motivation to break into my home, representing a failure of social services treat someone with a mental illness or drug addiction. In order to think that a closet is the best place to be, I would have to be so out of touch from my community that I am unwilling to seek shelter with my neighbors. Moreover, my firearm is properly stored, it is going to take time to get to it, unlock it, load it, and use it. This is while under pressure from a potentially hostile intruder. It is going to be a rare case when possession of a firearm is the deciding factor. Finally, I would have to believe that a firearm, as opposed to a baseball bat or can of pepper spray, is the best possible way to defend myself. As you pointed out, Feud, at close range, a person with a knife is far more dangerous than a person with a gun, which is why the police train to shoot from a greater distance.