Let me start by saying I have no direct stake in this argument. I have neither guns nor children. I’m probably one of the least-likely people to be involved in a mass shooting, due to my proclivity to stay at home: I don’t go to concerts (too loud), I don’t go to clubs (also too loud), and I don’t travel very often. I don’t go to church, I watch movies in theatre only a few times a year, long after their initial release, and I prefer to shop online.
(It’s funny – not – how many different activities it occurred to me to list there, all based on a recent event…)
What I do have, however, is empathy, and common sense.
Empathy tells me that we need to stop the regularity of these shootings. And not just the mass shootings.
Common sense tells me that there are quite a few actions we *could* take:
- At a minimum, gun ownership should require registration and passing a gun safety class, same as owning a car.
- Gun ownership should require that the person be 21 years old. If we don’t trust someone to buy alcohol, I don’t understand why we would trust them with a gun. Now, i’m not saying someone younger can’t shoot a gun, they just can’t own it. If dad (or mom) wants to take jake or jill out to go shoot targets, deer, pigeons, whatever, fine. But the gun still belongs to the adult, who is responsible for ensuring that after the activity is complete, that said gun is unloaded and stored properly and safely. The adult is also responsible for the legality and safety of the actual shooting activity. If a child gets ahold of an adult’s gun, and shoots someone with it (intentional or not), the adult who owns the gun is liable (unless reported as stolen).
- Any gun purchase should require a background check. This only takes 30 seconds and all these gun shows/faires are already getting connected so they can run credit cards anyways. Sales between two private individuals will require a third party to run/verify the check.
- Anyone who is on record for committing a violent or threatening act, including animal abuse, domestic abuse, parental abuse, racial intimidation, internet death threats, or physical and/or severe school bullying should not be allowed to own a gun of any kind.
- Anyone who is on record for threatening to or attempting to commit suicide should not be allowed to own a gun of any kind (yes, I know they can still kill themselves some other way, but it will be a lot harder, and they won’t be able to easily take their family, or random bystanders, with them).
- Guns, like cars, should require insurance, so that if someone is shot or killed, their medical bills, funeral expenses, etc. will be paid for. This would vary according to the type of gun, intended use, how it’s stored, etc. This would also cover things like property damage, or damage to pets.
- Leaving a loaded gun anywhere other than in a holster attached to your body in the presence of a young child, or where you know a young child will be, should be a felony for reckless endangerment, and revoke all gun privileges.
- Any device whose only purpose is to easily kill lots of people very quickly should be considered a weapon of mass destruction equivalent to a bomb, and not be allowed for private ownership. If people really *must* have the experience of pretending to shoot lots of people, special shooting ranges (highly regulated and insured) can have these types of guns available for rent in a controlled environment (these places already exist, by the way). Someone else can decide what guns/magazines/attachments should fall under this – I don’t know enough about them and am uninterested in arguing about what features an AR-15 does or doesn’t have.
None of these ideas are any more onerous than the rules we already have for car ownership, which I would consider to be a far more important feature of the average person’s daily life.