Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Friday, February 15, 2013

In the Background


It would seem to me that background checks are a no-brainer.  And such things as check and registration* are not covered by any portion of the second amendment that I could find.  It could become more complex with the mental health issue.  Many states already require background checks and registration at all levels, but most don't.  This is what has become known as the "gun show loophole."  In recent surveys over 90 percent support this check. I reiterate that we cannot stop all gun violence or prevent all Aurora theatre shootings.  But we can make a start.  The option of doing nothing is still doing nothing.  Even if this simple step saves a few lives; they are lives saved.

Selling guns under the table need to come with stiff penalties and using them in crimes automatically adds to the sentence. I would also say we need to stop the sale of guns and ammo on the internet as a part of this. Will it still occur? Yes.  Registering guns and background checks takes guns only from those who should not have them.  The second amendment still applies and honest citizens are in no way penalized.  A national database would make sure that a check could be done quickly and efficiently.  It would take less time than the average traffic stop.

A national background data base created is not a registration for taxes as the NRA has stated.  We already have a national registration on all kinds of things.  Automobile, arrest, fingerprints, DNA, and  a host of other items are already available for law enforcement.  As to a tax, we have this little thing called the IRS that already has that information and your social security number, as any identity thief knows,  can give people all kinds of information.  To have guns registered and checked is really for the most part minor information.  Besides for those of you who continue to believe that letting someone know you have a gun in your home is protection why would you object to letting someone know that you have a gun in your home.  Logic is a tough mistress. Isn't it?

Where it gets sticky is the inclusion of mental health issues.  That really is a privacy issue on one hand.  Some healthcare professionals are worried that those who need help may not come forward if they knew they might be reported.  I can understand this point, but that said, many states already have a requirement that mental health professionals report potentially dangerous individuals.  They have a duty to protect the society at large.  The adding of this to a national database then becomes a step to that protection.  If the requirement is placed that all checks are private, the reason for the rejection of the sale need not become public.  A background check should not give the seller information simply that the sale should not go forward.  They don't need the reason why; they just need a yes or no to the sale of the weapon.

There is also an interesting idea that one or two states may try that is a related idea to background checks and a national registry.  The idea is one of making gun owners carry liability insurance for their weapons.  It has not been determined about how much liability insurance coverage would be required, but in the advent of a gun being stolen, used in a crime, or even an accidental shooting would make the gun's owner liable for the act.  What this law does do is make it possible for insurance companies to ensure that the gun is properly stored and secured in a person's home without involving law enforcement.  There is precedence for this as most business, homeowners and car owners are required to carry this insurance.  Since many or the anti gun safety laws like to point out that many shootings are accidental, I would like to point out that liability insurance is issued for that very reason.  Most car, work and home injuries are also accidental.  Gun owners should take responsibility too.

I, personally, think all guns should be registered and licensed.  I know the "pry my gun from my cold dead hands" crowd are appalled by this idea. I saw some one on FaceBook proclaim we should register cars as dangerous weapons.  Well, folks, we do register cars and we license the drivers and we try to prevent them from driving if they behave recklessly.  Arguments about baseball bats and knives are silly and when you make that argument you sound silly.  We are talking about protecting the lives of people to the best of our ability vs. the right of an inanimate object and its owner.  I vote for the lives.

*I should note that at present no proposal at the national level includes registration for guns only background checks on purchases.