Friday, December 14, 2012

Special Comment- Guns

Gun violence has been out of control in the United States for quite a long time. It is absolutely incomparable to anywhere else in the world (that isn't a war zone). There are too many guns, guns are too accessible and mental health parity still doesn't really exist, which is a very poor combination for a nation to have. I don't think there is a simple solution here; there are around 300,000,000 guns in the U.S. Those don't just go away with stricter laws, but even this alarming fact isn't the biggest hurdle.

Among the most powerful of lobbies in Washington D.C. and in State Capitols is the National Rifle Association. The NRA would like to see virtually all regulations on gun sales removed. Their influence is all over lax policies on the sales of guns.

Why are they so powerful though? I don't think a majority of American's do not want assault rifles to be legal to own or people with mental illness access to guns. One reason for their influence is they have big money and certainly will spend it to support candidates and run attacks. We saw this in the most election with their typical 'They're coming for your guns.' ads*. Another is their endorsement. It is almost a necessity for any Republican at higher than the local level to have the NRA's support to win nomination. The NRA's support is also coveted by Democrats, particularly in conservative states that are largely rural.

The leadership of the NRA has no concern after the tragedy of this morning. Just like they didn't after the shootings at Columbine or Virginia Tech. Or when there was an attempted assassination on Gabby Giffords. Politicians have proved over and over again that they will not stand up to them. Sure, Senators and Congressmen will issue statements of sorrow and sympathy, but they will not take action to prevent them from having to do that so often.

Is there a way to counter the NRA?  Well, it is hard to say whether or not this time it will finally be different. The pro-gun control sentiment is high right now, but is it going to last? to 2014? to 2016? Politicians ought to be held accountable for their servitude to the NRA. However that is no easy task. The NRA has the funds and will continue to exist as a force in American politics. Does there need to be a powerful anti-gun lobby? I doubt one could rise to have the clout that the NRA does.

The solution lays with the electorate. Politicians who sell their soul to the NRA should no be seen as liberty-perservers, but as extremists who are unwilling to compromise even when the problem with current gun laws is apparent. The NRA shouldn't be at the heart of our politics. It should be at the fringes with the Ku Klux Klan either until it falls apart or grows some goddamn sense. The NRA's approval should be a stain on a politicians record for a voter.

The legislation that needs can be thought of pretty damn easily. Even really basic regulations don't exist. In fact, regulations on gun sales are more lax now than they were before the Columbine massacre. I think most student councils could come up with a better weapons policy than the United States' government has managed to do. Here's some of my ideas for some reforms:

-Illegal to be in possession of any firearm, which is primarily designed to be anti-personell or anti-vehicle. 

The main example of this would be an Assault Weapons ban, which we had, but was allowed to lapse due to NRA influence. Certain guns exist for the purpose of combat. That's what they were made for and what they do well. An AK-47 certainly can kill a deer, but that's not it's designed purpose and their are rifles which are much less of a threat to human lives.

-Illegal to have any ammunition, which designed to cause greater damage (such as hollow points) to bodies. 

For much the same reason as above. There is no reason one needs tracers or hollow points, or armor piercing rounds for hunting or sport.

-No person with a mental illness should be allowed to own a gun. Gun Sales should be contingent upon review of ones medical history. 

I don't even know why this doesn't exist yet.

-Every weapons sale requires a clean background check.

40% of gun sales are done without these checks. Mostly because of what is directly below

-Ban Gun shows

Allowing these to exist is awful. A place where guns and ammo can be exchanged legally without any trail of the possession of a gun changing hands and no regulations.

-Allow local governments to have their own laws on the sale and possession of firearms. 

The needs of Chicago and rural Illinois are vastly different, but it was decided that it would be unconstitutional to have a local law further restricting sale and possession of firearms. I disagree. There is no sport going on with guns in Urban Chicago.

-Magazines cannot hold more than 10 rounds. 

High capacity magazines have absolutely no other purpose than to kill more people more quickly.

There is just so much that could've been done to prevent mass shootings from be such a common occurrence. And it just stays there, because Washington never moves and State houses do no better. This is a fight that neither major party is willing to take up and that needs to change. It hurts everyone. It puts everyone in danger. And all just to please the fucking NRA

Thanks for reading


*Always masked behind the idea of liberty.

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