This week, in Roseburg, Oregon, another inexplicable mass murder took place. A gunman carrying 6 of his 13 weapons stormed into the local community college and began shooting. When the shooter was finally “neutralized”, nine people were dead and 10 others wounded. There was no obvious motive. Law enforcement authorities cited “hate” as the killer’s motivation.
What seemed to be overlooked was the shooter motivation might have been simply because “he could do it”.
President Obama spoke from the White House calling again into question America’s gun laws and accepted practices. Pointing out the comparison with all other modern countries, only the US has so many guns in the hands of its citizens and experiences so many gun related deaths. The President wonder why was that?
Gun related killings joins a dubious list of other American firsts. America spends more than any other modern country on healthcare (two times) and receives health outcomes no better or worse than countries like Japan, Canada, UK, or Germany. America also spends more on K-12 education per student and ranks mediocre when compared to other modern countries. American prisons incarcerate more persons per capita than its peers at a huge tax payer costs. And, America spends more on “defense” then the rest of the world combined. Hmmm.
Saying that something is wrong with healthcare, education, criminal justice, and defense spending is an understatement. Yet, politicians dance around these subjects using phrases like “we must do better”. Why is that?
The Supreme Court has ruled that all Americans (with some exceptions) have a Constitutional right to possess fire arms. One can question the Court’s logic, but for starters that decision is the law of the land.
The Court has not ruled that Americans are entitled to own unlimited numbers of weapons nor should they be allowed to own tanks and anti-aircraft weapons. From this light, it seems reasonable that certain limits on gun ownership are within the prerogative of State and local governments. The question is which ones?
The President spoke from his heart following the Oregon killings. Unfortunately, his words were woefully inadequate. He said things that most all legislators already know as do most intelligent Americans. The President did not say what needed to be done.
The tried and true remedy laid out for all the recent mass killings is “stricter background checks”. Political speaks says “we must keep guns out the hands of criminals and those suffering from mental health issues”. So here’s a questions.
Why should anyone possess more than one weapon in the first place?
Sport is a reasonable response. For example, one might want a special gun such as deer rifles, shot guns for large and small game, and pistols for personal protection while in the wilderness. The Oregon killer was legally able to purchase 12 hand guns and one assault weapon. Where is the sport in that?
It is time for the President to say what is necessary. Possessing fire arms is not an unlimited right, gun possession is a special privilege. Accordingly, gun ownership must be accompanied with certain compliance measures by prospective owners.
Here is a proposal. A gun owner must have a mental health background checks every five years, show proof of secure storage facilities, agree to no “concealed” (on ones body) or “public” carry, transport guns only in secured containers, and when purchasing the second or subsequent gun, show proof of a bond or insurance for unauthorized or illegal use of his/her guns.
The 2nd Amendment famously says “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Common sense should have guided the Supreme Court to emphasizing “regulated” and recognizing “militia” to be an obsolete reference to private armed groups protecting farms and villages (today we have police and a Federal standing army.
Common sense should also tell us that the problem is related to aspects of multiple gun ownership. Authorities estimate that the US possesses over 300 million guns (about one for each resident). Most Americans do not own guns of any type. This means that many others possess many and multiple gun owners are still free to acquire more.
In most major cities, the newspapers recount shootings and gun related murders every day. And, the largest single class of gun related murders is suicide. Guns are American means of choice.
The President needs to say what needs to be done. The number of guns in the US must be reduced. There will be a huge outcry from the NRA and many individuals. There is no other way to reduce senseless mass murders or to reduce the indiscriminate use of guns in one on one shootings until the number of guns is significantly reduced.
No guns, no shootings.