Monday, December 1, 2008

"Bor for Prez in '12": Part 7

So many issues, so much time. These ideas of mine are now starting to grind away in my brain when I lay down at night to sleep. I want to discuss the press (and some of their irresponsible reporting), political lobbies (bribes), foreign policy (stop playing the world's Boy Scout!), the military (more care for those that have served), and numerous other things. Today, I have decided to discuss the Second Amendment.

Wikipedia, the savior of all those who seek a basic understanding of all things, has the Second Amendment quoted twice. The original copy has it written as, "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." The copies that were distributed to the States reads, "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." (Note the differences in capitalization and punctuation.)

This is a hotly debated issue, with one of the key comments against it being that the law is outdated. The right to bear arms was granted in a time when several countries had the United States in their cross hairs, and the people needed to be ready for a fight at a moment's notice. As far as I know, we are a world power now, and every citizen doesn't need to be armed to fend off invaders.

While I want to make changes here in the States, changing the Constitution and its varying Amendments might be a little tough to tackle. I'm already picking some pretty large fights. Besides...The farmer or rancher protecting his property from dangerous animals has a right to have a weapon on hand. (Sorry, but as much as I'm an animal lover, sometimes the only way to handle such an issue is to put the beast down.) The lone resident that lives in a dangerous neighborhood has a right to have a weapon on hand if they fear they will come to harm. Hunters who actually kill for food have a right to use firearms to feed themselves. There are also those who simply like to collect weapons. Put simply, they are allowed to have their guns.

However, I would like to see a crackdown on weapons that are unregistered, the actual registration process, and guns used in a crime.

My ex's (Robin) mother worked for the ADL, Anti-Defamation League. When terrorists were threatening anyone associated with the State of Israel, she applied for a concealed weapon license. This is, in my opinion, one of the extenuating circumstances when a gun license should be expedited, because she and her workplace were under an immediate, nationally recognized threat.

If someone becomes a police officer or a member of the military, guns are part of the job, and they should see little or no difficulty being licensed for a firearm. (Psych evaluations are part of the process for them, so it reduces, but not necessarily eliminates, the number of lunatics with a gun.) After that...Well, I know of NO ONE that needs a gun right away, and I want the laws to reflect that. Lawmakers should sit down and design the parameters in such a way that there are NO loopholes to squeeze through.

First, technology has been leaping ahead faster than humans can keep up. Still, licensing should be a thorough process. I would like to see a 30-day waiting period between the time an application is submitted and the license is issues. The person who claims they must have a gun sooner than that is immediately suspect. If a person is under threat of violence, and wants a weapon for immediate protection, they can speed the process by filing their application with the police. This applies to all weapons, including rifles and shotguns.

Second, for the collector of firearms, there is a special "collectors permit," which takes 90 days to be issued. This license will stipulate that all automatic, semi-automatic, and other military grade weapons be non-functional! You're a collector. It would be cool to show off your vast collection of grenade launchers and automatic weapons to your friends. In the same way a stamp collector wouldn't use his collection to send mail, you shouldn't use your collection to shoot or blow things up. You can expect surprise inspections from the ATF. You see, with this license, you surrender your right to due process of search and seizure. I don't mind that you own the "toys;" I do mind if those "toys" are fully functional and you have the proper ammo on hand. You should be a collector, not a weapons depot. Get caught with working weapons that you shouldn't have, and it's off to prison you go.

Next, ownership of automatic weapons and specialized ammunition such as armor piercing bullets is off limits. You simply don't need an AK-47 or Uzi for home defense. For the person looking to increase their safety at home, a semi-automatic pistol should be the most you'll ever need. Most villains who would assault someone don't come prepared wearing body armor, so you simply don't need armor piercing ammo. The only people who need anything of the sort are those who use weapons in a professional capacity.

Finally, there must be stiffer penalties for crimes committed with a firearm. Commit a crime where a gun was involved, and you will likely not see the light of day for decades! If you think this is a way to gain entry into the "luxury hotel" of a prison, just wait until I get my brain focused on the prison system. No tolerance for those who enact a violent crime using a gun. If a firearm is used in the commission of a crime, and the person is found guilty, whatever the current standards are on sentencing should be doubled.

Now, I'm sure my views will be frowned upon. The Second Amendment is held as something so sacred it should never be altered in any way. It's as though it secretly became the Eleventh Commandment on the Big Ten. "Thou shalt be armed at all times." Then I look across the world, and I can gather ten random countries and total up their gun crimes, and they still don't hold a candle to the crime rates here in the U.S. when it comes to guns.

I could easily take a radical approach to the entire issue, and throw us back a few centuries in terms of weapons technology. "The only weapons the average citizen may own are found in the Dungeons and Dragons manuals for standard adventures." So, at best, you might be able to own a musket. Instead of being able to fire blindly at another human, you would have a sword, just like him. If you think hacking away against his potential skills will work, think again. For all you know, your opponent practices for hours each day on the off chance someone like you is going to threaten him. And you just know you want to hear on the news, "Arrows flew today in Tulsa when armed archers robbed a bank at arrow-point. Using tower shields and long swords, police were able to battle their way into the bank and hack the thieves to bite-sized pieces."

I'm not trying to take the guns away. A collector may collect them. A defender may have a weapon of reasonable firepower. Professionals could, and should, have access to whatever they need. For the average citizen, however, I want to slow the system down and apply greater punishment for gun crimes. Our nation is an embarrassment when it comes to statistics involving guns. I mean, we now have an eight-year-old facing murder charges as an adult for killing his father and his father's friend. Something is radically wrong, and we must fix it.

So...Let the attacks begin. Somewhere out there is some loon who thinks he must own a 50-calibre weapon that fires 100 rounds per second. To this person, I say, "Put down your current weapon, and it's Tsurugis at twenty paces!" It will be a fight that's about as effective as whatever argument he has for wanting such an outlandish firearm.


morbidwombat said...

Yes, in a situation where the state is at risk, and you're a member of a regulated militia, with the interests of the state in mind, you may be armed.

Military and police officers get issued weapons. They do get put through some psychological testing, it could be more intensive. The fact then, that the licensing process for private citizens is essentially the honor system is almost offensive.

I like your "Collector's Permit" idea. Just so you know, I've actually found it more obnoxious getting an exotic weapon license than a gun license.

As for crimes committed with guns, I consider them all premeditated attempted murder. You got a gun, you brought it to a robbery, it crossed your mind you might have to use it.

Ooh, prison reform! My favorite idea:

Someone named Rob said...

Yes...Despite the fact that he's earned a lot of controversy, Sherriff Joe is one of my favorite law enforcement models. (I even used to own a pair of the "pink boxers" that the jail would sell for publicity. Oddly, it was a gift from my ex's mom. Think she was trying to tell me something?)

My current favorite is that people are voting in legislation to handle illegal immigration, Joe enforces the laws they pass, and then they start screaming he's using racial profiles. DUH! Tough sherriff, touch laws. Did you expect him to do nothing when you made the laws and then insisted he enforce them?

You have a point on the premeditated murder thing. More food for my thoughts.