Lately my Facebook and Twitter streams are blowing up on the issues of Firearm Ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Here are my thoughts on the subject.
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. -Benjamin Franklin
Let me start by stating a couple of relevant facts about me. These facts are in fact going to influence this blog post. Just as an FYI.
- I spent 10 years in the US Army in either Light Infantry Units or Special Forces Groups.
- I am a Combat Veteran.
- I spent 3 years as a Police Officer working the housing projects.
- I own firearms. To include what some of you would deem as “Assault Rifles”.
In the last couple of months we’ve seen more and more “spree shootings” here in the US. Here is a short list that most people are already familiar with.
The question at hand is whether or not stronger gun laws would have prevented these useless tragedies. In these cases it’s probably wouldn’t have and here’s why.
Sandy Hook Shooting
In the Sandy Hook Shootings the suspect, Adam Lanza, age 20, fatally shot his mother using her own legally owned firearm. He then left her house armed with at least two semi-automatic handguns and a semi-automatic rifle (all of which she legally owned, not Adam). He then headed to a local elementary school and killed 26 people.
Gun Laws in Connecticut
Let’s review the laws in Connecticut in regards to owning or purchasing a rifle, shotgun or handgun.
No state permit is required for the purchase of rifles or shotguns. No sale or delivery of a rifle or shotgun can be made until the expiration of two weeks from the date of application for purchase. The waiting period (14 days) does not apply to law enforcement officers, active duty military personnel, holders of a valid state permit to carry a handgun, holders of a valid hunting license or antique firearms.
It is unlawful to sell or transfer a handgun to any person who is forbidden to possess a firearm under state or federal law, or to a person under 21.
A person must be twenty-one years of age to possess a handgun.
It is unlawful to possess a handgun by a person who has been convicted of a felony; convicted as a delinquent of a serious juvenile offense which includes illegal possession of a controlled substance, negligent homicide, third degree assault, first degree reckless endangerment, second degree unlawful restraint, rioting, or second degree stalking; discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after acquittal by reason of mental disease or defect; confined by court order for mental illness within the preceding 12 months; subject to a restraining or protective order involving physical force; or an illegal alien. It is unlawful to possess any other firearm by a person who has been convicted of a felony.
Adam Lanza did not have any type of criminal record, nor did he suffer from any readily apparent mental disorders. He was however under the age of 21. This would have prevented him from purchasing the two handguns he used in this incident. The problem is that he didn’t purchase or attempt to purchase any of the firearms used. He took them by force, from his mother, who had purchased these firearms legally. The gun laws in the state of Connecticut would not have prevented this tragedy.
In the Aurora Shootings the suspect, James Holmes, age 24, armed with 2 handguns, one shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle opened fire in a movie theater killing 12 people and injuring another 58.
Gun Laws in Colorado
Let’s review the laws in Colorado in regards to owning or purchasing a rifle, shotgun or handgun.
There is no state permit required for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or handgun.
Dealers are required to keep a record on the retail sale, rental, or exchange of handguns. The record shall include the name of the person to whom the handgun is transferred, his or her age, occupation, and residence, and the make, caliber, finish and serial number of the handgun, and the date of the transfer and name of employee making the transfer. The record book shall be open at all times to the inspection of any duly authorized police officer.
Dealers must also perform a background check, in accordance with the national instant criminal background check system, of the prospective buyer, and obtain approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation
It is unlawful for any person convicted of a felony or conspiracy or attempt to commit a felony, or misdemeanor domestic violence or adjudicated delinquent for a felony to possess a firearm.
It is unlawful for any person under 18 to possess a handgun
James Holmes did not have any type of criminal record, nor did he suffer from any readily apparent mental disorders. He purchased all of the firearms used during this incident legally. The gun laws in the state of Colorado would not have prevented this tragedy.
Your average spree killer/shooter is unhappy, angry and incapable of fitting into a community and filled with rage that he exercises through violent fantasies.
For most Americans there is no gun culture per se, only the ownership of guns. To the extent that any gun culture exists; it has been in response to a gun control culture that sought to demonize the ownership of firearms. The American gun owner has little in common with your average spree killer/shooter.
To the gun owner, a firearm is a necessary tool. To the average spree killer/shooter, it is a way to stop feeling powerless.
My Take on Firearm Ownership & Regulation
The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -Thomas Jefferson
I believe in our 2nd Amendment right. Having said that I believe that most states are in fact too lax with how they regulate the sale and transfer of firearms. Here’s what I’d like to see happen.
- State permits should be required for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or handgun.
- Minimum age requirement of 18 for rifles and shotguns, and 21 for handguns.
- Dealers must perform a background check, in accordance with the national instant criminal background check system, of the prospective buyer and obtain approval from the appropriate state authority.
- Dealers must perform a background check of the prosepctive buyer from the appropriate state authority that deals with mental illness.
- 2 Week waiting period for the purchase of any firearm UNLESS the prospective buyer is already a registered firearms owner for that state.
- Every owner of a firearm must carry liabilty insurance for every firearm they own.
- Every owner of a firearm must take both a written test and a hands on proficiency test for every firearm they own.
- Every prospective owner of firearms that can be classified as “Assault Rifles” has to take a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory to verify and validate their mental health.
Learning the basics of firearms is easy. Handling of guns is governed by four rules which, together, insure that no one would be hurt by accident.
- All Guns Are Always Loaded
- Never Let the Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing to Destroy
- Keep Your Finger off the Trigger Until Your Sights Are on the Target
- Be Sure of Your Target
A firearm is a tool, it is not a toy. As with any other tools, begin by learning how to operate them safely. Firearms are no different from other mechanical and power tools: if used as intended, they are safe to the users and to bystanders. No one in their right mind would attribute magical powers to a shovel or a drill. Firearms aren’t any different.