I am certain I love my kids. I am certain they love me. I am certain I will do anything in my power to protect them.
There are also a few things that I am pretty sure of in this life. For example, Mr. South of I-80 will most likely wake me up with a kiss, and say "The kids are going to be up soon." They are going to want Frosted Flakes with berries in them for breakfast. I am almost positive my youngest daughter will ask to put on her bathing suit before 8:00 a.m.
I will most likely put on the news and hear of another shooting.
However, when dealing with people, nothing is for certain. Someone might wake up with a fever, we might all sleep in, forget to hear the alarm. I might turn on Caillou instead of the news. The shooting might have taken place due to a domestic violence dispute, at a school, or because of a gang war. With people, you just never can tell.
When it comes to gun violence in this country, I have to say I am becoming sick of how often and normal it is to hear about it.
I am kind of amazed Illinois just passed a law that we cannot use micro bead soaps, in order to protect our water. For some reason, Illinois politicians got together and said, "This stinks, animals are being affected, these beads make our water dirty. We got enough YAYS! HOORAY! BAN IT! NEXT!" I guess the exfoliating scrub lobby wasn't rich enough to stop it. This is an example that shows politicians can indeed work together, when it’s important enough, I guess.
My kids not getting shot at school or any place else is pretty damn important too.
We live in a country that has coffee cups that say CAUTION HOT, according to the ACLU Texas book banning program is alive and well, I cannot buy allergy meds with a D in the name without showing my ID, and nap nannies are not going to be available soon. The point is there are regulations on things that are much less dangerous than guns.
Then, I come across information like Top 10 States with the most lenient gun laws, some of which include laws like not needing a permit to carry a weapon, and it gets me thinking.
Inconsistency? I think so.
Yet, here we are.
I am not a proponent of complete gun prohibition. However, I am a proponent of very strict gun control. What is fascinating is if you talk to most responsible gun advocates, they agree. I would hope many responsible gun owners want to keep themselves and their families safe, and are well aware of the responsibility that comes with owning a firearm.
I propose at the very minimum:
1.) Everyone who wants a firearm, must apply for a license to purchase, own, and carry a gun. States like Wisconsin don't need a permit of any kind. However, states, including Illinois, require that you not have a felony charge on your record, or any mental health problems for the past 5 years. I will raise the a felony charge to a completely clean record (nada zip) and no mental health problems ever. Harsh? Probably, but if I cannot drive when I need to take a dose of cough syrup, you cannot have a gun if there's a chance you may have a lapse in moral judgment or mental instability. Besides I want to make sure that the people with guns REALLY ARE good guys.
2.) Every person wanting to purchase, own, and carry a firearm, must attend a mandatory six week training course by a state-licensed firearms expert and pass a license examination. If a teacher, doctor, nurse, plumber, psychologist, or even someone just wanting to get a driver's license has to take tests and boards to be certified so does a person owning a piece of equipment that the sole purpose is to kill another living thing. (No class. No pass. No gun.)
3.) Number 2 must be repeated every other year. Penalties, heavy fines, and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law will be instilled if not kept current.
4.) In order to purchase, own, and carry a gun you must show verification that you have also bought or plan to store your gun in a safe place, and it cannot be a cookie jar on top of the fridge. Whether it be a safe in your home or at a facility that stores firearms, the gun must be locked up, and you must prove that it will be. If you do not plan to do this, your permit is put on hold until you can verify this information. Currently, 11 states have in a gun lock device laws. However, 11 states out of 50 to make sure the gun is kind of safe is kind of lame.
Protect your family members. Let's face it, the mother of the Sandy Hook shooter might have followed all the rules, but it didn't matter once the guns got in her son’s hands. If you cannot purchase a special gun safe or lock box to protect your firearm from other people in your home that do not comply with rules 1, 2, and 3, then you cannot have a gun license.
5.) If a person carrying a firearm is approached by law enforcement of any kind they are required to inform law enforcement that they are carrying a weapon. Did you know that you don't have to do this in Alaska? Law enforcement's job is to protect us. It is up to us to help them.
6.) No semi-automatic firearms. Also, there must a magazine limitation. I agree that there is a great deal of misinformation regarding assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, automatic weapons and the like. However, I would also agree that in a civilized society, there's no NEED for any of them. Period.
7.) No open carry. Ever. Please don’t freak everyone out.
8.) Concealed carry permits are only given to people who have maintained a responsible gun owning record and who have complied with all rules, regulations and laws concerning firearms or otherwise for a period no less than 4 years. NOTE: A COMPLETELY CLEAN RECORD. (In Illinois, you can have up to two DUI's and still apply for concealed carry. So, you've driven drunk TWICE and put lives in danger, but it’s ok to carry a gun around?) Also, your concealed carry permit will also come with its own special training course, which you must pass every other year.
9.) No guns near schools, unless you are a law enforcement officer or security officer. Am I a proponent of armed security in schools? I'm not sure. Maybe. I will say this: I don't think teachers and administrators should be carrying guns. As a former teacher, trust me, we have enough to worry about. It makes me sad, and I don't want to live in a world that my kids have to know there are people with guns there to protect them "just in case." However, I would MUCH rather have a trained professional with years of experience working some kind of security in schools and campuses across the country at this point in history than leave our schools vulnerable. There I said it.
10.) If you currently own a firearm and do not meet the above requirements in a reasonable amount of time, you will be subject to steep fines, possible jail time, and felony charges (which means no guns forever). If you are not willing or don't want the responsibility, the Government will buy back your firearm (hopefully the government will have all kinds of money from all the aforementioned fines). Sorry, there's no "grandfathering" of rules here. People's lives are too important for that.
Are putting more regulations on guns difficult? Absolutely!
Earlier, I said there are a few things of which I am certain. I am certain I love my kids. I am certain they love me. I am certain I will do anything in my power to protect them.
When it comes to gun violence, there's too much uncertainty. You cannot cure every single person with a mental illness. You cannot guarantee every single person will be a good parent. You cannot guarantee that someone will not act emotionally in a moment of weakness. You cannot make someone have a moral compass. There's too much uncertainty when dealing with people on that level.
However, when dealing with an inanimate object, where the sole purpose is to kill, I am certain it is more than ok to put some SERIOUS restrictions on it. After all, we have done it with food, medicines, cars, nap nannies, and a lot of other inanimate objects in this country.
Also, I am certain that if it is THAT important to someone to own a gun, then they would do all this and more, because that is what good guys do.
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