Friday, October 2, 2015

Gun control NOW

Does requiring everyone to have a driver's license and having speed limits mean that EVERYONE follows those rules all the time? No. There are still speeders. But those laws make a HUGE difference in our safety. HUGE. No one can dispute that.

Do restaurants sometimes flout food safety laws? Yes. But food safety laws have DRASTICALLY reduced this happening, creating an environment where unsafe handling of food is not tolerated by most people. Those laws make a HUGE difference in our safety. No one can dispute that.

Do people sometimes flout laws regarding littering? Yes. But laws, and public awareness campaigns, have drastically changed the American landscape since the 1970s. Remember how the sides of highways were lined with trash? I do. You will still see trash on the landscape, but not nearly as much as when I was a kid. Those laws and public awareness campaigns really have kept America beautiful. No one can dispute that.

Go to countries where they don't have these laws, or where the laws aren't enforced, where no one is educated about these situations. I have. It's horrific.

And yet, people are saying more gun laws and more enforcement will make no difference.

Other countries have people with mental illness. Other countries have people that want to do harm for others. But we're the only industrialized country where mass shootings happen again and again and again. Yes, there have been mass shootings in Norway and German and France and all over Western Europe where gun laws are oh-so-strict. But they are rare. They aren't rare in the USA. Not at all. Compare ALL industrialized countries with the USA when it comes to gun violence - in domestic violence, in suicide, in mass shootings, in robberies. And that's that - the facts win. Gun control works.

I've read comments online like this: "Germany doesn't have speed limits on the Autobahn and they have less traffic accidents than in the USA." First of all, Germany DOES have speed limits on the Autobahn - there are only a few places where there is no speed limit. Secondly, to get a driver's license in Germany, a person has to take very lengthy, difficult driving tests, both written and practical, and requires that every person to take a very long, expensive driving class before attempting the tests. I'll be all for getting rid of speed limits on remote stretches of American highways when we have similar intensive driving training and testing.

It’s time for every sensible person to reject the notion that laws and enforcement won't prevent gun violence, or that more guns will lead to less violence (just look what widespread gun ownership has done for Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and too many other countries to name).

Let's license every gun owner just like every car driver. Let's license every gun just like every car. Let's require every person that wants a gun to undergo an extensive background check and to take an extensive, intensive class on both gun violence and gun safety, and then have to take a test to prove they have the capabilities for responsible gun ownership. And let's set a limit on the number of guns in a household.

Let each of us no longer tolerate jokes or comments about killing people. Let's call our friends and family out when they say, "I'd like to shoot that place up" or "I'd love to just kill them all." It's not funny. It's not normal.

Let's remember that there's no way the writer of the Second Amendment ever intended for the words well-regulated to be dismissed, and never intended for an American to have an arsenal of guns that could kill dozens of people in just 60 seconds. If everyone wants an 18th century musket, ala what our Founding Fathers had, I'm fine with that.

And one more thing: someone on Facebook, on a friend of a friend's post, said, "But there must be a way to know if somebody has been hospitalized for or has been medicated for a mental illness, and not allow them to purchase a weapon." Treatment for mental illness doesn't mean someone is more prone to violence. There's ZERO studies that say that. ZERO. Stop trying to steer this away from the reality there are too many guns and we have a cavalier attitude about them, one I've seen in only one other country of the more than 35 I've been to: Afghanistan.

Gun control now.

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