handgun

Last week, some of the survivors of last winter’s Tucson shooting spree lobbied Congress in hopes of getting stricter gun control laws passed. In January of 2011, mentally unstable Jared Loughner opened fire at a political rally, killing 6 people and wounding more than a dozen others, including Representative Gabby Giffords.

The proposed legislation was authored by Senator Chuck Schumer, is supported New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Manino, and aims at gaining stricter restrictions when purchasing firearms. The bill would require states to submit more comprehensive mental health and criminal records to federal databases used for background checks on gun purchasers. 

So, apparently it’s ok to sell guns, no questions asked, to Mexican drug cartels on the taxpayer’s dime, but we really need to get into someone’s private business if they want to purchase a weapon. That seems just a tad messed up.

Restricting access to firearms by requiring that hoop upon hoop be jumped through is a bad idea. It’s already illegal for felons to own guns; and there’s a system in place to help dealers easily determine whether or not someone’s record is clear. By adding mental health issues and petty crime offenses to the list of unacceptable behavior for gun ownership, we put ourselves on a slippery path towards disallowing any citizens from owning guns.

Bad things happen when ordinary, law-abiding citizens are kept from packing heat. How might the Tucson shooting have turned out differently if the bystanders had had pistols in their pockets? Heck, if Loughner had been worried about the possibility of others in the crowd having weapons, maybe he wouldn’t have gone on the rampage at all. 

More than 80 people died in Norway last summer over the course of several hours, when one crazy dude just walked around and picked people off. Incidentally, Norway has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. How many lives could’ve been saved had someone been able to fight fire with fire and shoot that SOB?

It’s been proven over and over that strict gun laws don’t work. In fact, the opposite is true: More gun crimes exist in areas where gun ownership is the most restrictive. It makes sense when you consider that criminals, by their very definition, don’t follow the rules. 

As Robert Heinlein once famously stated, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”

 

Image via kcdsTM/Flickr