Thursday, June 21, 2012

We Need A Gun Control Initiative In Washington State

Maybe it should be 'game on' with the NRA, gun lobby and gun nuts too unreasonable to accept basic gun control laws in Washington State. 

Recently I had two good friends randomly murdered by a mentally ill individual. He also killed three other people during his rampage. The perpetrator of these unspeakable murders owned a number of guns that he used during commission of these murders. He also had a history of domestic violence offenses. His family, in so many words, described him as a ticking time bomb. Yet our inadequate or non-existent laws concerning the control of guns in Washington State did nothing to protect the innocent victims from this madman.

Enough is enough. This issue needs the serious consideration of all lawmakers and citizens throughout this state. It’s a question of common sense, not how much power the gun lobby, NRA or unreasonable gun users can bring to bare on thin skinned lawmakers. I would like to believe that a majority of the reasonable people of this state could agree that we now need common sense laws to control the possession and ownership of guns.

I understand that guns will still be available to those who want them bad enough in spite of what laws we pass. But, I also think that new gun control laws could substantially reduce the probability of guns falling into the wrong hands and the epidemic of general gun violence that we have now seen in our communities. It would also give law enforcement additional tools to reduce gun violence.

Personally I don’t believe in banning guns, because most people out there are sensible and responsible and if they wish to own a gun they should have the legal right to do so.

I do think that those who wish to own guns should be required to obtain a license in order to own or possess them. Getting such a license would require a state administered test, a training course and the payment of a fee. Background checks would be done on anyone who wishes to have or possess a gun as part of the licensing procedure. Failure to obtain a license would carry a criminal penalty and if an unlicensed person used the gun in commission of a crime they would be subject to an enhanced sentence.

Even those who are ideologically opposed to gun laws should see that the licensing proposal is a reasonable one. They will still be allowed to own guns. The only requirement would be they adhere to the new licensing requirement, which would require them to be law-abiding citizens who have no history of mental illness or criminal convictions.

If we license people to drive automobiles we should be able to license gun owners. We know that guns are at least as dangerous as driving a vehicle, probably more so.

Also the gun show loop-hold (private sales without a background check) should be closed. A proposal to make gun sellers and gun show dealers liable for damages if guns they sell are used in the commission of a crime is also a worthwhile proposal to consider.

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