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A discussion on gun control

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 1:35 p.m. CDT

From John Rose


The mass killings of children in Connecticut has once again opened a discussion about guns. Unfortunately, it is likely that this discussion will degenerate into two groups talking at each other instead of to each other. Therefore, I propose that emotions be set aside, and a rational consensus is reached on the following points.

1. Stringent background checks must be applied to gun shows and private sales of guns, in addition to retail sales.

2. Gun ownership to prevent foreign invasion or government tyranny is a total myth. In the age of modern warfare, this country will never be invaded by a foreign army, and your assault weapon will not be a defense against missiles, bombs or drones. No single elected official, or group of people would ever be able to overcome the Constitution, the Congress, the courts, or individual members of the military, or law enforcement to impose a dictatorship. If you don't accept that, then you are living in a fantasy world, and you should stop reading now.

3. According to the second amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court, you have the right to own a gun, and even if a majority of the Congress should pass a law saying that you don't, the Constitution and the courts protect you against the tyranny of the majority. No right is an absolute, however. Not freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or any other right. The courts have established over and over again that you cannot own any type of weapon that you might want. Government can and has limited private ownership to certain types of weapons. You cannot own an RPG for instance.

4. No law can make us 100 percent safe. That does not mean, however, that we cannot come to a reasonable consensus about making us safer, without needlessly imposing on your right to own a gun. Just because a determined terrorist can find a way to thwart airport security, does not mean that we should abandon security screenings.

5. Because of the large number of assault weapons already in circulation, and because it is impractical to ban guns based on what they look like, a ban on assault weapons will not work, unless all such weapons are confiscated, and that is simply not going to happen.

6. The real problem in mass shootings is the removable and replaceable ammunition clip, not the type of gun that it fits in. We can never completely prevent public shootings, but the number of casualties would be greatly reduced if the shooter had to pause and reload his gun. Therefore, I propose that ammunition clips be limited to an agreed upon, reasonable, number of rounds. No hunter or target shooter needs 30 round clips, and I would bet that that is true in 99.9 percent of personal defense situations, as well.

7. Because a ban which is not retroactive is not a ban at all, anyone who possesses such a clip should be given one year to turn it in (perhaps a buyback would be in order). Possession of any such clip would carry a very heavy penalty. Yes, I know that some would ignore the law, but just because people ignore texting while driving laws doesn't mean that we should make it legal.

8. Any law which does not address multiple clips of a legal capacity will also not make us safer. Therefore, the sale of extra clips should be tightly regulated. The only valid reason for the purchase of an extra clip is if the original has been damaged. Anyone purchasing an extra should be required to turn in the damaged clip. It is a minor inconvenience for a hunter or target shooter to reload a weapon one round at a time, and that alone would make us safer in any mass shooting situation.

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