I was unsurprisingly unsurprised today when I opened up my favorite news app and greeted by the headline, “Obama says fight for gun laws ‘Ought to obsess us’.”
I’m a huge fan of background checks and streamlining the way signs of mental illness or criminal activity flag individuals as being unfit to purchase guns. I’m also a huge fan of the right to own guns, because I’m perfectly aware that a weaponless citizenry is defenseless against government tyranny. It’s the reason the United States often ends up arming rebel forces in countries whose dictatorship we oppose (a fact many seem to gloss over while lamenting our supposedly easy access to firearms). Removing methods of forming a militia is often in the first line of things a controlling, aggressive government will do to assert dominance over the people.
But I do realize that mental illness and defects — possibly due to psychiatric medications themselves, in some cases — are on the rise. We are a country that uses pharmaceuticals to treat many woes, mental and physical, and those medications can have adverse effects on our brains and bodies. We also simply have more people living in the United States today than we did years ago. That alone increases the likelihood that someone somewhere may not be mentally stable or morally centered. It may or may not be a person’s fault if they shoot up a random shopping center. The fact remains, if we’re going to implement gun control laws aimed at keeping guns away from the mentally ill or criminally insane, we need to eradicate the loop holes allowing those individuals to legally purchase guns.
In that regard, politicians and Presidents calling for more gun control reform is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The man who murdered over a dozen people at the Navy Yard last week managed to pass one of the most stringent background checks available in the United States (surpassed only by the higher clearances). If they didn’t flag his secret clearance — heck, if they didn’t deny it in the first place — over an incident where he shot out a guy’s tires in an out-of-control rage bender, I’m not sure how anyone can suggest the law will prevent more gun violence. They didn’t stop him from enlisting, they didn’t catch him when he applied for a contractor job on a military installation, and they didn’t do anything when another state tried to alert the Navy that one of their civilian contractors was hallucinating and becoming paranoid.
Beyond that, criminals are criminals. The “War on Drugs” was so spectacular, I can’t see how we as a nation even listen when politicians spew vitriol about restricting access to guns for our safety. It’s not that hard to get your hands on a gun if you steal one, or buy one from the same guy who sells you crack and meth. I imagine it’s even easier than sending drug mules and unmarked shipping crates into the United States past border patrols, law enforcement, and customs.
Long story short, all I want is for the government to fix what they’ve already done. They haven’t implemented it correctly yet and have no basis to claim that they need more laws. What they really need is to spend less time talking and more time working, then wait to see if their efforts have truly failed. Then, if it still doesn’t work, maybe more people will be willing to listen.