So, I know I've been absent. I did a brief foray into the world of security work again, and it sucked. So, there I was, catching up on my blogs, when I saw Lawdog's series of gun control posts. I looked over the suggestions in his Background Checks post. As I did so, I thought to myself...this sounds a lot like a basic licensing program. It functions to separate those who can and can't own a firearm. Of course, it shouldn't tell you what kind you should have, but that's a different subject. So, back to the licensing idea, the people the state declares unfit fall into roughly two categories:
1. Criminals who have committed crimes sufficient for them to be barred the basic human right of self defense.
2. Those deemed mentally deficient by the state.
Some people wonder why those in category one are still alive or out of prison. What happens if they were simply deemed 'negligent with a firearm' or something similar? I mean, not like 'popping off rounds in suburbia for teh lulz', but how about something like 'I accidentally carried into a post office'. That might be grounds for other sanctions, but is it the sort of thing that should remove a person's right to firearms forever? I endorse it in cases of 'terminal stupidity', such as the case of people shooting friends while they wear bulletproof vests. That kind of idiocy should merit the penalty for both parties, should they survive.
Now, the second part is where things get tricky. People will scream bloody murder about suicide rates among gun owners, as if they couldn't be trusted. I read somewhere that almost everyone goes through a 'severe depressive episode' at least once in life. Really, it's understandable. Heartbreak, loss of a parent...but if you seek help for it, does this mean you should have your guns taken away? I don't think so. I mean, I had a real rough time in August once I got dumped. Spending ten days with Sigboy and getting my recoil therapy on was something that helped me a lot. But, back to the question, does being depressed at some point mean that you no longer have the right to self-defense? I definitely think people on the Mental Health Express (schizophrenics, etc who do the six months out of the hospital, six months in) shouldn't have access to firearms. But where do you draw the line? Does someone with a long term, chronic depression problem not have the right to self-defense?
In Canada, the recent dealbreaker on the death of the long gun registry was the fact that the brother of one of the MP's voting killed himself with a rifle two days before the vote. How do people expect to use a licensing system or the registry to prevent that? Sometimes, it just happens. Even if you roundly violate someone's right to medical privacy, sometimes you just can't prevent it. Case in point- a couple of years ago, a buddy of mine from the army got a medical discharge from the army. He's living free, fat stack from the government. Two weeks later, word comes back that one day, he walked into the back yard, and blew his brains out with his shotgun. No warning. No history of substance abuse or depression. Just walked outside and offed himself. No note, nothing. I'm not sure how common that is, but still. How in the name of God would this have been prevented by even the most invasive legislature?
Since I've mostly come up with a fistful of questions, I'm going to propose something of a solution that will, no doubt, be attacked as unconstitutional. Do a basic license, a lot like a driver's license. Hell, attach it to the driver's license, as a little 'G for gun-safe!' symbol on the back. You renew it whenever you renew your driver's license. Basic check: Violent criminal or deemed mentally unfit? No? Alright, go buy some guns! Declared unfit? Turn over your driver's license, because if I don't want you to have something that makes little pieces of metal go fast, I certainly don't want you to have something that makes a tonne of metal go fast. As far as faking a driver's license goes, have potential purchasers show two pieces of ID.
How's that for a slice of fried gold?