Owning a vehicle not a right, but owning a gun is

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Lately many citizens are demanding restrictions to the Second Amendment of the Constitution after a recent rash of publicized shootings. Suggestions such as weapons should be registered like vehicles, background checks before weapons purchase, etc. They demand common sense gun laws as if existing gun laws defy common sense. No one ever defines common sense gun laws but it just sounds really good. The logic is since guns cause needless deaths, then gun owners should require a background check. Revoke certain weapons labeled assault weapons. 

As an open-minded person who tries to think inside and outside the box, I have given it some thought and have boiled it down to a the root issue. Should a citizen who uses something legally purchased that may cause the death of another human being be required to have certain limitations to ownership? 

Gun control enthusiast proclaim you need a license to drive a car, why not a license to own a weapon? Does it make common sense to equivocate auto and gun ownership? If the two were comparable, we would need to pass an amendment to the Constitution stating, “A well regulated driving force, being necessary to the mobility of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and drive vehicles, shall not be infringed.” In order to register a vehicle you must first be licensed to drive so to register a weapon the citizen would need to have a weapons license. Every high school student must take a driving course to drive so the converse would require every student to take a gun course. Each would have to pass a weapons test and obtain a gun training permit. Parents would be required to educated their children on gun safety and be present when firing weapons exactly like when learning to drive. We would create a federal Department of Weapons like the Department of Transportation and Indiana would have a Bureau of Firearms. Like public roads the government could build public firing ranges. When out of ammo just pull up to the Gas and Go to fill up the car with gas and pop in to pick up 1,000 rounds of .223 for your registered AR-15. And the coup de gras, now that we have this mandatory arms license it can double as a voter ID. We could kill two birds with one stone. 

In a sense the two are similar. The number one killer of children between the ages of 14 and 19 is the assault automobile followed by suicide with all homicides following in a distant third. All vehicles driven on roads in the United States are registered. Since 2009 approximately 360,000 people have been killed in motor vehicle accidents. Most of the deaths were a result of someone violating a motor vehicle driving law. Most of the violators had a license but some did not. None of the drivers who killed any of the 360,000 people had a background check. Were they competent? Were they too old to drive? Were they insane? Were they drug addicts? Were they alcoholics? Did they post things on their social media that might have indicated they could cause an accident in the future? During the same time period approximately 118,00 people were killed with a gun. Most of the guns were registered. Most gun owners have background checks. Most of the crimes are not committed by gun owners who passed background checks. According to the statistics more deaths are caused by auto collisions. Numerically, we should demand background checks on people getting a driver’s license. One could argue intent between gun violence and vehicle violence was different but the dead person doesn’t really care whether they were shot during a carjacking or that the Gen Xer was checking their cell phone or high on pot when they ran the red light killing an entire family. Dead is dead. People demand small magazine clips but I don’t see people demanding automobile speed control. A Porsche can exceed 180 mph in a country where speed limits a 70 mph. Where is the outrage? Common sense speed control now! Common sense gun laws! Remember we are worried about people killing each other with items legally purchased.

My point is owning a vehicle is not a Constitutional right. The Second Amendment was created to give American citizens the ability to fight back against a tyrannical federal government. The same people clambering for gun control are the same ones calling the current president a dictator. Why would you give up the ability to control our countries fate if some fascist was to take power in the future? Owning a weapon has nothing to do with personal defense or hunting. Just get that out of your silly little head. If the Second Amendment is the issue then amend the Constitution, let us not pretend an alternate intent by beating around the bush. I look at these problems as trees in the same forest. Why do people think it is more important to read a text message than watch the road? Why do people drink or smoke dope then drive? Why do people shoot each other over a simple argument or for no reason at all? Most deaths are not mass shootings. Most gun deaths are by hand guns so why the focus on military style weapons? The main problem is not an assault auto or assault weapon but it is a problem with our society’s ethical health. We have lost a sense of ourselves and what is means to be good American citizens who are responsible for our own actions. We are in moral and ethical trouble. 

Now, for rational people. It is obvious something needs to be done with all these needless deaths. Many people can’t name one person that has been shot but could rattle off a list of people killed in auto accidents. First, the Second Amendment exists to defend the Constitution, why not require gun owners to swear allegiance to her? Background checks could be required as long as criteria for the background check is known and criteria for denial of gun ownership should be based on a law passed by Congress not some third level federal bureaucrat. Just because someone “thinks” you are a danger to others is not enough. So called “Red Flag” laws confiscate property without due process. Only a trial by a judge should the state be able to confiscate property. Non-citizens should not be able to own weapons and if caught with a weapon grounds for immediate deportation. There should be courses available in public schools for weapons use and safety. Maybe even a license to use one. Only serious and sane people should own weapons. Sanity as defined by medical professionals not bureaucrats and definitely not political rivals. Felons should lose the right to possess arms and the right to vote. I believe it should be harder to get a handgun because they are the weapon that is used in most crimes. 

Finally bring back capital punishment for murder and remove the 30-year death row waiting periods. If mass shootings and gun crime demand that we change our Constitution the crime causing the change should demand the ultimate sacrifice. Make the focus of the crime the criminal not the weapon. 

Since automobiles cause more deaths maybe it is time to evaluate limits on having a driver’s license. Everything I said about weapons should apply to vehicles. I drive U.S. 231 to Lafayette to work and I am far more afraid of motorists putting on makeup, smoking, eating, while concurrently texting on a cell phone then I am of my weapons at home in a safe. Start by immobilizing the ability to use a cell phone in a vehicle, unless it is hands free, but even then the driver is distracted. Breathe tests for THC and alcohol to start a car; only sane and sober people should drive. Background checks for drivers licenses. Lose your license for life if you cause an accident while driving impaired. Tracking devices that track your vehicle and your cell phone. If both are on at the same time, your insurance company gets notified. Maybe it is time great-great-grandma starts taking Uber. If we are serious about preventing needless deaths in this country there are many other common sense things we could do to prevent assault things from killing our neighbors. If you believe the restrictions on having a driver’s license are silly now maybe you understand how the other side looks at gun control.

Finally, if you don’t like weapons, then don’t own one. If you are being threatened by a criminal with a gun, then wait for the police, when they arrive I hear they solve 54 percent of all homicide investigations.

Bernard Thompson

Crawfordsville

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