Gun Laws Work, They Just Don’t Go Far Enough

Hey there reader, I hope you’re doing great.  Here’s something to think about: the vast majority of gun owners voluntarily comply with gun laws.

And before Omar Mateen killed 49 and injured 53 on June 12, 2016 he looked like millions of other gun owners: he had a job, paid taxes, passed background checks, didn’t get in trouble with the law. Sure he was investigated twice by the FBI in 2013 and 2014. But these investigations alone didn’t prohibit him from buying a semiautomatic rifle one week before the shooting.

I bet if Mateen was blocked however, he still would have accessed a semiautomatic rifle from the Internet, like armslist.com, gun conventions, straw purchasers or he could have stolen one. All of these alternative methods circumvent the background check process.

More than 75 percent of the guns used in mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 were obtained legally.  This means our gun laws work, but they don’t go far enough.  The problem is our background check laws yielded a false-negative, an unintended outcome: the legislation was weak by design and didn’t go far enough.  And gun control critics use gun law failures as proof they don’t work.  This thinking is both backwards and wrong.

I was recently asked, why do we even have background checks, all they do is identify who is buying a gun before they complete the sale. I think the background check legitimizes the sale and the state validates the sale because ultimately, the state is responsible for permitting or prohibiting firearm ownership, preventing terrorism, deterring gun violence and enforcing gun laws.  And it is the state who regulates who can own firearms, the Second Amendment not unlimited.

The vast majority of gun owners already voluntarily comply with gun laws albeit regretfully, spitefully, resentfully, so they can keep their guns. Using this logic, then we can assume the vast majority of gun owners will comply with greater gun control policies like background checks, permit to purchase gun laws, safe storage gun laws, taxes on guns, magazines, ammunition and a prohibition of suspects on the FBI’s terror watch list and no fly list from buying guns. These laws are simple, affordable and popular.

True, none these laws wouldn’t have stopped Mateen from killing on his own. But I’m saying a good, comprehensive gun policy now is better than a perfect plan later.

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kristianberhost@gmail.com

I want to write about new experiences, the people I meet and the things I learn. I moved from Tempe, AZ to Arlington, VA with my dog 3 years ago. We love it here.

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