As can be expected, this most recent mass shooting sparked media talk about gun control. What was not expected is the silence from the political world. The two main candidates for your vote in November have been silent on what has been in past years a contentious debate. It seems that while there is much outrage over the killings, there is little political will, especially in an election year, of reopening the argument over gun control. And that is too bad, for as this case and the increasing number of such cases in the decade since Columbine gives evidence to, gun control laws need to be revisited. Let me be clear, though. We at The Jail Report are strong supporters of the Second Amendment. As I have said in previous articles, I am a concealed weapons carrier and encourage all law-abiding citizens to take the class and arm themselves. We also believe that gun ownership is a right, but it is also a privilege. And with the great power a weapon gives, there comes great responsibility. And as we have seen, we cannot leave it to individuals to take those responsibilities seriously.
Unfortunately, in areas that threaten the lives of others, the government needs to play a role. For example, the assault weapons ban needs to be reinstated. Before it expired in 2004, the ban restricted the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and shotguns. There were exceptions made for hunters and collectors. There is little justification for a person to possess an assault rifle. Russia is not going to invade and, owing to the structure of our society, there is little threat from the government turning the tanks on its own citizens. At the very least, buying one of these weapons should be a little harder than just walking into a store and plopping some money down. Additionally, we need to look at monitoring ammunition sales.
There are very few reasons for James Holmes, a 24-year-old graduate student, to have thousands of bullets. At the very least, a red light should have started blinking somewhere and a call made to check out this fella. Studies have shown that simple barriers to crime are enough to prevent crime a 5 foot fence around your yard is often enough to discourage a would-be burglar. However, if a crazy guy wants to kill a bunch of people, laws are not going to stop him. But we need to at least make it less easy for the crazy guys to get hold of such lethal weapons. But every once in a while the size of the fence is irrelevant.
The bad guy (or girl) is so intent on criminal activity that no amount of prevention is going to stop him (or her). In that case I make one last recommendation one that seems in opposition to what has been said above. The gist of it is that since bad guys have guns, good guys need to arm themselves. I encourage a nationwide effort to educate the law-abiding public on the proper use of handguns. Qualifying citizens should be able to acquire, learn about, and carry weapons to be used to stop those criminals intent of mayhem. The genie is out of the lamp and there is no way we can stuff him back in. Guns are everywhere, so good guys need to even the playing field with responsible gun ownership.