Anyone who can't withstand a rational debate on the subject of gun control -- particularly in light of last week's
Is it too much to ask that every person wanting to possess a firearm be subject to a battery of tests -- everything from intelligence and emotional quotient exams to a psychological evaluation and background check? When America's Founding Fathers drew up the Second Amendment, they didn't do so with the mentally stunted, emotionally disturbed and deeply insecure in mind. Back in their time, life was relatively challenging unto itself, and they must have figured that anyone who could survive day-to-day existence could surely handle a firearm if need be.
A question that has repeatedly come up since the
The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms, but in other countries --
Canadian law requires a license and a safety course in order to own, borrow or store any sort of firearm. Police conduct a criminal background check and a safety screening to ascertain whether an applicant has "threatened or attempted suicide, suffered from or been diagnosed or treated by a medical practitioner for: depression; alcohol, drug or substance abuse; behavioral problems; or emotional problems," or "been reported to the police or social services for violence, threatened or attempted violence, or other conflict in your home or elsewhere," or recently suffered a relationship breakdown, job loss or bankruptcy. If an ex-wife tells the cops that perhaps you are not sane, then too bad for you.
Such a regulatory process also means fewer guns floating around. But what if a criminal did happen to be packing heat? Would you wish that you had a weapon so you could have a movie-style shootout? No, you would swallow your pride and let him take what he wanted, then call the insurance company.
Believe me, I understand the acute frustration one feels when being robbed or otherwise victimized. I was mugged on the subway in
So how can America go about fixing its gun laws? Well, it's complicated, because all the crazies are mixed in with the sane gun owners. Since there was no sanity litmus test at the outset, how about implementing mandatory license renewal complete with psychological evaluations and background checks? Anyone failing to comply with a basic psychological competency test should have his weapons revoked.
It would likely take at least a generation to better balance individual gun rights with everyone else's right to their own day-to-day freedom and safety, but the shift in cultural mind-set needs to start somewhere.
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- Put Prospective Gun Owners Under the Microscope
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- Newtown Shines Spotlight on Mental Health
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