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Sensible Gun Control We Can Live With

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Tom Lohr is a navy veteran, world traveler, adventurer, baseball fan and hot dog aficionado. He loves dogs and hates political correctness.

Gun Control We Can Live With

The debate about gun control rages on.

What would sensible gun control look like? Something that would actually prevent shootings? It is possible, and both gun advocates and haters can find a middle ground that can make an impact.

Firstly, just like addicts, we have to acknowledge that we do indeed have a problem. America has more gun violence than any nation on the planet. Doing nothing will only perpetuate the issue, and it will invariably become worse.

Secondly, strict gun control proponents need to educate themselves. Too many are unable to distinguish between automatic, semi-automatic, and bolt-action rifles. Knowing little to nothing about firearms means they cannot intelligently engage in gun control discourse and do their cause more harm than good. Here is a list of items and facts that supporters of gun control can do and embrace to better bolster their position.

1. Stop Demonizing the NRA

The National Rifle Association is primarily concerned with two things: gun safety and the unwavering protection of the Second Amendment. Not agreeing with the Second Amendment is not a reason for trying to repeal it. Safeguarding this constitutional right should be a priority of every American. Gun safety courses prevent accidents that often prove fatal. Defending constitutional rights does not make one a dangerous zealot. Additionally, not one mass shooter has been a member of the NRA. The organization is made up of Americans that value the freedoms our nation has worked and fought to achieve. A good question is: why are you not a member of the NRA?

2. Stop Demonizing “Assault Rifles”

Any rifle can kill you. The musket was the “assault rifle” of its era. The fact is, quasi-military-style rifles are fun to shoot and collect and are decent for hunting. Banning these semi-automatic weapons would do little to reduce gun deaths. In fact, more people are killed by hammers and blunt objects than by assault rifles (2016 FBI statistics). Why isn't anyone calling for a ban on hammers? Also, banning weapons would only serve to keep them out of the hands of people that want to own them legally. Banning anything seldom works. How's that ban on heroin working out?

Chart showing the types of guns used in murders.

Chart showing the types of guns used in murders.

3. Stop Calling for Mandatory Background Checks

Why? Because background checks are already mandatory. The exception is person-to-person sales; like selling your AR-15 to your neighbor or uncle. Every time there is a call for mandatory background checks, gun owners shake their heads and look for someone informed to carry on the conversation. I have purchased at least six weapons in three different states. Every time I had to pass a background check.

4. Stop Using Victims to Push an Agenda

Each time gun-control fans parade shooting survivors (especially children) on stage or television to call for stricter gun control, they lose the high ground. Exploiting tragedy is shameful.

5. Stop Comparing the United States to Australia

Gun ban nuts love to point out how banning “assault rifles” in Australia led to a reduction in gun-related deaths. Have you ever been to Australia? I have. Australia does not have a rampant gang culture and has a completely different historical relationship with guns. Thinking that what works down under will work in the USA is foolish. Stricter gun control in America does not mean fewer shootings; ask anyone that lives in Chicago.

How Do We Make America Safer?

So what would sensible gun control look like? Something that would guarantee the preservation of Second Amendment rights but aid in preventing gun-related deaths? Here is a three-point plan that any reasonable person could agree with, regardless of which side of the gun control debate they live on.

1. Ban the Sale of Bump Stocks

I know I said banning something does not usually work, but in the case of citizens that already own semi-automatic rifles, they tend to be law-abiding people and would likely steer clear of bump stocks. Criminals who want one will still be able to get their hands on one. So why do I favor banning them? Strictly for safety reasons. A bump stock basically turns a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun. Take it from someone that has shot a wide variety of fully automatic weaponry; they are wildly inaccurate and hard to control. They ride and buck and when someone untrained gets their hands on one there is no telling where those bullets will go. On the flip side of that, if you are ever being shot at by someone, you should hope they have a bump stock on their weapon. There is a lesser chance they can target you accurately and they will burn through their ammunition quickly.

2. Close the Person-to-Person Background Check Loophole

If two people want to close a deal that involves a weapon, they should be required to meet at a gun store and the purchaser pays a small fee to the store owner to run a background check. It is quick and easy. Once the seller has reviewed the check, he can sell the gun. There should be a hefty penalty for circumventing this procedure.

3. Engage Medical Professionals

Allow doctors and psychiatrists access to the national background check database. Doctors already have computer databases that keep track of patient records. In the event that a doctor thinks a patient is too unstable to purchase a weapon or is prescribed a medication that could induce instability, the doctor could simply check a box on his database and it automatically feeds to the national background check system. Gun purchases by the patient would be blocked until cleared by the doctor. Linking the databases could be done in a weekend; it's the 21st century. For those that have HIPPA concerns, keep in mind there are a lot of people willing to trample on the Second Amendment. Comparatively, disclosing some HIPPA information to prevent a mass shooting should be a no-brainer.

Reasonable and Sensible

And there you have it, a gun control plan everyone can live with. There will, of course, be those that will stop at nothing but a complete semi-automatic rifle ban. Do not let those folks fool you. Their endgame is a total ban on all weapons, and banning certain types of rifles gets their agenda on track for a ban on all things that go bang. That is why I belong to NRA.

Also keep in mind that no legislation, including a total ban, will prevent all gun deaths. Just as no amount of oversight, safety, or laws will prevent all plane crashes. And remember, if gun-ban supporters were really concerned about the safety and well-being of Americans, they would be calling for banning cigarettes long before guns.

Guns aren't the biggest threat facing America.

Guns aren't the biggest threat facing America.

© 2018 Tom Lohr