Monday, January 10, 2011

Stopping the Next Tucson: Suggestion about Gun Control Consistent with the Second Amendment

The individual who pulled the trigger in Tucson is clearly a disturbed person.  He was likely stirred up by intemperate, toxic talk on television, radio, and the Web.  But what is the most effective way of making such crimes, which tear the very fabric of our democracy, less likely to happen from now on?  Surely, keeping weapons out of the hands of such disturbed people is the most direct way.

The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, but not by criminals and people in mental institutions.   How difficult would it be to add to this list of reasonably excluded people those who have shown signs of mental unbalance and propensity for violence?

Jared Loughner showed such signs - to his teacher and by his own postings online.   How difficult would it be to get teachers and readers on MySpace and Facebook pages to report such indications of unbalance, such troubled individuals, to a central clearinghouse, that all gun dealers would be obligated to consult before selling a weapon?

This is far from a perfect solution.  But surely it would help.   The toxic talk could be reduced, too, not by law but by a public which turns off such talkers and walks away from online sites that traffic in the metaphors of violence.    But since there is no telling just what can set off a sick person, a better way of reducing the likelihood of murder of public and private citizens for political reasons is to do more, much more than is done now, to keep guns out of their hands.

A nine-year old child killed, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition, four other people killed - we as our society can't continue doing business as usual when it comes to the gun that did this.  And while we're at it, how about banning automatic clips - the most lethal kind of ammunition - which the Second Amendment says nothing about at all.
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