I think you need a little history lesson. In your editorial, “Common sense must prevail....”, you use the phrase “Irresponsible gun availability,” as if guns are just so much more available, as compared to the past etc.
Did you know that prior to 1968, guns were advertised in the back of comic books, and various magazine, and sold in every hardware store and many department stores, and could be purchased by anybody, of any age, all you needed was money and a postage stamp, and a gun would be delivered to your door by the postman. Licensed gun dealers didn’t exist, anybody could simply order guns from a distributor and resell them.
Now, the press implies that Internet sales are doing the exact same thing, but that is not true, every Internet sale of a firearm must be shipped to a licensed FFL gun dealer, and that dealer must do a NICS background check on the buyer, before delivering that Internet purchased gun to its buyer.
Prior to 1934, it was very common, and almost expected, that soldiers fighting overseas would ship fully functional, machine guns back home to their families as a war trophy, no questions asked, after 1934, you had to pay a $200 tax to legally bring a machine gun back, but many thousands were illegally shipped back anyway. That practice was stopped by the military in the early 1950s, to my recollection.
They even had so called assault weapons, the AR-15, often erroneously referred to as the “Bushmaster” by the press, back in the 1960s, and other semi automatic rifles even earlier, but we didn’t seem to have mass shootings perpetrated with semi automatic guns, or any of those thousands of machine guns in civilian hands back then. As a side note, auto theft and burglary and assault in general was rare back in the 1950s, and early 1960s; I can open a locked 1964 car and have it running, without a key in about 30 seconds, two practiced people could do it in 2 or 3 seconds, but it didn’t happen very much. Now, cars come automatically with alarms and anti theft ignition systems because of skyrocketing auto theft rates starting in the 1970s.
Something has changed in 50 years, and it isn’t the “irresponsible gun availability.”
What has changed in the rise of the welfare state and the rise of irresponsible parenthood and child raising, and single parent families, where children are not supervised, have no father figure or any type of discipline, at home or at school. I remember school corporal punishment, up until the early 1970s, until lawsuits about violating the students rights made that go away.
Children used to be taught that you shouldn’t steal, children used to be taught you shouldn’t kill, now the entitlement generation thinks they can have whatever they want, and they will kill if they can’t have it. Now that the individual right to do whatever you want, at the governments expense, have become ingrained in our society, we have raised a generation of vipers.
I, and millions of other law abiding gun-owners are singled out for vilification because some parents allow their children to spend countless hours, unsupervised, playing ultra violent and ultra realistic video games, and in the process, turn into well trained potential and sometimes actual, murderers. Hand wringing about Hollywood violence, and violent video games will get some lip service, as well as mental illness, but I don’t see any legislation being rushed to the table about those problems, only legislation attempting to further restrict firearms is being proposed.
You used to be able to involuntarily commit the mentally ill, until lawsuits about the rights of the insane made that go away, unleashing tens of thousands of people onto our streets and into society, that need to be locked up for their protection as well as ours.
In the 1950s, if little Johnny smeared paste in the hair of the girl in front of him, he was sent to the principal’s office for a paddling. Now, the whole class is group punished by taking everybody’s paste away because little Johnny is a sociopath, who shouldn’t be singled out for punishment because it is unfair. Just treat everybody equally, pandering to the lowest common denominator.
That philosophy is what your editorial is obliquely espousing: treat everybody equally by taking everybody’s gun owning options away because some can’t play nice. But heaven forbid we change the entitlement, welfare, and anti-discrimination society that is producing these monsters, instead the proposed solution is take everybody’s paste away.
And I must add, getting away from society’s degeneration, to head off the usual gun control arguments:
Regarding the argument “We register cars and license drivers, why don’t we register guns and license gun owners?” I say: There is no legal requirement to register a car, you can buy and own as many and as many types of cars you want, you just can’t legally drive them unregistered on a public highway, ditto on the drivers license, you don’t need a drivers license to drive on private property. And, the penalties for unregistered cars on the highway and unlicensed driving is a civil infraction, not a felony punishable by years of imprisonment, that the gun registration crowd wants.
The gun control crowd says: “Rights are not absolute, you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. You shouldn’t have the right to own a gun that is self loading, or magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.” I say: That is true, your freedom of speech doesn’t include being able to cause death with impunity, but, your tongue is not cut out, or your mouth wired shut before you enter the theater to keep you from possibly yelling fire. The gun control crowd wants prior restraint, so it is impossible for someone to commit the equivalent of yelling fire, with their gun. I should be able to own any gun I want, just like I was able to until 1934, but with that right comes the responsibility to know the difference from right and wrong, and be punished for doing wrong. We no longer teach right and wrong; everything is “relative,” or experience-based upbringing, or some other claptrap. As a responsible adult, I should not be punished or told what I cannot have, based on the actions of others.
But, we don’t punish the lawbreakers. I know personally of three instances where convicted felons were caught illegally in possession of firearms (another felony), and no charges were filed on the illegal gun possession, the county didn’t file charges and the Feds weren’t interested. There is no interest in punishing criminals, only ultimate disarmament of the citizenry.
I will not compromise away something because of the misdeeds of others, as once one compromise is made, another one is demanded.
When rights are concerned, compromise is nothing but theft of a right. It is no different than a burglar showing up on your doorstep and telling you that he will break into your house while you are gone and steal everything you own if he can get in without getting caught, but if you just give him your TV now, he will leave you alone. But a month later he comes back, and this time he wants your stereo in exchange for not breaking into your house, then a month later he comes back again, etc., and eventually, you have nothing and he has everything he wanted, without the risks of trying to take it all at once.
Doug Melton is a resident of Camp Verde.