Three simple things to do now about guns

In response to the Newton Massacre the NRA has come up with their own solution. Put an armed guard in every school in America. Our mouths are still agape.

I’m not an expert, but I feel passionately that something must be done to stop ordinary citizens taking their lives in their hands by just walking outside their doors. Which is what we do in a country with enough guns in circulation to supply every man, woman and child in the population.

I have more hope now that something can be done, due to two things: One, everyone in their right minds have seen that the NRA’s answer is blindingly stupid. Two, the recent elections showed that people have become less gullible, and less susceptible to the fear tactics.

I have no fear about putting forward my own simple suggestions, because I know they could not possibly be as stupid as the NRA’s.

What could be done now? There are examples from Australia, Britain, Israel and others.

1. Immediately dedicate funds to a buy-back program. So the government is not “taking” your guns—you are selling them back to the government at a fair market value. [Australia]

2. Limit the sale of ammunition to individuals to 50 bullets every two years. [Israel limits it to 50 over a lifetime–at least, so said Alan Derschowitz recently in an interview.]

3. Simultaneously, pass an assault weapons ban, and ensure that background checks and a 30 day waiting period are needed for ALL legal gun purchases. [Milder version of the UK]

And the great thing is that none of that violates anyone’s “right to bear arms”.

Why not?

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Newtown: Angry and disgusted, but not surprised.

Angry, disgusted, powerless, grief-stricken. All the things I felt after hearing yesterday about the horrible massacre of little children in Newtown, Connecticut. What I did not feel was astonishment.

Astonishment I felt to the fullest in April 1999, when Columbine happened. I will never forget that day, never forget how oppressed and overwhelmed I felt. How I brought my teenage sons together that night and we prayed for the families of the victims, prayed for the souls of those killed.

Since Columbine, the US has had hundreds of deaths from mass shootings. Of children and adults. Surprise is no longer the first emotion I or anyone else feels. But sorrow, disgust, anger, powerlessness–they are always there.

Anger is uppermost today. Because I know why nothing is being done to stop the senseless gun killings.

Simply, a lot of people are profiting from guns. The manufacturers, the sellers, the politicians who are in bed with the first two. Then add the gutless wonders of lawmakers who are afraid to be seen as soft, to be offending the powerful gun lobby, and you get a whole lot of people invested in doing nothing.

Meanwhile innocent people, including children, die by the dozens.

“You are trying to take away my guns,” said a gun-lover to me in a Twitter exchange the last time there was a shooting, not many weeks ago. “I need to protect myself and my home.”

That’s the nonsense that fills their heads courtesy of the gun lobby. People want to TAKE AWAY their guns and their rights

What the bloody hell are they so afraid of, I ask? There is a good and decent police force in every village, town and city. And why is human life so disregarded that every breach of your personal space requires that someone be shot and most likely killed? Someone in the car next to you plays their music too loud and it’s okay to shoot them?

They cite the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment. How about we say it’s okay to bear any arms that existed when the Second Amendment was passed and the Bill written, but nothing else. You can bear those arms, but not assault weapons.

Actually civilian possession of military weapons, and big magazines should be criminalized. Numbers of guns held by civilians should be limited to one non-automatic gun each. It won’t stop the massacres altogether but it will reduce their numbers to the point where when there’s one, the reaction will be: “Oh, my G-d, I can’t believe this!” rather than: “Oh no, not again!”

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