Monday, August 5, 2019

Help me understand guns

This weekend was one of the deadliest on record ever for gun violence. Dozens were killed and more injured in separate shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

So, today, I take a diversion from employment law to ask a simple question.

Can someone help me understand guns?

I’ not a gun person. I’ve never owned a gun. I’ve only shot a gun once in my life (I didn’t care for it). I don’t begrudge anyone the right to lawfully own a gun. But, I don’t understand the debate and push-back over what it means to lawfully own a gun.

It seems to me that there are two common sense reforms we can (and should) institute now to help curb gun violence.

1. Universal background checks. Because of a gap in our federal gun laws, people can purchase guns from unlicensed sellers (those who sell guns online, at gun shows, or anywhere else without a federal dealer’s license) without passing a background check. This is insane. We already have the database established, and in 90 percent of cases background checks occur in less than two minutes. Extending background checks to all purchases of firearms is an easy fix. Indeed, no one should want anyone obtaining a firearm if they are not fit to own one, period.

2. Assault weapon ban. Assault weapons have been illegal before. President Clinton signed such a law in 2004, in response to several high-profile mass shootings. It expired, however, in 2004, and has never been renewed. No civilian needs a weapon that can fire hundreds of rounds in the blink of an eye. It serves no purpose for sport or protection. The only reasons for someone to own an assault weapon is because they want to be able to kill a large quantity of people quickly, or because they like them. That’s it. We should all be willing to sacrifice the latter to stop people lusting for the former.

So, gun rights people, enlighten me. Why do you oppose universal background checks and an assault weapon ban? Because I just don’t get it. I need someone to explain it to me. What am I missing? Why not institute these two reforms?
* Photo by Jose Alonso on Unsplash