Op/Ed By Wallace Mabry
How much more restrictive can the government make existing gun laws, to effectively keep guns out of the hands of those who are legally prohibited from possessing guns and; how can the government insure the guns that are in the hands of those who can legally own them are going to be used, and are being used, in a manner consistent with the law bearing on self-protection?
If we are guided by the various and sundry opinions put forth, we should begin by legislating laws that criminal and mental health background checks should be the primary focus of the implementation and enforcement.
Unless this writer is mistaken, there are currently laws in place requiring criminal and psychological stability background checks on all those who apply and have applied for gun permits. Maybe there are loop holes, but states where those loop holes exist, exist primarily because the lawyer-politicians who crafted the legislation found it expedient to allow for some latitude in the laws to accommodate a certain segment of the citizenry.
Maybe we should seriously consider voting a new set of politicians in office, but, considering the mindsets of politicians, and their motivations, we might need to consider other options.
If current psychological background checks are not thorough enough, or do not rise to the levels to which is being demanded, there might ought to be a movement for the implementation of a battery of psychological tests to be administered to meet the new criteria. The question, then, is who will be appointed to administer the tests, and from what background, other than an academic one, will those appointees be selected?
Certainly permit applicants will also be concerned about any additional application cost.
In respect to laws currently in place, who is responsible for the implementation and enforcement?
All applicants for gun permits must apply through the local police departments who implement criminal background checks via fingerprints. Those fingerprint checks go through the federal fingerprint data base.
Once the fingerprint check confirms the applicant does not have a criminal background, the application (along with the supporting documents) goes to a sitting judge who, one would assume, completes the stages of his confirmation of the suitability of the applicant to legally possess a gun. The permit is then granted.
In many respects, this writer agrees that mental health background checks ought to be a requirement that assures that EVERY possessor of a legal gun has the mental capacity to responsibly own a gun. That would include local police officers, sheriffs, state troopers, and every other gun totting government agent. And that it would be reasonable, under the circumstances, that those officials be held to higher standards of mental health stability because they have, essentially, a license to use their guns against any citizen whom they feel is a threat to their safety.
Let me mention, lest we forget and leave out, those who are calling for and legislating for laws that make a legal gun owner subject to criminal charges if the gun owner’s gun(s) are stolen from his residence or his possession, for laws that duly incriminate an owner of a legal gun if his gun(s) are not secured with a trigger lock, and for those calling for laws that will incriminate an owner of a legal gun if his gun(s) are not secured in a secure, burglar-proof, lock box.
We, absolutely, must have these guns secured away from the creeping burglar who steals his way into our homes, and makes off with our valuables and infrequently, our lives.
Recently, an article in the Democrat and Chronicle also drew this writer’s attention. One of the surrounding county sheriffs is quoted as calling for, or at least suggesting, every owner of a legal gun permit carry his weapon with him daily. Now, that should have some interesting, but morbid, this writer dares say, results.