Re: capicity for violence = less violence? [was Re: Security]

Joe E. Dees (
Sun, 30 May 1999 21:59:51 -0500

There are extreme antigun voices and extreme progun voices, just like ther are extreme antiabortion voices and extreme prochoice voices, and then there's the sensible center, where I reside on this issue. To further draw the parallel, both extreme antiabortion and extreme progun voices (the two "civil rights" issues of the conservative right) assume an absolute position (no abortion, even one minute after conception; no gun restriction, even for the insane, underage or criminally violent) and warn, using the same flawed analogies from the same historical precedents (typically naziism and antebellum slavery in the american south) to argue, by means of slippery slopes and dominoes, of losses of personal freedom of biblical proportions if their absolutistic standard is compromised one iota. On the other side, both extreme prochoice and extreme antigun voices do much the same thing, and draw similar, and similarly flawed analogies, to argue in defence of an unrestricted right to partial-birth abortion for any reason or for none, or the banning of all guns for all citizens and the elimination of sport hunting. My position is kinda like Roe vs. Wade, in which the right to abortion is connected to the level of development of the fetus. No restrictions are permitted in the first trimester, some in the second, and a lot in the third. For me, the right to keep and bear arms should be connected to the level of personal responsibility demonstrated by each individual. Any responsible adult should be able to purchase firearms. The names of those who do not meet the criteria of responsibility (who have been convicted of violent criminal offences, spouse and/or child abuse, or judged mentally unfit by a legitimate psychiatric review) should be kept in a national purchase-prohibited registry, AND NO OTHER NAMES. If you can prove (say, with your birth certificate) that you are of age (18 seems reasonable to me) and your name does not appear on the registry, your purchase should go through. These registries should apply to, and be accessible by, gun dealers, gun shows, pawn shop owners, flea market owners, and any other place where weapons may be reasonably expected to be purchased by people unknown to the seller. Those who knowingly sell a firearm to someone on the prohibited registry should be prosecuted for the sale, and held legally liable for any gun-related crime the buyer subsequently commits. Those who have these matters pending or proceeding in court should have their names provisionally added to the registry, to be removed upon acquittal or judgment of mental fitness. All decisions should be appealable, but the names should remain on the list until the appeals are decided. Trigger locks should be required to be sold with every firearm, and if a shooting subsequently occurs where the shooter has taken the weapon from the owner without consent and the lock was not installed, the owner should be held liable for neglect. If the trigger lock was in place but subsequently picked or broken off, the owner should not be held liable.