Ever since the savage shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in early January, several politicians have mused about imposing stricter regulations on the sale and purchase of firearms. Considering that many domestic terrorists now buy their guns in an entirely legal fashion, this does indeed seem to be a course of action worthy of more than a moment’s thought. A large segment of the American population, however, would strongly disagree with such a notion as they fear that the government will do the unthinkable; confiscate their weapons. This concern is not entirely unfounded as many a left wing public officeholder has floated the idea in past years. Needless to say, door-to-door roundups would be an assault of horrific proportions on the most basic of freedoms which we as Americans enjoy.
Nonetheless, as the son of a now-retired veteran law enforcement officer and state jail warden, I fully understand the necessity for enhanced gun safety measures in this country. Should the scenario exist that scores of libertarians and even a few self-styled conservatives dream of, one in which obtaining a firearm would be conceivably as easy as purchasing a pack of batteries, bedlam would undoubtedly erupt. This leaves us with a most difficult question: how can guns remain more or less readily available to those willing to purchase them with the insurance that they are not falling into the hands of madmen-on-the-brink? I believe that the answer lies within a government mandate subjecting any individual seeking to buy a firearm to a thirty day waiting period before his or her weapon of choice can be taken home. During this time, local authorities could utilize federal, state, and of course, their own, resources to conduct an extremely thorough background check on the purchaser in question and, should he or she show no disqualifications for owning a gun, such as a history of severe mental illness, relevant criminal record, or lack of proper credentials, arrange for its pickup at the purchaser’s nearest police precinct or sheriff’s depot after registration. In the event that he or she were to fail to meet eligibility standards, one of two things would happen; a series of rigorous psychiatric evaluations over the course of an extended sixty day period, at the conclusion of which the purchaser would be reconsidered for ownership, or outright denial with no possibility of a refund from the store in which the firearm was originally bought.
I realize that some may see this as an undue burden on potential gun owners, but it truly would be, at least from my point of view, a change for the better in our society. People in true need of a firearm would not be barred from purchasing one, and those seeking to buy weapons for dubious purposes effectively prevented from doing so. The realities of our changing times demand new approaches to solving old problems; failing to realize this will only harm us all in the long run.
Guns are now, have been, and always will be an essential component to the culture of the United States. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, despite what some might say. However, it must be made that only the right sort of people are afforded the privilege of owing a possession holding the capacity for such destruction as a firearm. Anything less than this would be sheer barbarianism.