A plea for real gun control The question is whether leaders "have the guts to act"

by George Gold
guest commentary posted June 14

There’s an epidemic in America that came, not from a laboratory test tube and not from some animal-to-human transmission, but that was created here, by us.

photo by Karen Laslo
At the July 2 Chico Certified Farmers’ Market, someone hung T-shirts and printed on each shirt the name of a child killed in the May 24 school massacre in Uvalde, Tex.

Guns are everywhere and they’re being used to kill people. They’re killing us in schools, supermarkets, even cemeteries. So is this the best we can do? The level of anger that seemingly is coming from so many parts of our society is frightening. But we have to start somewhere.

In an era of disinformation, any lie can find traction in the circles of the very people who are already angry about the unfairness of life. They then take their frustrations out on the rest of us with their guns. Life isn’t fair, but perhaps we can work to make it … umm … more fair.

Several decades of surveys consistently report that about 60 percent of the U.S. population wants some sort of gun control. The only question is whether the American government has the guts to act. Do we really want to forever worry about surviving a trip to the movies, to the supermarket, to school?

Because that’s where we are right now, in this epidemic.

Over the last several years we have seen pandemics pose threats in a way that shocked us: AIDS. Ebola. Covid. The world responded. We responded. In the United States, more than a million people have died from Covid. But as a society, we took measures to combat these devastating diseases.

Now we need to vaccinate in a different way. There are solutions with proven, positive results that countries like Sweden and New Zealand have found. Anything else is just talk talk talk, blah blah blah, people just trying to weasel out of talking truth to power.

Gun control solutions are really pretty easy. Here are some:

1. Ban all assault weapons, including rapid fire pistols.

2. Require that all existing assault/automatic and semi-automatic weapons be turned in and destroyed via a buyback program.

3. Prohibit any and all purchases of any sort of gun for anyone under the age of 25.

4. Require that any and all gun purchases be subject to a 30-day waiting period during which time a background and security check is conducted.

5. Establish a national database (to date these are local) so that any kind of gun purchase is subject to a legitimate and thorough background check. A national database could be set up in 30 days, thereby establishing one national standard to replace thousands of local standards.

Unless we take these kinds of steps, nothing will change, except more killing.

George Gold is a computer systems engineer, a webmaster and a world traveler who is active in local police reform efforts.

3 thoughts on “A plea for real gun control The question is whether leaders "have the guts to act"

  1. George Gold is right. No one needs an AR15, period. Buying and owning firearms should be a rare privilege, not a right. Acquiring and keeping a gun must be regulated. Imagine if Mr. Gold’s ideas were the law… the Uvalde school shooter…who bought two AR15s for his 18th birthday, would not have been able to acquire the rifles or a “hell-fire” trigger device that turned both his newly purchased AR15s semi-automatic rifles into automatic rifles that can shoot up to 900 rounds per minute. Think about it.

  2. Proposal # 1: Regarding a handgun ban, see McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010). “Rapid fire” handguns is practically a non-existent category (most handguns fire with each successive trigger pull, and automatic weapons are banned as to almost all civilians), so that’s not going to fly. The nebulous category of assault weapon requires more definition, but there is precedent for banning certain guns, and we have an assault weapons ban in California. But see the holding in Bruen that gun restrictions must be rooted in history and tradition.

    Proposal # 2: Semi-automatic guns means most mainstream shotguns, rifles, and handguns, including most guns used for hunting and sport. A .22 semi-auto rifle used by rural youth for shooting soda cans and small rodents would be banned by your proposal. This is the “we’re coming for your guns” proposal. Beyond being unconstitutional, you need to seriously rethink what risk of armed conflict you are comfortable with. I think this is the most reckless proposal, of the five.

    Proposal # 3: See Jones v. Bonta (9th Cir. 2022). California already lost this one trying to defend its ban of sales of long guns to adults between 18 and 21. The Supreme Court probably wouldn’t reverse the 9th Circuit ruling.

    Proposal # 4: There’s a 10-day waiting period in California, and the Supreme Court didn’t take the appeal from the 9th Circuit on this one. A “brief and predictable” waiting period (see Silvester v. Harris, 9th Cir. 2016) is the one proposal of your five that seems legally permissible and can be implemented.

    Proposal # 5: This already exists and doesn’t offend me. Firearms dealers are federally licensed and do federal background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Local checks still exist probably because most crime is primarily and historically enforced and documented by state and local law enforcement, so the local Sheriff might have more info on a person than the feds.

    1. Yes, I agree with Aiden. Gun control could be done, but the actions suggested by Gold just will not happen. We need to forge a more moderate approach and then go from there. Let’s be reasonable and measured about this.

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