Originally Posted by martok2112
Yes, I do believe in screening prior to ownership of a firearm. But, it's just as easy to be able to acquire a weapon now, thanks to the internet. There used to be a 14 day wait on handguns. One can walk into a pawn shop and buy the pistol of their choice, and walk out with it same day because the background check can be done via internet. But, if the person passed, well, they get the firearm. If it shows up that a potential buyer has a felony conviction, or has mental issues, then hell no that weapon's not going to be sold to them, not unless the seller wants to end up with jail time as well.
I also believe in licensing, just like drivers' licenses. Same rules apply. If you are a convicted felon, or have a history of mental questionability, then you are not to be able to obtain a license for a firearm. Ideally a license means that I am clean to carry a weapon, that I am a responsible owner of a weapon(s), and that I know how to use it properly. Use the weapon illegally (robbery, home invasion, murder), then obviously you lose the license, as well as your ability to obtain one in the future, to say nothing of legally obtaining firearms. Unlike vehicular licenses, firearms licenses should be a one time thing. You lose it, there is no chance of getting it back, if you used your firearm in a criminal act.
I also dislike overregulation and bureaucratic crap and appreciate that we find some common ground, moderate regulation of gun ownership that tries to prevent criminals and psychopaths from getting access to a gun.
Then again, all of the above is academic. Why would a potential criminal go about legal means to obtain the tools of their trade? The less of a paper trail they leave, the less that can be used to convict them, save for the fact that they would have charges of illegally owning/using a firearm without license.
I'm not scared of guns. Guns don't fire themselves. I'm scared of the people that can use them, and that's why I prefer to be able to defend myself under equivalent circumstances. Better to be on the negotiating end of a gun, rather than the business end.
I totally agree, organized crime does get its hand on weapons independent of the law (hell, if weapons are illegal they can even deal with them like drug dealers!) and even petty criminals might wanna get an illegal gun.
But in the case of this school shooting an adolescent guy picked the guns of his mother who thought that she needed them to defend her home when things go sour (which is obviously a lunatic notion, when there is a social problem you cannot close your door and defend your castle). I am definitely afraid of guns in the hands of such people who are either poor parents or neglect to put the guns our of the reach of their children.
At last I wanna mention the problem of multiple equilibria. You mentioned that you want a gun in order to keep level with the criminals who might attack you (I think the damage of white collar crime upon ordinary people is far larger than that of petty criminals but that is another topic) and we know this logic from the balance of power logic of foreign policy. I am not a pacifist and I am not an anti-gun guy either. But I think it is preferable to reduce arms internationally and domestically simply because it wastes less resources. So I am not a hippie who says that arms races are so dangerous but just an economist who sees waste and the potential for a cooperative equilibrium with less waste.
When you would e.g. live over here you wouldn't deem it less necessary to own a gun simply because fewer guys and fewer bad guys own guns (if I may be cynical, our trick is to not use but produce and sell the weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia).