Originally Posted by horatio
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.
That's the thing that has really irritated me of late. There is a fair amount of negligence that goes on that contributes to the number of gun related deaths or injuries. At my job, the term "accidental discharge" has been removed from policy. It's now called a "negligent discharge". Take the young boy killed in, I think, Pennsylvania several weeks ago. His dad went to a store to try to sell some of his guns. He had taken out the magazine before hand, but he didn't know that the chamber was loaded. Basic firearms training from boot camp is when you download a weapon you remove the source of ammunition AND inspect the chamber. You do not assume that the chamber is clear.
A lot of accidents involving firearms have some degree of negligence. Very rarely do pure accidents happen, but they do. I think a USCG unit here in Washington had a round discharge at a clearing station. The person followed procedure. He had the gun in the clearing barrel. Removed the source of ammo. Locked the slide to the rear an observed the round eject. Manual says to maintain positive control of the firearm at all times and do no try to catch the round. The round apparently landed at just the right angle on some gravel with just enough force to set off the primer and the round went off. Fortunately no one was hurt. If a gun is properly maintained and kept in working condition then you really don't see accidents, it's more negligence. And if the gun isn't kept in good condition, well that's also a form of negligence.
If we want to talk about taking steps to reduce and prevent firearms related deaths, dealing with negligence is where it really needs to begin. I'm not saying it's just as easy as that. I admit that I do have to catch myself from being overly suspicious about advocates of regulations, not because I don't like bureaucracy (although that is true), but there is that gut reaction to smash your face through a wall when a government official votes on banning something without knowing that the hell it is or what it does (ie barrel shrouds).
As far as the case in Newtown. I think we're not only faced with an issue of how to keep guns from getting into the hands of individuals with mental problems, but also how do we treat people with mental problems. Even the military is being faced with this issue. Just within the past month there's been the idea floating around that guns should be taken away from military personnel who are deemed to be at risk of committing suicide, which is all well and good in terms of the intent, but there's a lot of service members that committed suicide without using a gun. There is a stigma that exists regarding seeking aid for mental problems that shouldn't be there and in some cases there is a bureaucracy that has been known to go out of its way to avoid helping a person obtain treatment especially when treatment may entail a financial cost to that bureaucracy. It just amazes me that in mental illness cases such as suicide, when it happens there's a huge knee jerk reaction among a lot of people to take away guns. When I hear about such cases the first thing that goes to my mind is, here we have a person in severe mental and emotional distress who in a sense was screaming for help or a way out and we as a society didn't hear his/her call for help when the person was alive and we still aren't hearing it even when it's literally as loud as a gun shot.