Assault Weapons – It’s time for a Change

We have a gun problem in the United States of America. We had two mass shootings with days of each other. Do we need more impetus than that to realize we need to enact immediate change?

Republican Senator Ted Cruz, one of the most corrupt politicians still in office, says gun ownership should be as hassle-free as owning a car. What Cruz and his cronies forget is that owning and operating an automobile requires a registration and license. While that’s not what Cruz meant, I think it’s a good idea. Gun owners should be required to register their weapons and demonstrate competency for a license.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress worked together to institute a 10-year ban on assault weapons. The results were impressive. A study looking at mass shooting data from 1981 to 2017 found that mass-shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur during the 1994-2004 federal ban period. Unfortunately, Republicans in power let the ban expire in 2004 and as a result, mass shootings returned.

On the heels of the recent 2021 Atlanta spa shootings and the 2021 Boulder shootings, President Joe Biden has called for a new ban on assault weapons. I applaud this move.

Japan has a population of over 127 million people, yet the country sees less than 10 gun deaths a year. By contrast, the United States sees 38,390 deaths a year from firearms.

The difference is in gun control policies. I understand the desire to own one or more guns for protection or for hunting. I have been a gun owner myself. But as citizens, not law enforcement, do we need assault weapons? Are you really going to go hunting with an AR-15? If you are, it doesn’t say much for your hunting skills.

In Japan, if someone wants to own a gun, they must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and achieve a 95% accuracy on a shooting range test. They must also pass a background check and a mental health evaluation. Every three years they must retake the class and exam. These are logical protections that work.

Republicans are famous for saying that Democrats want to take your guns. Like most things the Republicans say, it is a lie. Clinton didn’t take your guns. Obama didn’t take your guns. All we want is safe and reasonable gun ownership. This can be accomplished in a model following policies that have succeeded in other countries, like Japan.

In Switzerland, all men deemed reasonably fit for service must serve in the military. As such, they are trained on how to operate a handgun and/or rifle. When their service is up they can purchase and keep their weapons, but they have to have a permit for them. Switzerland hasn’t had a mass shooting since 2001.

There is nothing wrong with requiring that people be trained to handle weapons before they can own them. There is also nothing wrong with requiring gun owners to pass a test and maintain a valid gun ownership license.

A recent proposal that is gaining traction is that gun owners should carry liability insurance. It is a radical idea, yet sometimes radical change is what is needed. We are required to carry liability insurance on our automobiles, why not on our guns?

Guns can kill. There is no argument there. Killing is what guns are designed to do. If we want our country to be safe for our children and our neighbors, we need stronger gun control policies.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I would say gun control works a lot better for preventing gun violence than thoughts and prayers do after the fact.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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