Twice this year I’ve been awoken by the sound of gunshots. The most recent was when a man living in a nearby house shot at his girlfriend during an argument. There was a stand-off with police, and then SWAT arrived and discharged tear gas through a window to get the suspect out. Nobody was hurt – a fact I’m incredibly appreciative of as I witnessed the whole incident unfold.
I don’t frequently observe ordinary citizens carrying guns, but there has been an increasing number of them that I’ve started to notice. And while I’m prepared to admit the gun culture differences between the UK and USA may play into this; detecting them around me doesn’t make me feel safe — in fact, it makes me feel very ill at ease.
Could this be the much-lauded “good guy with a gun” touted as the answer to potential gun violence? Or could this be the same type of person as the man across the street who decided to weaponize what should’ve remained an ordinary argument? How do I know the person carrying a gun isn’t experiencing an unusually bad day? Or a mental break? Or is so bitterly angry about something that they arm their words and actions with a weapon?
It doesn’t matter which side of the gun debate you fall on; nobody can know for sure what kind of day the “good guy” is having. I don’t panic when I encounter someone with their firearm but questions do arise about how safe and responsible they are; I understand human behaviour is flawed — much like the systems for vetting gun owners here in Ohio.
Although this video is satire, it raises some valid issues.
No state permit, registration or licensing is required by law to purchase a rifle or shotgun (a permit is required to carry a handgun); and background checks are not required if you buy from an unlicensed or private seller. Additionally, the local court system meant to revise a weekly list containing the names and details of those barred from owning a gun is frequently not updated for months. People are systematically allowed to slip through the cracks.
Even though some of the staunch supporters of 2nd Amendment rights don’t want any debate or changes made to gun control; I would hope they could at least get behind making sure that laws already in place are actually being followed. This is undoubtedly a reasonable way to facilitate rules that come under the umbrella of a “well-regulated militia” and gun ownership.
I know there are many responsible, level-headed gun owners out there that take all the training and regulations very seriously. However, relying on being able to identify who is the “good guy with a gun” hinges on the fact that you’ll only find out they’re not one when it’s too late. If my neighbour wanted to purchase another gun and bypass any checks that rightfully would prevent that, all he would need to do is acquire his weapon privately.
It’s time that these types of loopholes were closed.
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