Do Americans love Guns or Gun Laws More?

I saw this phrase in a great discussion in the Herald and News out of Oregon this past week and it really caught my attention. Not because it was another run of the mill rhetoric article passionately supporting one extreme or the other of gun laws but because it just made good common sense. State Senator Betsy Johnson gave a guest opinion, “Oregon gun law try won’t accomplish much,” and in it discussed a new Oregon law surrounding guns that is relevant to everyone in any state because these set precedents and the associated loopholes that exist.

I wanted to share the law as they are designing it and what will most likely pass but also on the loopholes that can exist in these types of laws, regardless of which side of gun law you are supporting. Look past the individual details and focus on the process and how these are constructed is what is important here. Then think of our own state laws and how easy this can be to put in place. It’s a great example of our process that shows we may in fact love Gun Laws more than our Guns.

The bill in question is 941 which supposedly close a “loophole” in private gun sales. In essence, it says if you are selling a gun privately, you now need to go to licensed gun dealer to run a background check. Sound familiar to the recent Washington State laws we have discussed earlier…a great example of how these laws impact other states and other states are like lemmings and follow along.

Part of the goal is to keep the guns out of the hands of “felons” and the “mentally ill”. It’s pretty obvious by now that if a felon wants a gun, they don’t go to a private seller or gun dealer, they find it on the black market so that probably won’t change much. As for the mentally ill, most are not proven to be mentally ill until after they have shot someone, not usually identified before this happens. So both of which make this bill somewhat worthless in controlling violence or having guns in the wrong hands.

Senator Johnson goes on to point out three primary loopholes in the current bill…

  1. Being able to control the activities of the mentally ill has been a discussion for a long time. There are many rights the mentally ill have (which is a good thing) but they can be troublesome when it comes to gun laws and recognizing someone is mentally ill “before” they commit the crime is where the difficulty arises.
  2. The inability or failure to restrict the access of firearms to felons has always been and continues to be a huge issue. This particular Bill does nothing to strengthen or enforce more prison time for a felon who illegally has access to firearms…so the problem will continue.
  3. The third issue she talks about is one of constant discussion on many sites, many of which are not relating to gun laws…the moral decay in society. This is a much bigger topic but one she believes is becoming the “norm” rather than the exception today in society. This Bill doesn’t focus on this issue at all and thus the problem will only continue if not get worse. Where this is particularly disturbing in gun law is the massive growth in DIY gun manufacturing…with the likes of 3D printing and other technologies rapidly gaining acceptance.

So while guns might be increasing, the number of gun laws might be increasing even more rapidly…and not doing anything to help both the gun owner and non-gun owner. Taking gun law out of the politics and into the practical solutions category doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. This, according to Senator Johnson, is the ultimate “fail” in the issue of gun laws. I agree…gun laws should be to protect and encourage responsibility, not restrict and contain when there is no benefit to people, regardless of the side of politics you might sit.

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