So far, all that the Obama team has managed with its rhetoric about gun control is to get everybody in an uproar and fuel the sale of guns and ammunition. Gun and sporting goods shops have all but sold out of AR-15s, a popular kind of rifle, and the shelves are bare of the most commonly used ammo. According to published reports, including one in the Christian Science Monitor, some 1.5 million of those rifles were in private hands in America some years ago. Now the number has probably doubled.
On Jan. 16, the president announced his gun control proposals, but they had been reported in outline form for days, so there was nothing new: A ban on making or selling certain rifles and magazines, plus more registration and reporting requirements. Does anyone believe any of this will be enacted or, if it is, that it will work as advertised by preventing the next mass shooting?
The president, by executive order, wants more punishment for lying on forms when buying a gun. If there’s a criminal law that provides for this and it has not been enforced, WHY has it not been enforced? And if there is no law, especially a federal one that applies to gun purchase forms used in Oregon, for example, does Obama think he can create such a law by himself? Is he the emperor now?
As for trying to identify ahead of time all the mentally unstable people who just might some day want to buy a gun, that’s impossible. What about a person who seeks mental-health counseling with a personal problem and then solves it? Should his therapy then be in some federal registry and, years later, prevent him from buying a gun for target shooting or home defense?
If and when it considers specific legislation eventually, Congress ought to remember that its actions often have consequences it did not intend. In the case of guns, that usually means a rush to buy more before any restriction takes effect. (hh)
A previous version of this was troubled by technical glitches.