Gun control fantasy: NRA keeps fear alive among gun owners

Gun control fantasy: NRA keeps fear alive among gun owners

February 23rd, 2013 in Opinion Times

This is the South. This is a place where guns are part of everyday culture.

So the fact that only 5 in 100 Hamilton County residents have handgun carry permits while just one store here sells more than a dozen guns a day speaks volumes to the fantasy that there already is too much gun control in our country.

The real Remington reality here -- and around the country -- is that we have a lot of gun disconnect.

Here are some facts:

• You don't need a permit to own or buy a handgun or long gun in Tennessee.

n If you're buying from a dealer, you have to show a driver's license and let them run a background check to see if you have ever been convicted of a felony.

• If you buy from an individual, you don't even have to do that. You just have to fork over the money.

• You only need the handgun carry permit if you intend to carry the weapon on your person in public. And according to state records, far more people in the suburbs think they need that protection than people living in the heart of the city, where crime is supposed to be so bad that you should be afraid, very afraid.

Here is a falsehood manufactured by a National Rifle Association, which is perhaps more interested in fear-mongering to raise membership and money than in any real effort to help law-abiding people feel safe -- with or without guns: "They [the government] only care about their decades-old gun control agenda -- ban every gun they can." ... This comes straight from the National Rifle Association's website.

The only proposed legislation from the government seeks common-sense gun laws limiting firearms like assault weapons that are a threat not just to citizens but also to police.

"No law-abiding citizen in the United States of America has any fear that their constitutional rights will be infringed in any way," said Vice President Joe Biden Jr. in Connecticut on Thursday. "None. Zero."

But let's get back to the numbers:

Shooters Depot on Shallowford Road sells guns six day a week, and averages 360 firearms sales a month, according to records. That's about 15 guns a day. And it's just one of 1,100 licensed firearms dealers in the state.

There are a lot of guns out there.

NRA says the government should focus on keeping guns from criminals.

So where are gang members getting all their guns? Standard answer: The guns are stolen. Current gun law seems pretty loose here, too

Guns are tracked with their serial numbers and the license dealer you bought yours from records that number and your purchase and name. You've gotten your permit and bought two new handguns. You decide in a few weeks you really only like one of them, so you sell the other to your neighbor. The neighbor doesn't have a permit, but he doesn't need one because he only plans to keep the gun in a locked box in the chest beside his bed. He dies of a heart attack in a few weeks and his son-in-law sells the gun to a woman he works with. The woman's home is burglarized while she's away, and the gun is taken.

But the serial number tracking on that gun stops with you.

If a punk uses it to shoot a rival -- or maybe his teacher -- and drops the gun running from school, police will have to start with you and hope to work down the chain of people who had it to find the woman it was stolen from.

Even if it would be helpful and illuminating to know where gang members and criminals are getting their guns, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- which is charged with enforcing federal firearms laws -- is forbidden by law to release it.

That helpful nugget, by the way, is also compliments of the NRA, which pushed through that law.

And consider the present permitting and tracking system in light of the Newtown school shootings' new scrutiny of guns and mental health concerns.

How exactly are we to ensure that someone who is mentally ill can't get a carry permit for a gun, since hospital and mental health records are not public?

The only way a gun dealer could possibly decline a sale to you on mental health grounds would be if a court somewhere has adjudicated you mentally ill and it was noted in an available database.

People need to stop listening to the NRA's fear machine.

It's time to find some solutions. Isn't that what the Constitution embodies -- cooperative checks and balances to enable a presumption of liberty?