I wonder if anyone has the cojones to weigh in on this one:
For years now one of the questions that has bedeviled us is what, if anything, can or should we do to curb guns and the violence that accompanies them. The idealists want to simply outlaw guns. Just pass a law and....pfffft....problem solved. The Bubba's want to arm us all with Gatling guns and assault rifles....commence firing!
Being consistent with my philosophy of avoiding the extremes, I agree with those who say guns aren't the problem, but the intent of the person using it is. Consider this:
"A psychiatric outpatient opened fire Thursday inside a psychiatrist's
office at a hospital near Philadelphia, killing his caseworker and
slightly wounding the doctor, who shot the gunman with his personal
firearm, authorities said." USA Today
So in this instance was the gun the villain or the good guy? Laws that prevent the sale to/possession of guns by those who shouldn't have them don't work. If they did, this psychiatric patient (with a criminal background no less) wouldn't have had one in the first place.
Yet the pacifists amongst us want to disarm us, or at the very least make it extremely difficult for us to buy personal defensive firearms. If they had their way the good doctor in the story above would probably be a victim, too, and the gunman might have kept on killing others until someone stopped him.
Here's where it gets convoluted: The hospital had a policy that prevented everyone but on-duty law enforcement from having guns on campus. The authorities say that the doctor had a legal right to possess his gun, so criminally he's safe, but from a civil standpoint he's in deep doodoo.
The hospital might take action against him, possibly revoking his privileges there, and the original gunman can now sue him in civil court (he survived his wounds). The bad guy is quite likely to settle in to a very comfortable retirement, courtesy of the doctor.
Where is the justice in that? (See my post of several days ago bemoaning "too many lawyers, and too many laws for them to manipulate".)
Sure, we need to enforce the laws we already have. Enough "background checkers" aided by a state-of-the-art computer system could possibly have prevented this wacko from getting his hands on a gun.
With 300M (?) guns already on the streets, there is no ironclad guarantee he couldn't have obtained one clandestinely, but surely we can keep guns away from some of these nuts.
IMO, good people should be allowed to protect themselves with defensive firearms as the police are almost always REactive*. They don't show up until the damage is already done. YOU are primarily responsible for your safety.
*In case you're wondering, assault rifles are by definition primarily offensive weapons*
What was it the lady interviewed at the scene of the hospital shooting said? "I never thought it would happen here."
Yeah, famous last words.
* Some facts: In the average shooting less than 4 shots are fired, at a range of 7 yds, in less than 10 seconds. In my city the average police response time is 4.5 minutes. In some rural areas and in some crime plagued, underfunded cities the response time can be up to an hour.