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September 19, 2013

Guns! Again! There’s No End in Sight

Blaine R. Young

The events this week at the Washington Navy Yard are horrific, as these things always are, and, unfortunately, as we are growing to expect.


A disturbed, deranged or demented individual disrupts a city, the entire country, and the lives of individuals and families who did nothing to deserve it. This sort of thing is a growing cancer on our society.


Just as everyone else, I don’t know what to do about it. But I do know what not to do about it: use it to once again, as the liberals have already started, beat the drums to remove firearms from the law-abiding citizens who own and use them responsibly.


That’s what happened earlier this year in Annapolis. We ended up with gun legislation that will accomplish nothing more than create a quagmire and bureaucracy, as the Maryland State Police are now enduring, and allow the liberals to claim victory from the highest mountaintop. The legislation passed by the General Assembly last April will do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not be trusted to own them. It will, however, allow Martin O’Malley to continue to tout his ever left-leaning principles as he campaigns for president in either 2016 or 2020.  Aren’t we lucky?


The Maryland legislature completely missed the point. We are not going to make our homes and workplaces safer by piling paperwork on responsible law-abiding citizens. What should have been done, which our so-called “leaders” in Annapolis didn’t have the courage to do, should have been focusing more on identifying prospective gun owners who should properly be disqualified from purchasing a firearm.


Why didn’t they do that? The answer is simple: liberals are conflicted about issues such as this. They despise placing people into categories, even if the categories are justified. They don’t want to call someone “incapable” or “irresponsible” for fear of being criticized for being insensitive or elitist.


So, rather than identify people who should not own guns, they instead restrict all of us with meaningless and nuisance regulations. That’s what our legislature did last April.


Although this column is being written while the investigation at the Navy Yard is in its formative stages, from what we know thus far, apparently the perpetrator walked into a store shortly before the attack and purchased a shotgun. And it is clear that this individual had a history of mental health issues.


Instead of piling paperwork on responsible law-abiding people, what we should do in this state and in this country is improve and expand our background checks, so that people such as this person would not be able to buy a weapon on a whim. A thorough, complete and appropriate background check of this individual likely would have raised enough red flags to prevent the sale of that weapon that day. I’m not saying it would have prevented him from carrying out his heinous act, as weapons can be procured in many ways (many of them illegal), but it certainly would not have hurt.


I said it during the debate in Annapolis early this year and I will say it again here: If the government wants to check me out inside and out, from top to bottom before I am permitted to purchase a firearm, I have no issue with that. If it takes a few days to get through the background check, I have no issue with that either.


I can’t foresee a situation where a citizen purchasing a weapon for defense, competition or recreation needs to have that weapon the moment he or she decides to purchase it. I’ll wait a few days if it means that the extra time for screening might prevent the sale of a firearm to someone like the individual who shot up the Navy Yard.


I’m a life member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and I know this organization takes a different position than I do. That’s okay. I still have enormous respect for the mission of the NRA, but I reserve the right to disagree with them once in a while. As my grandfather used to tell me, if two people agree on every single thing, you don’t need one of them.


I hope this is the last one of these columns I will ever write. Again, my best wishes for a speedy recovery to everyone whose lives were turned upside down on Monday.


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