What is Gun Control?

“Gun control” is not even a debate anymore. People are not proposing solutions or having intelligent conversations about it. What I am seeing on social media, for example, is a lot of non-arguments about non-existent issues. False dichotomies, false narratives, and political talking points that amount to nothing other than nonsensical venting.

As a starting point, would it be ok if we acknowledge:

  1. Our children are being murdered at school?
  2. There are an extraordinary number of mass murders in our country, separate from the school shootings?
  3. The instrument of mass murders is usually a gun or guns and more often than not it is an assault rifle?
  4. Most of the mass murderers suffer from mental illness?
  5. We can and should do something to stop the mass murders?

I’m pretty sure these are indisputable facts. I’m pretty sure that, if you disagree with the first four, you are uninformed or lying. If you disagree with the final proposition, feel free to do nothing. Just don’t try to stop the people who care from doing something.

False Narratives and False Dichotomies

Some people believe that we should ban guns as other countries have done. Those people are not the majority and it’s not going to happen in America. Period.

“You’re not taking my guns!” is the refrain from many people. That’s not really a reasonable answer to a suggestion that we tighten gun laws to ensure that criminals or mentally ill persons do not get them.

The Second Amendment does not protect a person’s right to go into a school and murder children. How does that make sense? “I believe in the Second Amendment!” is not a reasonable answer to a suggestion that we tighten gun laws to ensure that criminals or mentally ill persons do not get them.

It is not a choice between 1) repealing the Second Amendment as the government pries the guns from our cold, dead hands, or 2) allowing every person, regardless of criminal history or mental health, to possess a firearm.

These false narratives, false dichotomies, and unrealistic talking points end the debate. And our children continue to die violently at school.

We Require Background Checks, Isn’t That Enough?

Let’s have a look at some of the myths and misunderstandings about gun laws in America.

First of all, we do not require background checks. Yes, if you are a licensed dealer you must do a background check before selling a gun. Which means that if you have a criminal record, you aren’t buying your guns from a licensed dealer – you buy it from an individual whether in person, online, or at a gun show, and then you don’t have to do a background check.

If there is one single loophole that allows a person to buy a gun without a background check, then we don’t require background checks. People who would not pass a background check will use that loophole.

With one hand, we are holding a sign that says, “background checks,” as we loudly say, “see, we are doing everything we can!” With the other hand, we are quietly unlocking the door and letting anyone through who is intelligent enough to not go to a licensed dealer.

What About Mental Illness?

There is no procedure that I am aware of in our country that effectively screens persons for serious mental or emotional illnesses before they can buy a gun. Why wouldn’t we do that?

The first problem that I see is that perfectly reasonable people do not think the government has any business looking at our medical records, including mental health records. To screen individuals for mental illness, your doctor would have to be mandated to report your mental illness to some government agency somewhere, and that is a real problem.

The next problem is how we define mental or emotional illness – what type of disturbance warrants denying a person their right to possess a firearm? We should all be able to agree that a person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia should not be carrying a gun. What about depression? Anxiety? Can legislation be drafted that takes into account the nuances of different types of depression, anxiety, and the extreme variations in severity?

What about the possibility or even likelihood that some mental or emotional illnesses will resolve themselves at some point in the future?

What’s Stopping Us from Fixing This?

I get that, if you are a convicted felon or a mentally ill person who would like to own a gun, you are not going to contribute meaningfully to any conversation about this. Apart from that, what is stopping us?

Who can fix this? The truth is your opinion doesn’t matter. My opinion doesn’t matter. You and I don’t draft legislation or vote on it… So, what has paralyzed our state and federal legislators to the point that they do exactly nothing as mass shootings unfold one after the other?

I am hoping that someone who is smarter than me can figure that out and quickly. I don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat. I don’t care who donates to your campaigns.

Do something, and do it now.

SC Criminal Defense Attorney in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Lexington SC

Criminal defense and DUI defense attorney Lacey Thompson accepts criminal defense cases in the Columbia, Lexington, Conway, and Myrtle Beach SC areas. Call at 843-444-6122 or fill out our online contact form if you have questions or to set up a free initial consultation.


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