STORY #1: Children
I don’t care if it’s part of Kentucky culture; any parent dumb enough to give a child a gun should not be a parent. And when I say “child,” I don’t mean “under 18″; I mean “under the age of knowing how their genitals work or how to spell ‘Kentucky.’” Yet, that’s what happened. Authorities are ruling this particular case an accident, which makes perfect sense when we’re talking about a rifle in the hands of a five-year-old. I look forward to hearing from anyone who wants to argue in favor of gun possession rights for kids. Should they be prepared to overthrow a tyrannical gym teacher?
That’s not to leave out the parents who don’t actually want their kids to access guns – as far as we know – but make it easy for them to do exactly that. Like this kid. And this kid. You wonder if their parents had any idea what proper gun storage is. Another case for mandatory firearms education for all adults hoping to get licensed. And, what the hell, let’s throw in some extra safety training for the kids in schools. We teach them how not to light fires and how to ride the bus properly (up until twelfth grade, in Manitobans’ cases); why not how to avoid guns?
STORY #2: Good guys
I would like to believe that most adults can be trusted with guns, with notable exceptions (see below). So does Iraq War veteran Brian Castner, who wrote extensively about this and recommended “profiling for aggression.” He’s got a good point there; if there is any way to detect a person who is prone to shoot when angered, it may be worth it to deny them a gun license. But you can’t always predict an ill-advised shooting, which makes the “good guy with a gun” argument slippery, even if they do exist.
Once again, some more stringent firearms education may be needed; it’s as important to know when not to shoot as it is to know how to shoot. But that wouldn’t be a sure thing, either. If you ever wonder why many cops and soldiers don’t trust civilians with guns, this should make it clear.
STORY #3: The mentally ill
Perhaps Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) should have focused their initial background-check legislation on the mentally ill, if only to achieve a little more political momentum. I defy you to name any senator who would disagree that there should be more communication on this matter between states and the federal government, in order to achieve compliance with a federal law barring the sale of firearms to those “adjudicated as a mental defective.” California and Florida are working on their own versions of those laws. Since the Tenth Amendment keeps the federal government from compelling compliance, more state laws may be the best we can do.