Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world…
By Matt Coot
With the National Rifle Association (NRA) facing a mass exodus of corporate partners, and with DICK’S Sporting Goods reporting that they will be enforcing stricter controls in their stores, including no longer selling assault-style rifles, we are seeing a change in the United States of America.
When they went to school on 14th February, they didn’t know the horror that they would be facing that day. After the deaths of their classmates, they didn’t sit down and shut up, they stood up to be heard. They’ve been accused of being fake ‘crisis actors’ and have faced many threats on their lives, but they have kept going and kept fighting for stricter gun laws. Their commitment has started to inspire action.
This is what happens when a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens work together to change the world. DICK’S Sporting Goods announcement today is fantastic. Let’s hope that others follow their example and that the elected officials of the United States of America listen too.
I believe stronger reforms and stricter regulations are required, than just the ones mentioned in this announcement. My suggestions would be to add:
- Licenses lasting for only five years, to be applied for again after that time, with restriction on the number of guns and ammunition available to be bought during the five years;
- The universal background checks to include face-to-face interviews by ATF agents, and an inspection of where the weapons will be stored;
- Serialisation and microstamping of all ammunition;
- Licence and background checks to apply to purchase of ammunition;
- Record keeping requirements on all sellers of firearms and ammunition with records submitted to ATF on a regular basis to be kept on a database to make tracking of weapons and ammunition, used in crimes, easier to be carried out, but only to be used if a warrant is given by a judge.
I’ve written articles earlier this week about my views on gun control. My argument was that to stop shootings from happening, you need to remove the things that shoot. This was an argument of logic rather than an argument of feasibility. It would take one hell of a lot to actually remove all guns from the USA (after all, they own half of the world’s firearms!). This wasn’t entirely understood by all those who read the article, as many decided to use unpleasant language directed at me. Many readers thought that I literally meant that the USA had to ban all guns. It would be an ideal, utopian, world if all guns were banned and got rid of. It can’t happen with the click of our fingers, though.
Instead, especially in my second article, I argued that the strict control of licensing in the UK could be a good model to work from. It worked for us, maybe using a similar model in the USA could work too.
The second amendment, which is the gun owners’ much loved right, actually states that it needs to be “well regulated”. I have argued before that this means it needs to be strongly controlled. It seems that 70% of the United States of America is in agreement that they need stronger regulations. Let’s hope the 70% can influence the change that is much needed.