Guns & rea­son

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - John Gray John Gray is a news an­chor on WXXA-Fox TV 23 and ABC’S WTEN News Chan­nel 10. His col­umn is pub­lished ev­ery Wed­nes­day. Email him at Ruth Mar­cus

I was driv­ing with my wife when she glanced at Face­book and told me there was “break­ing news” out of Texas in­volv­ing a shoot­ing. With­out hes­i­ta­tion I said, “God I hope it’s not a church.” She asked why my mind went to that sce­nario and I said, “Look at your watch. It’s Sun­day. This is when peo­ple gather at church.” Within min­utes my fears were con­firmed.

Be­cause this has hap­pened so of­ten be­fore you knew ex­actly the script the me­dia would fol­low and how the talk­ing heads on TV would blather on. It’s al­most as if there is a MASS CA­SU­AL­TIES AND HOW THE ME­DIA SHOULD RE­SPOND play­book. Step 1- If it ap­pears the shooter is for­eign or has a for­eign name go out of your way to say things like, “a me­chanic from Cleve­land” as op­posed to a Syr­ian na­tional here on a work visa. Un­less you’re Fox then play up his na­tion­al­ity. Step 2- If it ap­pears the shooter is a white male be cer­tain to stress that there is no such thing as gun con­trol and more peo­ple died in Chicago last week and no­body cared. Oh and what­ever you do blame it on “men­tal health” and steer the con­ver­sa­tion away from ter­ror­ism, re­li­gion, athiesm, a fail­ure of any­one in gov­ern­ment to ac­tu­ally do their jobs or the type of gun that was used.

I’m not a gun con­trol nut nor am I the type who screams SEC­OND AM­MEND­MENT and tells you there can be ab­so­lutely no re­stric­tions on weapons be­cause that’s what Adams and Jef­fer­son wanted. I’m pretty sure the guys load­ing mus­kets couldn’t imag­ine the types of weapons our dark minds would cre­ate some­day. I do think we’ve had enough of these mass shoot­ings for ev­ery adult in Amer­ica to have an adult con­ver­sa­tion about so­lu­tions.

Be­fore we even be­gin we have to ac­knowl­edge a few truths. First no laws will stop bad peo­ple from do­ing bad things. Since the days of Rome and Ju­das evil peo­ple com­mit evil be it with a rock or rope or what­ever was avail­able. Sec­ond thing to ac­knowl­edge is that you can’t get all the guns back even if you wanted to and in all hon­esty you shouldn’t any­way. There are mil­lions who have guns for hunt­ing or tar­get shoot­ing or per­sonal pro­tec­tion who have ev­ery right un­der the con­sti­tu­tion. Last thing to ad­mit is that 99 per­cent of the politi­cians are us­ing these tragedies for po­lit­i­cal gain. Pe­riod. They are full of crap on both sides of the aisle.

All that said can we agree with all the drug abuse and men­tal health is­sues in this coun­try right now it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make it just a lit­tle tougher to buy mul­ti­ple guns in a short pe­riod of time? When I see these mass shoot­ers have 50 weapons in the trunk of the car it tells me it’s a lit­tle too easy to arm up for judge­ment day. A quote “av­er­age per­son” has a few weapons. A few. Once some­one passes the 20 guns mark can we have some ex­tra pa­per­work to fill out or maybe a closer screen­ing where some­one ac­tu­ally asks them why they need this many weapons, as­sum­ing they are not a gun dealer? If there is a le­git­i­mate rea­son and the per­son is kosher fine have at it.

We also have to en­force the laws al­ready on the books. The mon­ster in Texas who shot up that church tripped ev­ery sin­gle red flag you could- tossed out of the mil­i­tary, hurt­ing an­i­mals, hurt­ing women, etc... and yet here he could amass this arse­nal. The gov­ern­ment com­pletely dropped the ball.

Next thing, since the semi-au­to­matic AR what­ever ri­fle seems to be the weapon of choice to hurt lots of peo­ple could we, with­out ban­ning them, just make it a lit­tle tougher to get one? If you are a good per­son with no record and re­ally need one for tar­get prac­tice you make your case. Maybe it’s just a lit­tle bit longer of a wait­ing pe­riod and scru­tiny, ex­actly what we do with pis­tols and pis­tol per­mits now, not a ban. Just take a harder look at who wants one and why. That seems rea­son­able and law abid­ing cit­i­zens shouldn’t ob­ject.

Last thing. Any­one who tam­pers with a gun to make it more deadly should go to prison for a min­i­mum of ten years. Any­one who sells a de­vice that makes these guns more dan­ger­ous; same sen­tence. Oh and if you’re at the gun range or out hunt­ing an see an­other guy with an al­tered weapon mak­ing it more deadly and you re­port him; $5,000 re­ward.

Noth­ing can stop evil but we can make it a lit­tle bit tougher for the cra­zies to hurt so many peo­ple. You can do it with­out tak­ing away all the guns. And for any­one tempted to write me and tell me we can’t re­strict weapons I’d sim­ply point out we do al­ready. There’s a rea­son you can’t buy a ma­chine gun and grenade launcher at Wal­mart. And for those who want all guns gone I’d point out it was a good guy with a gun who stopped the killer. There is a mid­dle ground where rea­son­able adults can meet. I re­ally be­lieve that.

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