These three boys were driving around the Northside, armed to the teeth, just blocks from St. Elizabeth's hospital. They were a tragedy waiting to happen. There is no follow up story in the media about where they obtained their weapons.
Earlier this week 8 year old Bryce Linebaugh was murdered in his bunk bed by a shot fired from a rifle suspected to be an AK-47. This rifle uses the 7.62 x 39 round which was designed to be used in combat but suspected shooter Shawn Ramone Wilson judged it necessary for his purposes as he shot into the dwelling where the young boy lay sleeping. Shawn Ramone Wilson is 21 and old enough to purchase the rifle he used in this attack but court records seem to indicate that he is a convicted felon and therefore ineligible to purchase a firearm.
I bring up these two incidents to illustrate the point that current legislation controlling who can purchase a firearm are insufficient.
It is time for all of us to come together and have a truly reasonable discussion about how firearms are getting into the hands of people who are not allowed to legally own them. This isn't a gun control tirade. I freely allow that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution allows for the private ownership of firearms. I enjoy firearms myself. However, I am appalled that something I enjoy can be used in such a devastating fashion by those who should not possess them.
My simple solution is twofold:
- No one should be in possession of a firearm unless they have passed the same criminal and mental health background check that the rest of us have. If I have to submit to such a background check to prove that I am sane, not a criminal and was not dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, then so does everyone else. The problem is that this background check needs to be applied equally in all situations. Every sale, whether it occurs at a gun shop, a gun show or a kitchen table should require such a check. People should not be able to buy a weapon, walk out into the parking lot and sell that gun to someone else who could not legally purchase it on their own.
- Every gun owner should be required by law to report stolen firearms in a timely manner. This means that gun owners are going to have to periodically inventory their guns to make sure they know where they are and report them missing if they don't know.
We all know how the criminals are getting guns and as gun owners we should help in cracking down on these methods. If a straw buyer is constantly buying guns legally in one state and selling them to criminals in another, law enforcement should be able to trace the ownership history of a gun and convict that straw buyer.
If a gun is stolen and used in a crime and the owner does not report it, they should be penalized. Why? It's the owner's gun and they failed to secure it and maintain possession of it. It's a dangerous items that needs to be locked up. If they fail in that regard, the police need to know.
It angers me that we are in a presidential campaign and no one is talking about this issue. We have record homicides in Chicago, the president's hometown, and he will not speak to us about this because he will be painted as a liberal who wants to take away our guns. Governor Romney won't do it because he may lose a few votes and his NRA rating.
Will the methods i am proposing be foolproof? No. No one is naive enough to think every firearm will always be accounted for but gun owners must step up and be responsible while exercising their rights.