Felony Gun Laws
In the wake of yet another horrible massacre that just took place in Orlando, FL, it is long past time to fix our felony gun laws. How should we control gun access to the mentally unstable? How can we find radical lone wolf assassins? How can we slow the carnage of these criminals in our country while protecting our constitutional freedoms? We should start with a good, hard look at the laws currently in place and whether they are effective.
For example, there is currently a law in Florida that prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms. The law under Florida Statute 790.03 makes it punishable as a second degree felony. That means that if you committed a grand theft when you were nineteen years old and were convicted, you can’t possess a gun. If you do, the crime is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison! Are there certain violent felons who should never be permitted to possess a gun? Absolutely. Should there be a provision in the law to allow less serious offenders to get a gun instead of facing fifteen years in prison? Absolutely.
Here is the real point I’m trying to make – a convicted felon is registered and in a database for all to see if he later buys a gun. The lunatic in Orlando who killed fifty people (although investigated by the FBI previously), was not on anyone’s radar. If there is a real solution in the form of law, it is to create preventative statutes, not reactive ones. We live in a society and by doing so have to limit our rights and freedoms to some degree. This principle of democracy and government stretches back hundreds of years from Hobbes to Locke to Rousseau. One of those freedoms that must be curtailed in this age of mass information and easy access to everything, is unfettered access to any guns of our choice.
We have to start with access to guns by those who are mentally ill, even questionably so. This is not a criticism – it is a reality. Colorado, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook – Apopka. All people with mental health issues who gained access to high powered, semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 or Bushmaster XM-15 E2S. We have the right to bear arms in this country under the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The genius of the Constitution was that the authors predicted changes in our society that they could not envision at the time of drafting. That is why flexible language is often used. So that with change, this living, breathing, document could accommodate the new world it inhabited while preserving timeless democratic principles. I don’t think the founding fathers foresaw a society of 300 million people in suburbia with access to AR-15 rifles in every home for protection. They certainly would want us to pass a law that, at least, comprehensively screened the mentally ill and radicals to prevent access to civilian machine guns that allow killing sprees to continue in our country.