MY WORD: Here's some ammo to fight gun control

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By Rodney P. Dempsey

Unlike the rest of the world, Americans believe that everybody needs to be armed for self protection. How is that working?

The mass murderer in Connecticut killed his mother, who logically wanted a gun for protection. Most people who carry concealed weapons are paranoid, feeling that they could be shot, robbed or beaten up.

The problem is not gun control, but People Control.

That is a societal problem, based on our attitudes about guns, shoot-'em-up movies, TV, video games and being barraged with visual images of people being shot. You can initiate controls on what kids watch, but the real way to control people is to raise them responsibly.

Unfortunately, people do develop mental problems and bad attitudes. Parents need to be aware of these problems and care enough to get their children into treatment.

But when it comes to guns, I have some thoughts:

  • Guns that are designed to kill people should have trigger locks, and only the owner should have the key or combination.
  • We should strengthen and enforce gun-control registrations and require an annual license fee for each gun owned. License fees would be based on the primary use of the weapon. To hunt animals, low fee, to hunt humans, high fee. For weapons of mass destruction, very high fee, and those weapons would have to be locked up at shooting ranges with the owner being required to check in and out.
  • Lots of guns are exported to Mexico where there are drug wars among armed gangs. Some of the receipts from the fees should be used to increase the border protection with Mexico. That would also help with drug smuggling and illegal immigrants crossing the border.
  • I would not allow an unregistered gun to be sold or traded at a gun show, pawn shop or any place where guns are sold or traded.
  • It would be the responsibility of the gun owner to report a lost or stolen gun.

Having a security guard at each school is too expensive. I would expect in all the mass murders, the security guard would be the first one killed.

The same could be said about metal detectors. Mass murderers would set off the alarm, but it would not deter them. It could get the police to the scene quicker and save lives, but it is cost prohibitive.

Mass murders are very newsworthy, and the media covers them extensively. Charting the outcry for gun control on a graph would show a big bump on the graph for maybe a week, but after that things would settle back to where they were originally.

Americans have very short attention spans and won't tolerate controls or discipline. Our present system of government proves that. Most in Congress have bought their jobs, using their own money or money donated with a strong quid pro quo string attached. Voters know that but are apathetic about it.

We are practical enough to know that the National Rifle Association’s money and bluff precludes Congress from doing anything in the public's interest. Like in most instances, our representatives only protect the special interests that pay them – not their constituents.

The best government is the local government, where you can see your judge-executive, magistrate, mayor or council member. They can't escape to the state capital or to Washington. They have to live with voters every day.

If we are to address gun control, it is going to have to start at home, with us individually, then to local government. It is useless to expect state and federal government to respond. Those leaders are surrounded by lobbyists, and the voice of the people is totally drowned out.

That’s just my humble opinion, as always.

Rodney Dempsey lives in Shelbyville.