Originally posted by Kochman
Ok, so, tell me how you would compromise... perfect world.
What is your system and how is it better than 4473s?
Well, in a perfect world there would be no need for background checks because those who committed a crime so heinous that they could no longer be trusted with a firearm would remain locked up or, depending on the severity of their crime, be executed and those so mentally ill would remain institutionalized until their disease could be treated to the point that they are no longer a danger to the public. Through all the debate, I keep asking myself why, if we have people that have proven themselves too evil or insane to be trusted with a gun, are we letting such people go free to present a danger to society in the first place.
However, since our society, in the name of political correctness, refuses to treat mental illness and punish crime appropriately, NICS and 4473's are a necessary evil for licensed FFL's.
As I said earlier, ensuring that one does not sell a gun to a prohibited person through a private-party transaction is, in my mind, a matter of personal responsibility but obviously selling only to close personal acquaintences or people with CCL's is impractical for an FFL.
Insofar as what can be done to improve the current system, I agree with you that the prosecution rate for people who lie on the 4473 is ridiculously and unacceptably low. Perhaps if we prosecute and incarcerate the people to lie on the 4473, we can remove them from society before they get a gun by some other means. The prosecution of straw purchases is also very low and, while straw purchase can be a very difficult thing to prove to begin with, I've seen little that the ATF has done to enforce the law (quite the opposite considering Fast & Furious). Finally, it would probably be a good idea to revise the Gun Control Act of 1968 to more clearly define what, exactly, constitutes dealing in firearms thus requiring an FFL (this is extremely vague in the way the law is currently worded).
As far as what can be done to prevent another shooting like Sandy Hook, first and foremost we must do something about school security. The unfortunate fact is that no matter how many laws we pass, there will always be evil and deranged people who wish to do harm to innocents. As it stands, schools are an all-too-inviting target not only because they are often inadequately protected, if protected at all, but also because the most surefire way to get attention from the sensationalist media is to murder a bunch of children. The way I see it, the most effective means to protect our schools is through armed security of some sort be it a uniformed police officer, allowing teachers to carry, or some sort of volunteer program within the community.
Secondly, there desperately needs to be reform in mental health care. I am currently a nursing student and part of my clinical rotations included a psychiatric unit. I am here to tell you that it is a revolving door of people regularly and repeatedly brought in by the police. While the mental health care system of decades past was deplorable due to too quick and easy institutionalization and downright barbaric treatments, I think that the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. While the standard for involuntary committal remains "a danger to self or others," proving that standard is extremely difficult. While not necessarily suicidal or homicidal, the altered mental state and resulting impaired judgement makes many mental health patients a legitimate threat to themselves or others albeit an unintentional one.
Finally, I think that people need to begin to realize that the media bears some culpability in these incidents as well. I'm not talking about violent movies and video games here as I think someone who cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality is probably already deeply disturbed. Instead, I'm talking about the senationalist coverage that such incidents recieve. It seems to me that most of these mass shooters desire to make some sort of deranged statement and doing so requires a large audience. Given the manner in which the media bombard us with pictures of the victims, their families, and the shooter everytime such a thing happens, I cannot help but think about the next mass shooter watching and taking notes somewhere. You may have noticed that I do not mention the names of mass shooters in my posts, this is intentional. By devoting so much attention to such people we give them exactly what they wanted and I, for one, don't want these individuals to be remembered. My hope is that if enough people refuse to give attention to the shooter, perhaps the murder of innocent children will lose whatever sick appeal that it seems to have to these people.