No, I have not been under a rock last week, though 51 hours of store inventory in six days and then getting sick part of the way through that (and toughing it out, very unwisely the last day) made it feel that way. Even still, I have managed to hear most of the pertinent facts about the Tuscon tragedy involving Rep. Giffords and certainly have an opinion about the matter that I will proceed to share.
While this turned out to be more of an isolated mentally ill person that failed to receive necessary help, at least this situation brought a much needed focus towards the appalling rhetoric exhibited throughout the political world. Both sides of the aisle need to step back, stop demonizing their opposition, and intelligently engage in debate over their differences. Instead of scaring people through all out attacks (something I will touch on more in a future post) to vouch for their candidacy, hopefully political candidates can revert back to present facts behind their own beliefs instead of shouting down their opponent.
For me, the more pertinent and potentially long lasting issue is the hope for stricter gun control laws. In a perfect world, guns would only be legal for hunting and protection for necessary enforcement officials (police, military, etc.). Constitutional scholars strongly oppose that stance, but honestly I do not that think many Americans have the capacity to bear arms and it should be viewed as much more a privilege and not right. I am all for people having the rights to do just about whatever they want within reason, but gun control is the one issue I am for strict legislation and very little personal freedom. Ideally people could bear arms responsibility, and I understand the necessity of bearing arms for hunting beyond just the sport of it (even if I'm not personally a fan), but the consequences of irresponsibility using guns outweighs the positives of bearing arms.
Even for hunting purposes, I propose a thorough licensing process where gun owners have to pass stringent written and physical range testing before earning the right to carry arms. Also, I would keep a strict limit as to how many guns people can own at one time (2-3 maximum). Any abuse of these rules or failure to meet regulations, as well as any crimes committed before or after earning a license, leads to a temporary or permanent bans depending on the circumstances.
I realize that gun control reform will not go this far, but stricter gun control is necessary and unfortunately it took a tragedy of this magnitude to shine attention back on this long standing issue. Felons and mentally ill people should not be allowed to own guns, period, and I would be disappointed with anyone that disagreed with that statement. I am open to debate further regulations beyond that, and realize my above take is considered extreme by many people, but guns have always made me uncomfortable and I believe that far more harm then good comes from using them.