The recent Coloardo mass shooting has again brought up a question that is asked every few years in the United States, after such a tragedy occurs. Interest quickly wanes, however, and nothing ever gets done in terms of legislation that would make it harder for crazy people, drug addicts, etc., to get their hands on assault rifles.
There is no reason why a civilian needs a weapon that enables him (because let’s face it; these mass murderers are almost always men) to shoot dozens of bullets in one hundred seconds, or whatever it is they advertise. And there are certain red flags that storekeepers should pay more attention to so that these tragedies, even if not eradicated altogether, at least occur with less frequency. One such red flag is when the customer buys protective gear. I think, if I am not mistaken, that a tactical vest protects the shooter from shots aimed at him? There is no reason why, say, a hunter, needs a bulletproof vest. Another red flag is the request for a specifically dangerous weapon like an assault rifle. Yet another red flag is if the person has a criminal background.
However, the problem with this last red flag, a criminal background, is that often the perpretator does not have one. Perhaps their mental illness has not yet surfaced. Perhaps they are young enough that they have not actually gotten in trouble with the law yet. Perhaps they have not yet snapped.
The second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. There is controversy over whether or not this applies to a trained militia or to civilian individuals. However, regardless of the precise meaning the Founding Fathers assigned to this amendment, common sense dictates that even individuals do possess the right to bear arms, there should be some limitations or restrictions on that right. For example, all of the red flags noted above should be part of the decision-making process that every storekeeper has to engage in before selling such weapons. Why does the person need an assault rifle? What are their plans for it? Obviously, it is not like a psychiatrist can be there at the side of every storekeeper, so the problem will never fully go away, but steps need to be taken.
Neither President Obama nor Presidential candidate Mitt Romney have said much about this issue. They need to offer specific plans for how to overcome this problem so that tragedies do not happen again. Of course, there is a stream of thought entertained by conspiracy theorists which suggest that what happened is part of an orchestrated plan to begin a movement where the average American citizen is not allowed to buy guns legally. These conspiracy theorists suggest that the overall scheme is to not openly rob the populace of their guns, but to have the people in general voluntarily support the notion of illegality of everyday citizens purchasing guns. Wherever you stand on this issue, it is obvious that something has to be done. A family should be able to go to a movie theatre without wondering if their loved ones are going to be gunned down by a psychopath.