Anytime there is a mass shooting in this country–Virginia Tech, Newtown, Charleston, Oregon–the discussion begins anew about why this country has so many gun deaths on an annual basis.
Part of the problem, it’s easy to surmise, is because it’s so damn easy to get a gun in America. Go to a gun shop. Buy or inherit one from a relative or friend. Don’t want to go through a background check because you have a criminal record or mental health issues? Not a problem. Just go to a gun show and buy anything you want, no questions asked, no background check necessary.
Also, the National Rifle Association (NRA) plays a role. Note to gun enthusiasts and NRA members: Hear me out on this before you start to write comments about how I simply want to take all guns away from all people. I don’t. I was born and raised in the South and have owned guns my entire life, as has my family. But does it seem logical to let an organization like the NRA dictate national gun policy when they are taking millions of dollars annually from the companies that manufacture guns? That’s kind of like asking a fox to guard the henhouse and then being surprised when you return and find out all the chickens have been devoured.
But some countries are not as deranged as we are when it comes to controlling access to guns. Here are five of the best gun control laws in the world. We could certainly stand to consider each of these:
Finland: Handgun license applicants may only buy firearms if they can prove they are active members of a regulated shooting club. Also, before they can get a gun, all applicants are required to pass an aptitude test, submit to a police interview, and prove they have a proper gun storage unit.
France: All firearms licence applicants must not have a criminal record and they must also pass a background check which carefully considers the reason for the gun purchase along with evaluating the criminal, mental, and health records of the applicant.
Germany: To buy a gun, any person under the age of 25 must first pass a psychiatric evaluation.
Italy: To secure a gun permit, the applicant must first establish a genuine reason for the need to possess a firearm. Applicants must also pass a background check which takes into consideration both the criminal and mental health record of the applicant.
Of course, should we be inclined to pass any of these sensible controls in America, the NRA will holler, dump tons of money on members of Congress, and claim that if guns are regulated even a tiny bit, the government will try to impose tyranny and subject all citizens to horrible consequences. But since it hasn’t happened in any of the countries listed above, why should anyone even listen to the propaganda and lies the NRA so willingly spews out?
Featured image by Wikimedia, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license