Nicholas Kristoff asks the above question from a telling point of view, public health and safety. And the measures are small, targeted, and not massively intrusive as the NRA will insist. As Kristoff, a boyhood gun enthusiast notes
Jared Loughner was considered too mentally unstable to attend community college. He was rejected by the Army. Yet buy a Glock handgun and a 33-round magazine? No problem. To protect the public, we regulate cars and toys, medicines and mutual funds. So, simply as a public health matter, shouldn’t we take steps to reduce the toll from our domestic arms industry?Look, I’m an Oregon farm boy who was given a .22 rifle for my 12th birthday. I still shoot occasionally when visiting the family farm, and I understand one appeal of guns: they’re fun. All that said, guns are far more deadly in America, not least because there are so many of them. There are about 85 guns per 100 people in the United States, and we are particularly awash in handguns.
So here is the public health and safety approach advocated by Kristoff:
• Limit gun purchases to one per month per person, to reduce gun trafficking. And just as the government has cracked down on retailers who sell cigarettes to minors, get tough on gun dealers who sell to traffickers.
• Push for more gun safes, and make serial numbers harder to erase.
• Improve background checks and follow Canada in requiring a 28-day waiting period to buy a handgun.
• Ban oversize magazines, such as the 33-bullet magazine allegedly used in Tucson. If the shooter had had to reload after firing 10 bullets, he might have been tackled earlier.
• Invest in new technologies such as “smart guns,” which can be fired only when near a separate wristband or after a fingerprint scan.
Note that these measures are largely aimed at public well being, reducing home-careless hsootings and limiting deranged or criminal access to guns; not targeting the the right to bears arms. However, the article notes that there are hazards to guns in the home. Children in America are 11 times more likely to be killed by guns than in any other developed country. In the next few months the US will have to come to terms with guns as a health and public safety issue or suffer the 80 killed per day by guns in the USA plus an automated gun massacre every half year or less.