If one accepts the paranoia of the National Rifle Association and its insane followers, the whole concept behind the push for an expanded background check of those who want to buy deadly weapons is really a secret plan to create a national database of gun owners.
The NRA, of course, doesn’t want a detailed list of who actually owns a gun because such a list could reveal that many gun owners should never, ever, be allowed near a weapon.
They feel that any restrictions on the purported Constitutional right to own and bear arms hurts the gun industry that is the only real constituency of the NRA. That industry, which showers the association with cash, is the only group that the NRA really cares about.
When you get past the hysterical hyperbole used by the acerbic and increasingly erratic NRA spokesman Wayne Lapierre, you realize that what the association wants is a system where gun owners are above the laws that govern Americans in so many other areas.
If you own and drive a car, that right to drive and the ownership of that vehicle are parts of records kept by states and shared with other states through databases. If you vote, you are part of a datbase.
Is keeping records of vehicle owners unconstitutional? Of course not. Is governing the right to drive by keeping track of violations an invasion of privacy? No, it’s not.
Last year, I wrecked my motorcycle when I laid the Harley down to try and avoid hitting a black cow on a dark road late at night. Because I suffered a closed-head injury with possible brain damage, my condition was reported to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, which suspended my right to drive until my 55 days of hospitalization was over and a neru0-psychologist provided the Commonwealth of Virginia with a letter saying my head injury problems were resolved.
I also own firearms and hold a concealed carry permit in Virginia, as do must of us here at Capitol Hill Blue, so I wondered if a brain injury affected those laws as well. When I contacted my local sheriff’s department, the chief deputy said he didn’t know and would have to check with the state. What he found was no provision in the law to suspend my right to carry a firearm during treatment of a head injury and possible brain damage.
“In Virginia, a head injury can affect your right to drive but not your right to own, carry or use a gun,” he said.
If I had been confined to a mental institution, my rights as a gun owner could have been affected but I could have come out of a coma with the mind of a child and it could have affected my right to drive but not the right to own or use a gun. Current laws on those with mental problems are that vague.
After a child of mine died in an auto accident caused by a truck driver under the influence of drugs over 20 years ago, I joined others in lobbying for a national database of commercial drivers’ license holders because that driver held multiple CDLs from several states and had a record in some that should have disqualified him from driving an 18-wheeler in all states. The lack of a national database allowed him to stay on the road and he killed my child, her husband, and children.
Thanks to our efforts, the federal government now has a national database of CDL holders. It was long overdue. That truck driver, thankfully, will die in prison.
Is such a database a violation of the Constitution or an invasion of privacy?
No. It’s a public service that makes roads safer in this nation.
And a national database of gun owners could be a tool that helps create a safer society as well.
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