This is a tough time to defend a strong stance on the Second Amendment, but even some of us constitutional purists might agree that there needs to be stronger background checks on the purchase of firearms. There is no reason to not tighten background standards for people with drug abuse and mental illness histories.
The city already has pretty strict gun control laws, but the federal standards have spotty definitions for rejecting people that might be considered mentally unstable or have a history of drug abuse. No gun law will stop a maniac from somehow finding an illegal firearm and taking advantage of a free society, but there is no real reason to make it easier for such a crime to happen by allowing unstable people to purchase guns. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is right to push the federal government to toughen the standard. This does not require a new law, just a revision of current laws.
The city also might be wise to introduce another round of gun amnesty collection efforts. Amnesty collection periods have brought in a lot of illegal guns in the past, and in a time of economic hardship, it might be even more effective. Perhaps $100 vouchers from participating merchants (clothing, home improvement stores, etc.) would be a good draw to get people to surrender illegal handguns. If it sounds like a giveaway program it is, but it has worked in the past.
What makes the Tucson shooting even worse is that the shooter bought a gun legally, which means he got through the system. Some say that Jared Loughner lied on his form to purchase the gun, so the system did not fail, but if you can check the wrong box on an ATF form and get a Glock 19, the process needs to be tweaked.
None of this would have stopped someone that is intent on finding a gun by any means necessary, but our laws speak to our values. By making the standard a little tougher, the climate for law-biding gun owners is less threatened, and the Second Amendment is actually on safer ground.
Tree Separates from the Apple
Apple is not one of the companies that our economy worries about when it comes to federal assistance. People at Apple might be aware that we are in a recession, but times are great for the producers of the iPhone 4.
Now, with Guru-In-Chief Steve Jobs taking another leave (most likely his last), the company is certain that a contingency plan is in place. In a week that saw Jobs announce his stepping down and the introduction of the iPhone for Verizon users, the company also is considering getting some of its phone parts from Taiwan instead of Japan.
Users of the iPhone love it even if it annoys the rest of us. Here’s hoping the company is always in the black financially, but should they ever need a government bailout, let’s remember that the phone’s parts are from someplace else. Without Steve Jobs, Apple is working without a net.
Last Week’s Column
Last week, I attempted to shed a little light on the fact that public education is not adequate (and not always fair) for children with autism. I do not think that I implied that all autistic children are born with autism, but if anyone read it that way, it was not my intention.