Tuesday, 17 April 2007

never hold a gun?

I've never held a real gun. Toy guns - yes. Even paint-ball guns. A real gun, never.

In England, unless I joined a military related group, a gun club or was a person of the land, it would be quite difficult to gain access to a gun. I'd still have to be background checked, could have medical records sought, would need two people to vouch for me and would need a certificate/licence. The gun would need to be locked away and the ammunition would need to be in a separate location.

The USA appear to let anyone over 18 years old buy a gun, after some rudimentary background checks. If the person wants to buy from a private collector, even the background checks are bypassed. When I'm in the USA, I noticed Wal-Mart has a whole counter similar in size to a mobile phone counter, dedicated to the sale of guns and ammunition. Actually, without a credit record, some mobile phone subscriptions may be harder to purchase than a cash sale for a gun.

In some States there seems to be a limit imposed on this. You can't buy more than one gun a month, so building a collection would take a little while. For the more adventurous, some States permit the purchase of semi automatic weapons and even of AK-47s and Uzi Sub-machine guns. The American Constitution says people are allowed to "keep and bear arms." The National Rifle Association in the USA doesn't talk for long on its home page without using words like "patriot" as a way to reassure that this is all okay.

Maybe the Second Amendment was right about citizens needing to have the right to protect themselves (including from an unjust Government), though interpreting this - comma by comma - as everyman can keep and bear arms seems to deliberately cloud the point. I'll stay unarmed.

No comments: