The Tech - Snowy Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 6.0°F | Light Snow and Breezy

Harsh new gun control needed

An armed man has an insane hatred of women. He goes into a building filled with people. He starts killing people. Sound familiar?

It should. A candlelight ceremony at MIT was held last year because a madman went on a rampage in a Canadian university. In Texas last week, another madman with a similar intent committed a similar crime with a similarly horrifible result. So what should we do? Should we hold another candlelight ceremony? How many more of these should we be prepared to hold? Frankly, it's not going to stop unless we decide to get serious about gun control, but Congress is on the National Rifle Association's payroll.

So, what do we do? Write letters to your Congressmen. Ram 'em down their throats. Don't vote for them. Shoot at them - that's even better. That way, they'll know what it's like to be on the receiving end of a gun instead of living their privileged lives, giving themselves raises, bouncing checks, getting parking tickets fixed, not paying for bills and not being subject to some of their own laws.

I do not have a favorable opinion towards our right to bear arms. I wouldn't be saddened at all if no one were allowed to carry guns, but that's obviously way out of the mainstream. True, you have a right to bear arms, but only as long as you use it responsibly. So I suggest that only those who have the business of carrying guns to be allowed to carry them: law enforcement, armed forces and hunters. No one else has any business with a gun. The common citizen should still be able to buy guns for hunting and sporting purposes, but the procedure for obtaining a license should be rigorous.

If I were in charge, anyone with a serious criminal offense would not be given a license and neither will anyone with psychiatric problems. Anyone with a license would have it stripped from him if he

would commit a crime or develop mental problems. A computer network would be set up with the records of anyone who wants to get a license.

A person would have to pay for and attend classes on gun safety and maintenance and pass an exam. A person would have to pass a physical examination. A person would have to take a target test -- just to make sure that he can hit what he's trying to shoot at, instead of people and buildings. If he fails, he will have to pay for a remedial class. Failure to pass any of this would result in denial of a license.

A one-month waiting period would be imposed on the purchase of any new guns. All gun purchases would be recorded and analyzed by a computer for any suspicious buying patterns, like buying fifty Glock 17s.

Illegal sales of guns would result in a severe and long prison sentence. (I like a minimum of 15-20 years. Then again, why not 25? But I doubt most people would like that.) If you're going to be involved in the death trade, you have to take the risks. All crimes committed with a gun should result in years being tacked on to the offender's time; murder committed with a gun should be punishable by death (I like decapitation, but I doubt most people would like that, either). All current licenses would be voided, and present license holders would be required to meet the new requirements.

You might be saying that too many people own guns already, and that any attempt at gun control would be impossible. Well, guns can't be fired without ammunition. Eventually it's got to run out, and a grace period could be established with incentives for all returned guns and ammunition. Afterwards, we'll nail anyone who doesn't comply. If people hold out in protest, well, nail 'em all. After we've

(Please turn to page 7)

(Continued from page 4)

sent the first thousand or so to jail, maybe the rest would get the idea.

How about those who say they want to protect themselves? Well, I don't believe them. You're more likely to kill someone you know than any criminal. And I bet the average person is an expert shot who takes time to practice and clean his gun and is also good at shooting in the dark too. Yeah right, Rambo.

But won't this leave law-abiding citizens without guns, and criminals with guns? Well, if the economics of this hold out, guns will be extremely expensive on the black market. No poor criminal would be able to afford one. Any rich drug-dealer would find guns cutting into his profits.

But what about the hassle? Yeah, well, dying isn't fun either.

I may have alienated many readers by now, and that's too bad. But I'll be honest: I do agree with the pro-gun lobby on one point -- that any lukewarm attempt at gun control would be completely ineffectual and an absolute waste of time and money and would only benefit the criminal. That's why I'm taking such a harsh approach.

Imagine this scenario. We're sitting together on the porch in straitjackets sipping lemonade. In front of us an eight-year-old child is gunned down in a shootout. You gasp and say, "that's horrible." I, however, maintain my proper sense about things and casually explain, "Well, yes, what has just happened may be defined as technically illegal, but in the larger scope of things, this is a much better alternative than to restrict your right to bear arms."

Or how about this scenario: An armed robber holds up you and your friend and blows your friend away when he or she doesn't comply quickly enough in handing over five bucks to feed his crack habit. You remark most poignantly, "Alas, but at least our right to bear arms is still alive."


Jae H. Nam is a junior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.