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Can't We Screen People for Guns Like We Screen Them to Fly?


All of a sudden, it seems, some of the more moderate, or responsible, or whatever you want to call the non-MAGA wing of the GOP, have begun quietly talking about the one issue which nobody in the GOP ever talked about until this year, which is the issue known as gun control.

Oh...my…God! Republic(ans) supporting anything that would infringe upon our God-given ‘right’ to own guns? No. Not possible. And yet, such blasphemy is beginning to occur.

I’m referring today to an op-ed in The Hill where the writer, identified as a Professor of Computer Science and expert in data-driven, risk-based decision-making argues that what we need to do to reduce gun violence is to pay the costs of reducing the risk of guns getting into the wrong hands.

How are we going to do this? By implementing for gun owners a strategy and program to weed out the bad guys similar to the TSA Pre-Check program used to keep the nuts off of plane flights. The program would require that every gun owner engage in some sort of continuous vetting procedure which would be renewed on a regular basis and would be required for anyone looking to buy or sell a gun.

This guy’s brilliant idea is actually just a riff on the whole idea of universal background checks, which Gun-control Nation has been promoting for years. And it has always been assumed, without the slightest bit of evidence by the way, that forcing every gun owner to only transfer ownership of a gun after passing a background check wouldn’t eliminate gun violence but would at least reduce the annual carnage down to more ‘acceptable’ levels.

What the editorial in The Hill does is stretch the background-check strategy to cover not only every gun transfer, but to cover the behavior and mental status of gun owners, whether they are or are not buying or selling a gun. Which is what the TSA Pre-Check program is all about because your ability to be enrolled in the program has to be renewed whether you are taking a flight somewhere or not.

Yea, yea, I know about all those times that some drunk asshole made an idiot of himself on a flight by trying to slap around a stew who didn’t sell him another drink or punched another passenger who had just told him to shut the f*ck up.

As Aunt Florence used to say, I got news for you. Passengers abusing other passengers on public conveyances has been going on since the days of the Pony Express. The reason we are more aware of it today is because everyone sitting on an airplane has a droid with a video feed. And when the nightly news has nothing better to talk about, they’ll show a video that some passenger on a United Airlines flight sold the station when he got off the plane.

But the real issue of safety in air travel has nothing whatsoever to do with the behavior of the passengers while the plane is in flight. It has to do with the fact that every commercial airline operating in the U.S. needs to be equipped with GPS, which it only took the TSA twenty years to implement. That’s not bad timing to get a government program running, right?

The problem with using background checks to weed out the people who shouldn’t have guns is that nearly all the 100,000+ yearly events where someone uses a gun to shoot someone else are committed by individuals who could never qualify to purchase, own, or carry a legal gun.

So, what would a screening program like the one being advocated in this editorial accomplish to reduce gun violence to any significant degree? Not one, goddamn thing.

I am still waiting for my friends who do research on gun violence for Gun-control Nation to come up with the first research project which actually tells us how many gun assaults are committed each year by individuals who have no legal permission to own a gun, or how many such individuals are walking around with guns they shouldn’t be allowed to own.

When that research is actually accomplished, maybe just maybe we’ll be able to figure out how to create and manage gun-control regulations which actually work.

Remember, it only took us twenty years to figure out how airline accidents could be almost entirely eliminated by using GPS.

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