A word of warning for my American readers: outside the boundaries of your country there a lot of different legislations about guns, gun uses and licensing. To my knowledge, no nation have reached perfection in this matter. For what I know, the biggest problem is about ignorance.
I was a gun owner. I will be a gun owner again in the next few months. The category “gun nut” is a bit undue in my regard, but for sure I consider myself an amateur hoplologist. In my country, Italy, we have to get a license to purchase a gun, with severe limitations for the number of guns owned and for the ammo you may buy. There are other strictly observed limits on the kind of guns available on the legal market (same for the ammo, of course).
I know guns. I’m able to use it, operate it, properly maintain it and I know how to keep it safely. This is part of my general knowledge, with a good preparation when it comes to Italian laws about guns. You see, ignorance is no excuse. Too many years ago (sigh!) I was cleared for use and maintenance of guns while serving my country in the Italian Air Force, then I was authorized again by civil authorities for private purchasing and limited operativity (i.e. shooting range).
Get the picture? Use of guns come thru authorizations and training. With the full knowledge that I must obey the law 24/7. No more, no less. This is the proper and legal way to gun ownership in Italy. Our system is not perfect, of course. We have no automatic withdrawal of guns and license if an owner falls mentally ill, we don’t have a way to place regular checks for safe keeping of the guns and so on. You have to remember that we get a lot of problem from organized crime cartels and we also had domestic terrorism problems in spades.
Every now and then, some heinous crime occurs with the use of one of more guns involved. The day after, we get a great number of politic commentators cry havoc about guns and gun control. Results? Less than zero. Any good idea? Nope. Lessons learned? Zip.
Since the ’80s, I’ve seen no less than one hundred different proposed reforms about this sector. A few of those projects were really good, none reached the end. We have a general text, about a four hundred regulations in effect and an unknown number of minor regulations that maybe are in effect or not (I’m not joking). If printed and assembled together, this mess will produce a stack of paper two meters high (again, I’m not joking). No wonder that the idea of gun control in my country is impossible.
What do we need then? A radical action of rewriting the legal text about guns, no less. In order to protect the rights of all the people who want to legally own and operate guns, to protect the rights of all the people who do not want to be involved in guns, to serve our national community with a logic system that sets against the wrongdoers the full weight of the law. I can’t stress it enough, we need a better regulation system.
Gun owners associations and gun collectors associations are calling for action since the ’80s, with little or no effect at all. The same happens for gun producers. Who will listen? Who will finally understand that without direct knowledge of the problem there are no solutions at all?