By Matthew Harang
The Los Angeles City Council voted on Friday, in a unanimous decision to support new legislation regarding the purchasing records of shotguns, rifles and other “long” weaponry. Former L.A. City Councilman and current California state assemblyman, Mike Feuer introduced Assembly Bill 809, proposed to take affect in 2013, the Daily News reported.
The new law, if passed, would require that records for these forms of artillery be treated the same as handgun records, which, according to the Department of Justice, must be kept for 3 years after purchase. Along with the City Council, the LAPD also supports the bill. Captain Rigoberto Romero of the gang and narcotics division acknowledged that “long guns” are probably the most dangerous weapons that officers have to face.
Feuer argued that “one-third of the crime guns in California are long guns,” highlighting the necessity for new legislation. Those who oppose the law argue that the bill will do nothing to stop criminals, who often purchase artillery on the black market. Councilman Richard Alarcon, on the other hand believes that the law could help solve crimes that would otherwise go unsolved. Many believe that there can never be too much precaution when dealing with deadly weapons. If one crime can be solved or prevented, is the legislation not worth the bureaucratic trouble?
Perhaps we should take that a step further and question the constitutional right to bear arms. When the Second Amendment was written, our country was clearly at a different time and place. We don’t exactly have to hunt for food anymore. In 2011, what is the purpose of allowing everyone the “right” to bear arms? Should we be more selective with this freedom? Do people use this right more often to protect themselves or to evoke fear and commit senseless crimes? Does this “freedom” do more harm than good, overall? Not to argue that the amendment should be repealed tomorrow, or even this year, but it does need to be assessed, like many other outdated laws.
Policy must constantly change as society changes, and it is important to question and update legislation based on societal needs and standards. If people are abusing their “rights,” and the country is affected more negatively than positively from a particular piece of legislation, then it needs to be re-evaluated at the very least. Policymakers should never be afraid to question the unquestionable.
(Photo credit: Andrew Magill )