Who should, and who should not be allowed to purchase a gun? The usual suspects are there. Felons. The dishonorably discharged from the military. Guilty of drug abuse. Guilty of spousal abuse. The mentally infirm.
In that short list you can see the criteria is not equal. More definition is needed. Mental issues are the most prominent and the most difficult with which to deal. Take a good look at Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, Aurora shooter James Holmes and Gabby Giffords shooter Jared Loughner and it's obvious there is a vast void between sanity and the lack thereof.
They all had legally obtained weapons because they did not appear in any data base even though those who knew them well, including those who could have forewarned authorities, knew they all had problems. But on what basis could authorities been informed since none had committed a crime? There is a problematic area unto itself.
I don't blame the data bases nor those who maintain them. We have laws that disallow mental shortcomings from becoming public record. It has it's pitfalls to be sure. The records of these young men all speak for themselves. But again, no harm no foul. Do I see the beginnings of a pattern?
Who should decide who should be in those data bases? The idea of them makes me nervous because of the potential of purposeful misuse. This is where trust in your government comes in. I don't have enough to have faith in either their judgement nor of anyone they might appoint because everything is tied to personal gain. It's a caustic view but those officials have no one but themselves to blame for the fact I have no faith in them.
Just as it its anticipated we will have "death panels" determining health care options especially for seniors, who will these people be and how would they deal with the one size fits all tendency we've seen so far? The same idea applies to those who will determine a definition for mental stability. Who will they be and what will the criteria be? How will privacy issues be handled?
Instead of tackling this issue, Connecticut, Colorado, New York and others pending are passing the easiest legislation and creating a Constitutional mess while they're at it. I have to agree with the critics who say it won't solve the problem. It probably won't even slow it down.
I read on a daily basis about shootings in neighboring Spokane. Not all the shooters would fit the mental instability definition under any circumstance. What they do have in common are guns and the willingness to use them, bad judgement and probably tempers. How do your break all that down?
Our President loves to create commissions. Usually as a way to delay having to make a hard decision. He could, however, create one for the gun problem, staff it with experts from the fields of mental health and criminal behavior other than his cronies and give them the time and freedom to do a decent study.
Then, if it makes sense, implement it. Creating outlandish legislation for the sake of creating legislation doesn't solve anything except to increase, rather than decrease gun sales. Having Homeland Security buy up all the available ammunition won't do it either. One can always buy the equipment at the local sporting goods store and load their own.
It reminds me a circular firing squad. Everything gets hit except the cause of the problem.