Back in the day, all weapons, armaments, and explosives were very hard to come by and protected from mass distribution by treaties which banned the proliferation of arms. To a large extent those treaties are now ignored. It would seem that gun-runners are now having a field day as the wild west is evidenced on all continents. Even the entertainment culture appears to include violence and lawlessness as a raison d’etre and includes scenes of carnage like those depicted in Paris, France mid-November.
Back in the day, all weapons carried identification information such as the manufacturer’s name, production serial numbers, and date of manufacture. The same controls applied to the ammunition used in the weapons. Special licensing and other restrictions were imposed so that the distribution of killing machines was under strict control. Nowadays such controls are so fraught with loopholes and dispensations that the so-called rights of manufacturers to produce and sell is called a freedom to be religiously upheld and cherished. The same arguement is trotted out by gun owners and their cohorts as if possession were a security blanket. So weapons and ammunition are easily available to the mentally challenged, criminals, the careless and those who harbour religious fanaticism.
Those jurisdictions, which introduce and legislate tough controls over possession, storage and/or use of weapons, receive brickbats from every quarter. The police forces, world wide, are facing an impossible task of trying to uphold laws which are easily circumvented. While one state manages to curtail and control some sales, a neighbouring state may have an open season on sales. Proliferation is so rife that the forces of law and order are fighting an uphill battle in order to stem the tide. Police often find themselves out-gunned and under siege. Who would want to be an officer of the law under such conditions?
How often have we heard that “Enough is enough.” I would go much further and aver that enough is more than enough, much more. The damage is done and it’s time for a new anti-violence regime to be heard loud and clear. If a car manufacturer produced a vehicle which killed people there would be all hell to pay; just ask GMC or VW. Let’s apply the same logic to those who manufacture arms and ammo. It is now possible to identify weapons from codes built into their firing mechanisms. Using modern technology ammunition could also be coded so that identification is safeguarded. In this way the illegal acquisition of armaments could be traced at each stage back to source and if laws are enforced, remedies would be handed down to make the perpetrators face justice.
Realising that some political goodwill would be required to bring such a regime about, the naysayers will gripe about amendment rights, freedoms, hunting, sports, and the plethora of usual excuses. It is long past time for the political class to grow some cohones if not spinal tissue and do what is not only politically right but morally defensible.
Scenes such as those from Paris will be repeated unless we show leadership and international cooperation in order to curtail the international proliferation of arms and bring the perpetrators to justice.