France has guns.
In fact, they’ve got plenty of guns. Even handguns. Compared to other European countries, they have a high rate of gun ownership.
One of the differences between France and the U.S. is that France’s gun license requires stringent training and testing in addition to a background check for both criminal records and mental health problems as well. Let it be noted that, while there have been two cases of hostage-taking in schools (only one with a gun, and that was fake), the French have never had a school shooting. As for other gun problems, when Richard Durn killed eight people with a handgun in 2002, the mass murder incited calls for greater gun restrictions. However, some viewed it as a failure in the system to keep firearms out of the hands of a person with a history of mental health problems. The French are fanatical about preserving their privacy, but they accept this invasion as necessary to save human life. With the exception of Durn, they’ve succeeded.
Finally, the House took a step yesterday in the right direction. They passed a new gun control bill that requires states to automate reporting of mental health and criminal records to a database used to check gun buyers.
Of course we need to get the states on board with how and when they report mental health issues to said database, but one step at a time. We can’t all be as orderly and sane as France and other countries about this now, can we? We first have to run the gamut of paranoia about what mental health issues and where and when, then run around in circles clutching our semi-automatics to our chests and gritting our teeth as we swear at the liberals who are tampering with our freedums before we finally settle down and accept that arming everyone so that the Virginia Tech massacre could have turned into the Quentin Tarantino Mexican Standoff Multiple Massacre Jamboree is, in fact, a bad idea.
Like I said, one step at a time. But this is a sane one and it’s working over here. Definitely a good idea we should steal. Let’s hope the Senate agrees.