Illinois baby issued with firearms permit
Gun-slinging tot packs 12-bore Beretta
A 10-month-old Chicago baby named Bubba has been issued with a gun permit after his father submitted an online form on his behalf.
Apparently, the heavily armed infant favours a Beretta 686 double barrelled 12-bore shotgun, bought for him by a doting grandfather. The lad's father, Howard Ludwig, a former reporter and stay-at-home dad, tells the story in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The application document wasn't a real Web 2.0 form, merely printed out from the State Police website, but it worked anyway - after a couple of false starts.
Apparently, Ludwig applied for a Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card for his boy in a jocular spirit.
"I was expecting an official letter that went something like:"
Attention Father of the Year,
We are not issuing a FOID card to an infant.
The Illinois State Police.
But, in fact, the authorities' only quibble was that Ludwig had failed to indicate that his son was a US citizen. Then there was another form-filling error. But Ludwig had the bit between his teeth.
"Maybe they figured I'd give up after two failed attempts. But as a stay-at-home dad, I am used to overcoming setbacks. This was nothing compared to diaper rash," he says.
On the third try, the Illinois plods duly sent out an FOID for the tooled-up tot.
"The plastic card has a picture of Bubba giving a toothless grin in the upper right corner. It includes his name, address, and date of birth - 6/14/2006," says Ludwig. "[It] lists his height (2 feet, 3 inches) and his weight (20 pounds).
"His signature is superimposed at the bottom. Since Bubba can't sign his name, I simply placed a pen in his hand. He made the scribble."
The document allows its bearer to own a firearm and ammunition. The tiny gunslinger is also permitted to legally transport an unloaded weapon. "Though he can't yet walk, so that's not an issue," notes his dad.
Lieutenant Scott Compton of the Illinois state cops is quoted as saying: "There is nothing in the FOID Act or any of the rules that says anything about age restrictions."
According to the National Rifle Association, the US lobby group which campaigns against gun controls, "Illinois has some of the toughest gun laws in the country".
And it's true, young Bubba is only legally allowed to fire his new shotgun unsupervised if his dad gives permission. Which he says he isn't going to, so the other kids at playgroup don't need to start packing heat or getting bulletproof romper suits just yet.
It seems you can have Bubba's gun, if you pry it out of his hot sticky fingers. ®
"...the right to bear arms shall not be infringed."
That's pretty simple language.
CG, the Netherlands has so much less crime largely because there are so many fewer things illegal. It's the proliferation of laws that creates criminals, not the ownership of guns. Most of the "gun crime" in the U.S. is drug-related crime that happens to have guns used as a tool of the crime.
Holland also doesn't have the amount of unsettled woodland that the U.S. has, and hunting for food and sport probably is not an established custom there. The United States is still a very rural country with small pockets of dense population. I'm also pretty sure your police have weapons, don't they? Those weapons are used to defend themselves and the public. Would you trust a timely police response if you live half an hour by car from the nearest town? Is there anywhere in Holland that's half an hour away from a town?
The United States imprisons the highest percentage of its population of any Western nation. Our political parties pass laws as much for party agendas as for the betterment of the country or the world for the citizens of the United States. The sheer number of laws and regulations in the U.S. makes it nearly impossible not to break some law at some point, and the Congresscritters, along with their state and local counterparts, seem to know only how to pass new ones and not amend or repeal old ones. ( At least here noone I've heard about has gone to lockup for having a marketing dummy in his living room. That's just stupid. )
I know it's a radical idea, but the right to bear arms in the United States was written into the Constitution to provide for the defense of the people from a hostile domestic government, not just from invasions and criminals. It's kind of hard to defend against the world's most technologically advanced war machines with shotguns and rifles, but the courts have decided that bombs, warplanes (with the weapons still functional anyway), rocket launchers, etc. are exempt from the protections of the 2nd Amendment. OTOH, as Iraq has proven, capturing an area and subduing it are two very different things. The right to have shotguns, rifles, etc. might just come in handy if there's ever another U.S. civil war.
Whatever the case may be...
Whatever the case may be, if you have strong gun laws in place (like in most of Western Europe) the criminals will have to go abroad to get guns. Living in Holland has brought that point across very well: the police search any and all eastern european and cars from further abroad within 10 km of the border if there's even the smallest suspicion. Consequence: 'only' 2 school shooting in our entire post war history, 1 fatality. And that for a country that endorses drugs and prostitution. It's so much safer when you know that if you get into a spat with the guy sitting next to you in the train you can fight it out like men and not have your kneecap blasted off because he 'had a bad day and didn't get his cocaine'.
For all of you who doubt it:
We don't have guns. The criminals don't have guns. Everybody happy.
Time of Emergency
I thought that the US constitution only allowed civiliians to bear arms in a time of emergency. Since most parts of the USA are not in a State of Emergency, guns are not permitted to be borne by civilians in those areas.
By the logic expounded by the gun lobby, it would be reasonable to fit ship which travel through certain parts of the Indian Ocean, where piracy is rife, with perhaps 4" guns (18" RADAR-controlled guns would be a bit excessive, but a 4" gun could make a reall mess of a boatload of men with AKs). (not necessarily a bad idea, not that I come to think of it, excet that then the pirates could easily use them too).
OTOH, if I were allowed to keep a gun (my residency contract explicitly forbids them, along with fireworks and "weapons of any sort", I might get one, if I could afford it. One might come in handy, and the running costs are negligible (ony govt. charges & a little maintenance)
On the whole, I am not against gun ownership, simply against stupid or insanely lax rules. A pistol, shotgun, or bolt-action rifle is oene thing, an M60 quite another.