By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Dec 10, 2015 at 6:06 PM Photography:

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The middle of the road is the safest path to take, but it is time – beyond time – that decent and sensible people leave the middle and walk on the wild side.

I’m talking about finding ways to control the absolutely absurdity of our gun laws that permit the virtually unfettered sale and purchase of weapons designed for the purpose of killing other human beings.

For years – decades really – gun control advocates have nibbled around the edge, trying to find some kind of change that will be acceptable to the craven politicians who march in lockstep to the drums of the National Rifle Association. But it’s time to face the facts that there is no single element of a gun control measure that will pass NRA muster.

Pass a law that says sale of these weapons of mass destruction must be paid for by Visa instead of MasterCard, and the NRA would undoubtedly oppose it. The organization will oppose ANYTHING.

So, let’s abandon the doomed to failure approach of trying to slide some kind of "acceptable" legislation. That animal does not exist.

Let’s get off the middle of the road, and let’s have the courage to do something that will truly have an impact on the ownership of these horrible weapons. I don’t expect that the United States Congress or the Wisconsin Legislature will do any of this.

But I would love to have Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council pass a series of laws to meet the goal. Make Milwaukee ground zero for the the laws would contain at least the following:

  • A ban on all of those automatic weapons that are marketed as self-protection and vigilante tools. Experts can compile a list of the kind of weapons we are talking about. Ban them. Anyone who owns one has to give it up.
  • Institute a two-week waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a gun. Any gun. During this period a thorough background check must be conducted, and the buyer would be required to attend a certified gun safety and use class.  
  • Upon purchase of a gun, the buyer must sign an affidavit pledging that the use of the gun will be for hunting or target practice. Self-defense will not be an acceptable reason.
  • Commission of any crime with a gun adds an automatic five years in prison to any sentence.

Four things. Four laws that would have a deep impact and that would send a loud and clear message: Not here! Not in Milwaukee!

The continued slaughter of Americans has become a national disgrace. Republicans (mainly) don’t seem to feel any pressure to help. They react by proposing the most difficult of solutions: Let’s get better and more mental health care; it’s not the guns that are the problem, it’s the people.

Banning guns isn’t going to be a perfect solution. But it is a clear indication that we, as a city, are doing something. And any something is better, far better, than the nothing we have now.

I’ve been around enough to know that if Milwaukee were to enact these laws, that path to the courthouse would be filled with gun-wielding domestic terrorists, crying about their second amendment rights to own a tank if they want to.

Amendments to our constitution are not all unlimited, and there is ample precedent for regulation of some of the rights guaranteed.

There is a lot of talk about how to make Milwaukee a world city, one that everyone knows about and that our citizens can be proud of. This is one way.

Sure, it would be a fight. But it would be a battle clearly worth fighting.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.