Opinion: A lesson about gun licenses

POSTED: 07/12/11 4:31 PM

Tuesday’s report on last year’s shooting incident in Alphen aan den Rijn provides some core lessons that our friendly country as the Justice Ministry moves forward with implementation of a policy on the issuance of gun licenses. It is noted that some here disagree and others think the policy is wise. The incident in Alphen aan den Rijn may provide support to the arguments of those who oppose the measure.

One of the principle points of the policy on issuance of gun licenses here is that a person has to go through a psychological evaluation. That happened in Alphen aan den Rijn too, but for some reason the issuing authority there glanced over the fact that the person requesting the permit – Tristan van der Vlis – had been forced into treatment for schizophrenia and that he thought the way to punish God was to harm one of his creations – other people. It was also known that Van der Vlis was suicidal. That’s not someone you want to give a gun.

What is worrisome here is that people will go through one screening to get their license. A professional psychologist we’ve spoken to says it takes at least three to four sessions to truly get to a person’s psyche and find out potential issues.

What could also be learned from the Alphen aan den Rijn case is that it might be a wise idea to also find out what the person’s close associates are like. In the Alphen aan den Rijn case we see that van der Vlis’ father was the one to introduce his suicidal and schizophrenic son to a local gun club. It should also be noted that his one of van der Vlis’ friends knew of his plans, but said nothing.  The fact that these two people were not evaluated and brought into the picture in even a small way cost six people their life and led to 16 people being injured.

A third lesson in all of this is the fact that van der Vlis had some particular interests. He spent hours scouring the internet for videos about shooting sprees. That sounds, even off the cuff, like someone who is dangerous and should be intensely monitored before they can even extend a single pointer finger down the side of a firearm. Some might say to each his own and that researching internet history on a personal computer is utter invasion of privacy, but when one is handed the power to end or severely alter someone’s life be having a gun license you’d better believe that very strict checks need to be in place to ensure that the right to safety and security that is given to the population is not compromised.

What serves as icing on the cake is that van der Vlis was at one point denied a gun license and had made a statement to police that he’d lent a friend an air gun which was used to commit a crime.

All of this shows that while guns are not evil, lax regulation or shoddy review of the candidate, can allow a person to commit evil acts. Besides giving citizens guns does not solve the crime problem because those who live by the sword, die by the sword. What is a better solution is for the police – who are required to serve and protect – to have the right amount of officers and equipment to do their work, for agencies working on prevention  to get the necessary financial and technical support to keep especially young people from getting involved in crime, for schools to cater to the entire gamut of educational needs of children – be it through academics, sports, vocational training or the arts – and for the economy to provide jobs that match the expectations and applicable skills of the population.

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Comments (1)


  1. starviego says:

    If you want to cut down on the violence why don’t we have gun control for governments? Statistically, they are far more lethal than private citizens. Anyway, the massacre at the mall in Holland was most likely another CIA-style covert operation, using a mind-controlled patsy to implement their New World Order agenda.