So, as we talk about what we can do, let’s start with a few basic notions that I think are easily enough to agree upon. Frankly, if you don’t agree with these, then I humbly submit that you are a part of the problem.
- Guns are designed to kill. (Yes, there are some target shooting specific weapons, Hammerli makes a few I think, but they are the exception, not the rule.) Now we can, and do, use them in different ways, but guns, all guns, are designed to kill.
- None of us reading this want homicides to occur. If you are reading this and desire homicides to occur, please seek help.
- The nation is polarized beyond measure, and none of us is immune to that. The disease that is hyper partisanship has affected us all in some way, and we need to be cognizant of that so that if we fall into that pit, we can get help out of it.
- The NRA is full of people. Not demons, devils, or some other evil. People. People like you and I. Demonizing those who disagree with you may be effective to some degree, but ultimately, it accomplishes nothing other than to continue the problems we all share, not to solve them. No, I am not a member of the NRA, nor have I ever been, in case you were wondering.
As discussed above, the problem of gun violence is a complex one and no one solution, or set of solutions, including my thoughts here, is likely to solve it. What we can do is try to lesson it’s impact and try to eliminate the situations that lead to it. That said, there are some things that I believe make sense that will, in some ways, limit the second amendment rights, but do not break them, and have precedent in our national history. They will also cause some of the anti-gun crowd to be displeased because it is not draconian enough. So be it.
- Mandatory reporting of all violent crime, including domestic violence, to NICS. This includes military discipline also. Real penalties need to be assigned here. So far as I am concerned, the Air Force is complicit in all the deaths that Devin Kelley caused in Texas. Criminal charges should be able to be levied and civil redress should be allowed. The system failed, but the system should not, and must not, be immune from the law.
- All transactions need to go through an FFL dealer, even gun show transactions. Yes, I am aware that it is only a small percentage that do not, but there is no reason that they should not be. For a private sale, an FFL dealer can facilitate the sale easily enough, insuring that the chain of sale information is recorded. Failure to do this should again be punished with both criminal penalty and civil redress. If you illegally sell the firearm that is used to kill someone, you should bear some of the responsibility.
- Actually enforce the laws that we have. This likely should have been number one on my list. Law absent enforcement, is useless and selective enforcement is the tool of tyrants.
- Limit magazine capacity. I think 10 rounds is a good number. Yes, I know that a skilled and well trained shooter can reload very quickly. Yes, I know that most of the shooters we have had are neither terribly skilled or trained. Make it illegal to manufacture, sell, buy, or otherwise change ownership of magazines over 10 rounds. This limits the amount of ammunition that can be expelled at one time. Restrictions on ammunition are as old as the colonies also, and I am not suggesting a restriction on ammunition, I am suggesting a restriction on how much you can have loaded at one time.
- Make it illegal to manufacture, possess, buy, or sell, any item that is designed solely to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic firearm. Fully automatic weapons were made illegal some time ago, and any attempt to replicate, or nearly replicate them, while not against the law by the letter, are against the spirit of it.
- Something similar to hunter safety courses should be required for ownership. Your course card would be required to be shown at point of sale. Said courses generally run about $15 and take 8-12 hours. For a simple gun safety and maintenance course, it should take less time I would imagine. Said course covers basic safety, introduction to things such as trigger locks, etc. that can be voluntarily used, basic gun laws, and basic maintenance. Yes gun ownership is a right, and it should remain so. Yes, there is a long tradition of gun ownership in America. This tradition included elder family members instructing in the safe use of firearms, which is often missing today, While not perfect, this does replicate that and is in line with our tradition in the nation. For those who feel they have had the instruction, I am fine with them not taking the course and proceeding directly to the test.
- Limit ammunition available to civilians to the types described in the various international conventions that we are signatories of. This is what the military uses after all. Seems reasonable to limit our ammunition to the same types that the military can use.
- Laws regarding the storage of long rifles that require them to be secure. The SCOTUS left this option open in DC v. Heller and I find it reasonable. No one can force anyone to do this of course. What can be done is if the gun is stolen and not secured, provide (and you should be noticing a trend here) criminal and civil penalties to the person not following the law.
- Mandatory reporting of any theft of a gun. Again, criminal penalties and civil liability if the stolen gun is use din commission of a crime and was not reported.
These thoughts are not going to stop gun violence anywhere, not entirely. I do think that they make such violence more difficult to perpetrate, and have some penalties in place that we are not currently using to try and both punish the actions and to provide stiff penalties for breaking current law. Enforcement is so very necessary, and we are not doing enough of that at the moment as well. Nothing is going to stop violence, short of Jesus coming back, but measures like these can help to limit and contain it I believe. I am open to the idea of increased security at schools. That is a different conversation though and is going to require a lot of cost analysis and planning to implement. I have concerns about it however. That is beyond the scope of this blog posting, though if you have thoughts on this, I would love to hear them. Your thoughts?