Time To Say something

important-opinions-stampI have avoided doing anything on the issue of guns, purposefully. No matter how hard you try, it seems to always be incendiary and cause problems, but as I continually engage in conversations about the matter, it is easier to post a link rather than to type the same things over and over. It also allows for the time to choose words carefully and to have an informed decision that is based on something more than interview soundbites and headlines. On to the things that I think could work and even be passed in congress with some effort.

First, the background check. I do think that it should be expanded to all purchases of firearms. It is a simple thing that we can do that may help keep guns out of the hands of criminals, or at the very least make it more difficult for criminals to get firearms. Here is how I propose it work. The program will be federally funded paid for by a small fee added onto all gun purchases for the check and supplemented as needed by the government. The background checks themselves will be administered by the state as they see fit. The money for the system will be budgeted out on a year to year basis based on the previous years number of applicants in each state. I am no fan of government programs, but this seems to be the only way to institute the rule across the board. The background check would disqualify anyone with a conviction for violent crime, and anyone who has domestic violence charges they have been convicted of, misdemeanor or felonious. All background checks need be completed within a ten day period and after said period, any information obtained in the background check needs to be destroyed. In the event of the check showing active warrants for arrests, etc. then local authorities will be notified. This should be required for private purchases as well the cost of which is payed by the individuals involved in the purchase.

Second, I find it reasonable that there be a mandatory training and education period. This should be offered by any private entity, business or group that wants to run such programs so long as the training includes the following. Basic care and cleaning of a firearm. Basic gun safety, storage, and education about the laws of your state (castle doctrine, etc.) so that not only are you informed of how to care for the weapon, but also when it is appropriate and legal to use it.  This training period should last no less than 8 hours, and include a final exam on the information provided which requires a minimum passing grade of 80% correct. As a matter of finishing the course, within 14 days of receiving your weapon, you need to go to an approved range and qualify…basically prove that you can hit what you are shooting at. A target signed by the range master would serve for this purpose. Once this is shown to your instructor, you are issued proof of finishing the course and can go on your merry way. Should the qualification aspect not be completed, the person should be considered in possession of an illegal firearm and subject to felony charges. Each year of gun ownership, you should be required to re-qualify and to take a two hour refresher course in current state and federal gun legislation. Not completing this should result in the owner being considered in possession of an illegal firearm and subject to felony charges. The basic training need only be completed once, but qualification should need be done with each firearm owned. The cost of both to be paid by the owner.

Third, reinstitute the assault weapons ban as passed in 1994, but eliminate the specific weapons defined as assault weapons. That is a purely cosmetic thing as they use the same or similar calibers and have the same function as other weapons. Possession of a conversion kit for a weapon should be (I think it might already be) illegal, and subject to felony charges. The manufacture and sale of these items should be illegal in the US.

Fourth, a 10 day waiting period on all firearms purchases. This allows for the background check and also for the so called cooling off period.

Fifth, reporting theft of a firearm should be mandatory within 24 hours of the theft being known. Failure to do so should result in a charge of obstructing justice.

This set of proposals should have a sunshine provision after 12 years, and after 10 years should be studied to determine if there has been any appreciable effect upon crime.

I think that these are reasonable restrictions of firearms that have the potential to lessen crime but also do not overburden or punish legal gun owners. They have a decent chance of actually passing as legislation as well should the powers that be actually get behind them or something similar. I know that there are other ideas out there and that some have called for more (which will probably not pass as legislation) or less (which does little to address the problem). Those are my thoughts on the matter currently. Nothing that we do is going to completely eliminate violence in general or gun violence specifically. The individual, which society is built on, must have his freedoms protected while at the same time the public safety, which the individual has a vested interest in, must also be maintained. When we examine laws, those two things must be held in tension. Now I shall await the inevitable backlash…

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25 Replies to “Time To Say something”

  1. I suppose one would ask what would happen with all legally owned assault weapons? Other than that, I think I could get behind this. Maybe a few tweaks, but I do like the destruction of background check information – which should be enforced with legal ramifications if not destroyed properly.

    1. I would support them being grandfathered in as they were with the original ban. I also like the idea of criminal liability for not destroying the records of background checks.

  2. As best I can discern, the NRA would oppose the measures to the last breath. They seem perfectly reasonable to me. Perhaps the current leadership of the NRA can be overthrown by the reasonable membership.

  3. Two minor points concerning “All background checks need be completed with in a ten day period and after said period, any information obtained in the background check needs to be destroyed.”

    The default position should be, regardless of any 10 day waiting period, a completed background check must be done before a gun is issued. If, for some reason, the administrative investigation requires a longer time than ten days, no gun. This reflects both manpower limitations on the government side, and the added time that might be needed to investigate the backgrounds of people from the far-ends of the earth. This includes Iraq, Syria, or Northern Idaho…(ok, you know where I’m coming from.)
    If the person is rejected by the investigation, the results would not be destroyed, but highlighted in a common database, and kept forever. They can have a chance to contest the results, (and change it through the legal process), but the data for initial suspicion, and rejection, needs to be kept.

    But I doubt if any of this will pass.

    1. Can’t even pass a limitation of guns to no-fly list people. Can’t fly on a commercial plane, because they could be too dangerous, but they sure can get an AR-15, and hang out, shooting paper targets with 1600 rounds of ammo. In California, you have to list your name and address, to buy ammo. So, if one person buys 1600 rounds of .223 ammo (used in assault rifles, not for hunting) in a year, and that doesn’t raise a red flag, it just proves that the database that is currently kept is useless. The gun store probably destroys the records as soon as the person walks out the store. It appears that someone either in the local, state, or federal government puts the data into a database, but no one really ever looks at it, after that. Or there is so many people buying thousands of rounds of ammo, that no one gives it a second thought.

      1. Thousands hunt with .223 every day. Your assertion is incorrect and shows a general lack of knowledge about firearms and ammunition usage.

    2. No, the default should be that if it can not be completed, then the sale is allowed. This is for two reasons. First, it prevents abuse and default refusal for the those in power. An administration not fond of the gun ownership could then direct these things to the back of the line so to speak. Two, with the fees collected, combined with a yearly re-allotment of money to the states for the purpose of this being done, there should be little reason that 10 days is not more than sufficient. That is precisely why I put in the provision of a fee to be paid by the applicant as well as federal funds where necessary to hire man power if needed. Where the person is from etc. is of little concern so long as they are a citizen of the US. I can get behind that being a requirement as well. All records are destroyed because if there is a reason for refusal of the gun, say a violent felony for example, that is already present and covered by a simple background check. There is no need to appeal anything really. It is a pretty cut and dry system. If you commit violent crime, you can not have a gun. Period. No appeal. If you wish to own a gun, there is a legal process for expunging the record of said crime and then reapply.
      As for the no fly list, no, a person should not be denied a right based on suspicion. Innocent until proven guilty and all of that. The list is still not at all transparent and there is no concrete guidelines of what gets you put on the list in the first place. A secretive government list that is used to deny constitutionally protected rights should be troubling to anyone.
      To correct your claim that the .223 is not used for hunting, it is popular in regions with coyote issues as well as deer hunting. Perhaps others.

      1. “As for the no fly list, no, a person should not be denied a right based on suspicion”…
        Tell that to the people killed recently. Right to life takes priority over right to liberty (the liberty to own a AR-15, large capacity magazine, and stockpiling 1600 rounds of 223 ammo). That is not a right, it is a privilege, which should be closely monitored. And if there is doubt, no AR-15. Denying a person a gun does not take anything away from him, except the gun. Making a mistake and allowing someone a gun that shouldn’t have one, potentially takes someone’s life away. If the person is denyed the gun because of suspicion only, and he doesn’t like it, let him buy a single shot, muzzle loading, black powder gun to target practice with, kill squirrels, or defend himself with, since that is what was available when the constitution was written = for the benefit of anyone that wants to quote the constitution.

        “A secretive government list that is used to deny constitutionally protected rights should be troubling to anyone.”….you seem to not understand how military intelligence, the CIA, DIA, and NSA work, in either protecting sources or methods. I am not talking about convicted someone by judicial practices….I am talking about denying someone an AR-15, and 1600 rounds of ammo. Not a specific “constitutional” right.

        1. First, there are about 40 million more firearms in than there are registered automobiles the United States. Yet, on annual basis, there are about an equal number of deaths attributed to each per year.

          Conclusion: Motor vehicles are actually more dangerous public health than are firearms!

          Yet, no one pays much attention to automobile deaths these days because media no longer employs ambulance chasing news photographers. Death by motor vehicle ceased being front page news decades ago. As a result, unless one is personally affected or involves a school bus, the one or two deaths per motor vehicle fatality go largely ignored.

          Second, for those paying close attention, the Snowden Affair offered a revealing glimpse into the paranoid and slipshod world of intelligence gathering.

          Much like the individuals working in them, America’s intelligence agencies are deeply, perhaps even, fatally flawed. Even among insiders, jokes about these antiquated Cold War spy organizations and the people employed by them are rampant.

          The basic plan of operation is to cast a wide net, run the resulting data through a computer, and hope they come up with something. Hype is at least as much a part of the job as is information acquisition.

          Third, anyone familiar with the 20th century history of firearms in warfare comprehends .223 ammunition serves two purposes. It allows an individual soldier to carry more ammunition and, thus, with automatic weapons, far more firepower than was possible in the first half of the century. Unlike it’s 30.06/.303 predecessors, the ammunition’s stopping power is derived from projectile speed rather than its weight.

          No one buys these weapons for hunting. They are primarily purchased for self-defense by people with, a largely justified belief, that government is able to protect them.

          These weapons are feared by those with political power in the United States for the same reason a Medieval pope outlawed crossbows in Christian warfare and Japanese shoguns forbid commoners from carrying the long sword. No one at the tip wants the peasant class able to meet their warrior class on anywhere near an equal footing.

          Some things never change. Keeping everyone in their place is one of them.

          1. Actually, I agree with you. Although, pessimistic, I can’t say the best option is throw up your hands and give up. On the intelligence community, it’s all we’ve got. I can’t help but think of the U.S.S. Vincennes, that shot down the Iranian Airbus. I was involved with Combat ID at the time, and I have to admit, that the ultimate blame on human error, was more driven by withholding information on flaws in the vaunted AEGIS weapon’s system, poor IFF performance, and on other rather expensive systems, so as not to impact their further funding. Find the lowest ranked military guy, and blame him, instead of impacting the funding to contractors for the next generation military system. Intelligence works the same way. Although compartmentalized intelligence should never have allowed Snowden access to what he did, but as they say “shit happens”. Nothing happens to the guy at the top of the organization for screwing up. Perhaps that is why Trump is shaking up the entire system. He probably is a guy that would actually say, “You’re Fired”. (In no way, is this an endorsement for or against anyone).

          2. While I will not be around to see it happen, I predict that within a generation or two there will a significant effort to totally disarm the American public. Most likely, even sharp pointed objects will be prohibited. Much like motor vehicle deaths, no one will much notice because it will be brought about incrementally and without much fanfare.

            At least the first place is in place with the recent when the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in Friedman v. Highland. In that case, the Chicago suburb of Highland Park outlawing possession of semi-automatic firearms had been a challenged by local firearms owners.

            This type of legislation will expand demographics cluster around large cities.

            Without intending any slight, it may also be worth pointing out that the originator of the post to which we are responding apparently derives a significant portion of his income from law enforcement’s inability to protect citizens in his area. Presumably, if law enforcement were effective in preventing crime, his services would not be needed.

            The reason for noting the above is point out that there is money to be made from law enforcement inefficiencies. Firearms purchases are among the few that actually gives a potential victim a fighting chance for survival when confronted aggressive and predatory behavior.

            In time, the public will learn what law enforcement learned decades ago. Even a double action revolver in the hands of a good guy is no match for a semiautomatic weapon in the hands of bad guy. This will be especially true if there is more than one bad guy. Only then, once the public surrenders their more efficient weapons and firearms manufacturing become heavily regulated, it will be too late for the average citizen to do anything except pray they survive the encounter.

      2. The 223 round, by Geneva convention, is a fully jacketed bullet, to not do massive damage to the enemy solders, as hollow points do, and to facilitate fully automatic action. Hunting generally uses hollow points. But, because of the high muzzle velocity of the 223, it totally shocks the system. If used on a rabbit, the rabbit will blow up (small size, it explodes). If used on a deer, it will punch a hole through it, leave it wounded, and not be very effective compared to hollow points. Either way, any person that uses a 223 fully jacketed bullets for hunting is either stupid, or likes to see pain and suffering, for it’s own sake.

        1. I guess I should say, I meant expanding point, not necessarily hollow point. Of course, you can buy anything. But military ammo is fully jacketed. An AR-15 person will most likely use fully jacketed bullets. Because it is cheaper (military surplus), plus it does not jam easily. A person hunting with an AR-15, is most likely using military fully-jacketed bullets, not because it makes sense for hunting, but because he lacks brains. Or is a terrorist.

      3. And here, I thought I was agreeing with you on 98% of your post. For some reason, we seem to always be at odds. I think I will retire from the discussion.

  4. One of the problems with setting the bar too high, as happened with federal firearms licensing, is that people will find ways around it. Almost as soon as a law is passed, sometimes even before a bill becomes law, someone figures out a way around it.

    Quite often, as was the case with both Prohibition and the war on drugs, a legal solution creates problems that are worse than the forbidden practice. For example, it is well known than Prohibition facilitated the rise of organized crime. Likewise, the war on drugs fueled turf wars among gangs.

    However, the real root of the problem with firearms regulation is a rampant distrust of government. More simply put, an awful lot of folks don’t think government can protect them. Nor do they put much faith in government period.

    Likewise, no one has provided a less lethal weapon of self-defense that is an effective and easy to use as are firearms.

    Thus, distrust and lack of alternatives are merely two more obstacles to be overcome before gun control becomes a viable reality.

  5. Just in case anyone is wondering how a national government might go about disarming the American public, the most probable way would be with a new constitution. The new governmental structure will be more streamlined for efficiency and far less democratic. It will consolidate power rather than disperse it.

    Much like the Patriot Act before it, such a document is most likely already written.

    Essentially, that’s what happened in Philadelphia in 1787. Plans for a convention and new constitution were prearranged by a close knit group of power brokers. To be sure, while the final draft of the new constitution did not exactly math Edmund Randolph’s design, nevertheless, much of it followed his script.

    Anyone attuned to rightwing politics knows there are currently calls for a constitutional convention. Supposedly, the reason is to address a few issues related to Congress. However, once one of these things is convened ANYTHING can happen! That’s why, although a constitutional convention is listed in The Constitution of the United States as one means of amending the document, no one has been stupid enough to organize one to propose a new amendment.

    1. If we want to engage in conjecture on a serious subject, but with a twist of humor (twisted)…

      Just as a suggestion to the intelligence community, how about manufacturing a massive amount of ammo, and distributing it randomly to the Middle East, in locations likely to be captured and used by ISIS. Nothing unusual about that, since most of our military equipment left in Iraq seems to end up with terrorists. With the exception that instead of smokeless powder, use C-4 in it. Or lock the bullet in the shell, so it doesn’t go down the barrel. End result in either case, any rifle that uses it explodes. Probably wouldn’t kill the shooter, but would destroy the rifle. Distribute the bad ammo randomly with good ammo, so the shooter never knows what the results will be. Good fun, for a change. It also provides a big contract to ammo manufacturers, so it helps our military industrial manufacturing base. If we want to really get serious about gun control, all the government has to do is distribute the bad ammo commercially in the U.S.. And try to make sure the bad ammo doesn’t go to our military. The only shooters not effected, would be those that use rock chuckers to load their own ammo.

      1. Until someone gets killed by altered ammo ordered by the government. Then the government is killing it’s own population. That didn’t work out so well during Prohibition when the government poisoned commercial alcohol, even though they knew people were drinking it on the side. People died. It was not a good scenario.

        1. Of course, it is not a serious suggestion. However, the exploding bullet will effectively destroy the pistol or rifle. Whether it is effective in killing the shooter is up to random luck. But it certainly will make the shooter think seriously about pulling the trigger. And the whisky/gun comparison only works if the shooter is seriously addicted to shooting his/her gun. If so, they probably need help with their addiction.

        2. Prohibition was a bad idea, poorly executed. It also serves as a warning as to what can happen when single issue fanatics gain power.

      2. One problem with the bad sabotage plan is that the United States is by no means the only supplier of weapons and ammunition.

        1. One advantage to the Iraq distribution, is that at least terrorists would think twice about using U.S. Weapons. Plus the Soviets and the U.S. are the primary suppliers of weapons in the area. Any limitation on weapons in the Middle East is good. The “good guys” in Iraq drop their weapons and run. The bad guys actually pull the triggers. So bad ammo in Iraq is good, as long as we pull all of out “trainers” out as well. The most seriously ridiculous plan that is advocated by Obama is to train and supply the “good guys” in Iraq. We have spent the last 10 or so years dumping vast amounts of money into Iraq and Afganistan, training and providing weapons, with no results. I personally think that if we can’t break the cycle as weapons providers to the Middle East, we ought to provide bad weapons to them, so they don’t use them any more. Let them use the Soviet weapons, and let the Soviets pay for them. And our defense contractors will still be happy, because they will get payed to produce weapons that backfire.

          But let me say this – I am joking, because this is not going to happen. It just represents the total frustration of the situation we are in. We provide weapons to eventually be used against us, both domestic and foreign, and everybody seems to be satisfied with the status quo. We are in wacky-world!

          1. If you will notice, there has been a pattern since at least Nam.

            Not only does the United States oversimplify conflicts, it gets involved in foreign counties without bothering to understand the cultural history and previous outcomes in the conflict.

            In addition, the United States wants its war short, bloodless, and victorious. Really, that’s not how the world works.

            The country has an over-reliance on technology and the accoutrements of war rather than a will to win. Since World War II, there has been an increasing shift from reliance of the citizen-soldier to finding putting cheap labor in uniform and, then, discarding returning veterans when they are no longer needed.

            This nation no no longer fights wars to win. Instead, they are fought to make defense contractors money! Essential wars have become a get rich quick scheme at someone else’s expense.

            Even worse, like the empires of Germany and Russia before us, we have deluded ourselves into thinking God is on our side. He’s not. While we may trust God, he sure doesn’t trust us!

  6. As addendum to my earlier prognostication that the United States would be transformed by a new constitution, an obvious question is: How could this possibly happen in the Information Age?

    One way is for young people to be taught neither history nor government. Already, this is happening. An example is the present overemphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the exclusion of lessons on government and history.

    Likewise, various forms of internet censorship can be implemented. By simply slowing down internet traffic to unapproved sites or infecting then with various malware would be enough to redirect most people to approved websites.

    Another way, as other totalitarian regimes have discovered, is to rewrite history. This can be easily done through getting rid of “old” library books and adopting new textbooks.

    And, of course, there is always religion. As history as shown, any of the Middle Eastern monotheistic religions is ideally suited for supporting the concept of divine right to rule.

    Given a few scheming minds with an agenda, the possibilities are endless.

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