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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What I consider to be Reasonable Gun Controls

    Another post on gun control. This one is no different from the others I have written in that it has redundancies (points I repeatedly call for) as well as being in favor of reasonable regulation of the firearms proliferation in this country.
    My thoughts stem from the idea that “it’s not the guns: it’s the people.” This phrase, often put forth by gun aficionados, is often paraphrased as “guns don’t kill people: people do.” There is perfect logic in this. People do kill people BUT guns let them do it faster and more efficiently therefore we need to have a means to screen out the PEOPLE but also decrease the efficiency of the guns. There is not a single approach vector to this problem that will solve it as there is not full solution to the problem of violence.

    I examine this problem from the idea of wanting to retain my right to own a firearm (or several). I examine this problem from the perspective of acknowledging that not everyone SHOULD own a firearm. I examine this problem from the view that not everyone should be allowed to own a firearm. I examine this problem as a problem that weights the 2nd Amendment right to own a firearm against the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” of everyone not behind the trigger of any individual firearms. I examine the right to own and operate against the right to life. I examine the right to live against the inconvenience of regulations. Yes, INCONVENIENCE, of regulations. I examine the most advanced personal weaponry on the planet at the time of the 2nd Amendment being crafted against what we have now and I examine the SCOTUS ruling that decided to make “well-regulated militia” a superfluous clause of the 2nd Amendment rather than making it a vital component (thus, altering the 2nd Amendment without a new amendment – really, think about it).

    I have participated in, and lurked in on, many gun control discussions, debates, and full-on flame wars throughout many places on the internet. I have come to the conclusion that the most vocal on either side are unrealistic in their expectations and delusional in their views. Moreover, I have come to the conclusion that many of the pro 2nd Amendment people are psychologically unfit to own and carry firearms and this scares me; it also explains why they are so opposed to regulating the people as they MUST suspect that they would fail to pass any required psychological examinations.

    With all of this preamble here is my proposal for what I consider to be valid, reasonable, and achievable gun control in this country. These ideas are not all my own but the amalgamation is. I acknowledge it will take at least 10 years for true progress to be seen and that it will take two full generations for the existing proliferation of weapons to be brought under control to a point of normalization. But the best programs generate sustainable, and slow, change.

    This plan has several parts that must all be in place to manage the problem.

    1.    Acknowledge the intent of the 2nd Amendment
        a.    “Well-regulated militia” is a core part of the Amendment and needs to be honored. A “militia” needs an official definition and part of having a license needs to be membership in one. As far as I am concerned a local gun club that has rules on how often equipment is serviced and how often marksmanship and handling are tested would be sufficient so long as it maintains records to validate the “well regulated” part. Such records must be made available to the authorities if a warrant is issued. Only records of INDIVIDUAL SUSPECTS can be copied and taken by the authorities as part of an active investigation – with an additional warrant for that specific information.
        b.    The National Guard can be considered a “well-regulated militia” – those enlisted in it meet the criteria.

    2.    Manage the people.
        a.    Every citizen who wishes to have a firearm must possess a license.
        b.    There will be multiple levels of licenses and endorsements. Each successive license includes written testing on the features/liabilities/responsibilities of that level only. Practical exams include safe handling (common for all levels) and marksmanship for that level.
            i.    Base License
                1.    Requires an educational course, a written test, and a practical exam for proper firearm handling.
                2.    Grants unrestricted purchase and use of muzzle-loading weaponry for which the powder, wadding, and ball are separate (e.g. what was available when the amendment was written).
                3.    Requires a preliminary background check.
            ii.    Bolt / Pump Action License
                1.    Requires an educational course, a written test, and a practical exam for proper gun handling AND basic marksmanship.
                2.    Allows 3-round magazines.
                3.    Requires a deeper background check
            iii.    Semi-automatic License
                1.    Requires the bolt/pump action license and a written exam.
                2.    Has two base endorsements: hand gun and long gun. Either/both can be sought. Each requires practical test for marksmanship and handling.
                3.    Allows 3-round magazines
                4.    Requires a deeper background check
            iv.    Full-automatic
                1.    Requires an intensive training program including practical examinations for servicing, handling, care, and marksmanship
                2.    Requires a written test
                3.    Requires an in-depth psychological evaluation and background check (essentially government clearance)
            v.    Continuous expanding licenses
                1.    Each incremental step requires intensive training in the specifics of the weaponry genre and deeper restrictions on psychological and behavioral assessments.
        c.    There will be a government profile built of gun owners as they acquire weapons. This will be a combination of the weapon registry and the online psych eval database. This database will be thousands of questions.
        d.    There are no accidents – any injury or property damage due to a discharged weapon is someone’s liability and will be treated as such in the eyes of the law.
        e.    Anyone discharging a weapon in an unsafe manner loses their license.
    3.    Manage the liability
        a.    Proof of blanket firearm liability insurance must be possessed to acquire a license.
        b.    Each weapon must be added to the policy within 14 days of purchase.
    4.    Manage the weapons
        a.    Every weapon must be registered from point of completion through to disposal; instant registration at the point of sale is the default for licensed vendors.
        b.    Every weapon will have ballistics information logged every time it passes through a licensed firearms merchant (and upon initial completion).
        c.    Each change of possession requires a registration form be filed by both buyer and seller. Buyer’s firearm license number and insurance policy is noted on both.
        d.    Create a buyback program where guns can be turned in for cash.
        e.    Create an anonymous drop program where guns can be anonymously turned in.
        f.    Both d&e generate examination of the weapons, including ballistics, etc. and comparison against open cases. Upon completion of the investigation the weapons are destroyed.
        g.    Every weapon must be sold with a trigger lock.
        h.    Every weapon must be stored in a secure manner.
        i.    In the event than an owner loses their license they have a reasonable time frame to liquidate their arsenal. This will be determined by the judge who revokes their license. Any weapons and ammunition in their possession after the deadline are forfeit.
    5.    Manage the sales
        a.    Every sale must require proof of license and insurance.
        b.    Every sale from a licensed vendor requires to buyer to take a quick (~25 questions) online psych eval. AT THE VENDOR’S FACILITY AND AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE. This is a pass/fail scenario and the questions are pulled randomly from the government question base.
        c.    Every sale must have the background check performed. The more intense the licensure level the longer the waiting period. Licenses for up to semi-automatic should have an instantaneous background check.
    6.    Manage the ammunition
        a.    Magazines will be serialized.
        b.    Magazines must be registered; instant registration must be available and the default setting.
        c.    Magazines must be associated with a weapon owned by the same owner.
        d.    There will be magazine endorsements; each requires increasing background checks
            i.    3 magazines, 3-rounds each per weapon (standard)
            ii.    Two additional magazines.
            iii.    Up to 10 magazines
            iv.    Increased magazine capacity to 5 rounds
            v.    Increase magazines to 10 rounds
            vi.    Increase magazines to 30 rounds.
        e.    Ammunition will carry a 100% tax which goes toward treatment for gun violence victims and to support the licensure and background check program.
        i.    EXEMPTIONS
            1.    Police and military are exempted
            2.    Properly qualified security professionals are exempted
            3.    Licensed vendors do not pay the tax, they pass it along.
            4.    Licensed gun clubs and shooting ranges are exempted from charging the tax to members who consume the ammunition on premises. Only ammunition that is taken from the premises need pay the tax.
        f.    Boxes of ammunition are registered and tracked through to final point of sale. Inventory is carefully monitored so as to prevent unlicensed purchased. Individual purchases are assigned to a firearms license.
        g.    Ammunition cannot be purchased for a weapon not registered to the purchaser – even at time of weapon purchase (see instant registration)
    7.    Manage the weapons used in crimes
        a.    A weapon used for violence is forfeit; this also includes weapons that cause injury through accidents.
        b.    Upon completion of the investigation into the crimes in question the weapon is forfeit and destroyed. Even weapons discharged in self-defense are forfeit if they directly generate physical injury. This is a cost of discharging the weapon for violence.
        c.    The funds for selling the scrap metal are directed into the law enforcement and gun crime prevention programs.

In addition to my plan I’d like to share a list of outrageous comments I encountered when examining the gun control debate through the various venues. I tried to find a balanced number of ludicrous comments for each side but I failed.

1. Banning all guns will stop the problem completely

2. The answer is to give everyone guns.

3. No regulations or restrictions should be undertaken because they cannot completely stop the problem.

4. Guns are more important that driving.

5. Localized regions in the US that have strict laws and still have gun problems prove that no gun regulations will help.

6. Gun regulation has not helped anywhere in the world.

7. You can't take away someone's right to a gun even if they are a proven felon and dangerous to society.

8. There is no proof that limited magazine capacity and limited number of magazines would have had any effect on the mass shootings so we shouldn't even try it.

9. Single shot guns are all that should ever be allowed for any reason.

10. Obesity kills more people than guns so we should ban McDonald's first.

11. More people die in car accidents than by guns so we should ban them first.

12. Only the rich should have guns.

13. You can't impose any cost on gun ownership because it infringes the rights of the poor.

14. Everywhere in this country has tons of laws - nowhere can you walk in and buy a guy and walk out.

15. Waiting periods are unconstitutional.

16. Any form of gun control is saying that the entire civilian population is not allowed to have guns.

17. Any attempt to control guns is as bad as the Westborough Baptist Church.

18. Registration of guns will lead to confiscation of them.

19. No gun dealer ever bypasses the laws to sell guns; ESPECIALLY not at gun shows.

20. Private sales should always be exempted from any rules.

21. Every private sale should be illegal.

22. The good guy with the gun is not a myth. Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns constantly.

23. Every gun owner is crazy.

24. Every anti gun person is a communist.

25. Every anti gun person wants to take away ALL rights.

26. Gun ownership is a right, driving is a privilege so they cannot be compared.

27. It doesn't matter than the most advanced personal weaponry when the 2nd amendment was written was a double-barrel musket.

28. We should ban doctors because malpractice kills more people than guns.

29. Since people are killed for their beliefs we should get rid of the 1st Amendment to protect people from the repercussions of their words.

30. Owning guns is a God-given right and people can't take it away.

31. The cost of inconveniencing 100 million people (1/3 of Americans estimated to own guns) is too high to save the lives of people killed by guns every year.

32. Show me the data that shows gun crime is a problem here.
Data provided.
Well, you can't compare just the gun crime rates because poverty drives gun crimes.
Poverty data provided.
Well, the cultures are just too different so you can't compare those countries at all.
Note: countries compared were Canada, the U.K., Australia, Norway, and Israel (for good measure)

33. We shouldn't implement any gun controls because people can find other ways to do mass killings, like McVeigh and his truck bomb.

34. Any action that costs money will unfairly burden the poor so it can't be done.

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