What would sane gun laws look like?
With the massacre of the month behind us, I’ve decided to think of what I think would be an ideal set of gun laws. I felt this was necessary because I find myself advocating for what I think is possible to enact and that’s not anywhere close to what I would ideally like to see happen.
First, let me be clear. I don’t have a problem with most gun owners. I am concerned about people who feel like they need to have an arsenal. It’s not the arsenal that concerns me – it’s the reasons why they feel like they need to have an arsenal that concerns me.
I am also quite worried about people who are paranoid owning guns which they are apparently hoping will help them feel more safe. People who think life is like the movies and are quite willing to shoot people in vigilante style to take matters into their own hands because they don’t actually trust the judicial system to do what is right scare me. I’ve always noticed that this sort of gun owner is white and they don’t appreciate a similar paranoia among blacks who might want to arm themselves to defend themselves from the excesses of the state. And I think of this as a problem because it’s clear to me – black people have legitimate concerns about being killed by the state. A black person concerned about being shot by the state – is not paranoia. It’s realistic fear. White people being concerned about being shot by the state – yeah – that doesn’t happen enough to worry about.
Ok – so – what do I think sane gun control laws should look like?
- Licensing for gun ownership. You must be background checked and pass a written and practical exam to receive a gun license. And you must be licensed for specific types of weapons the same way you would get licensed to fly certain types of aircraft of motor vehicles. Motorcycles have a different license than a big rig for example. Gun licenses should be available for the major classes of weapons. If you are licensed, you can purchase a gun in the class you are licensed for. Not licensed, can’t purchase a gun. This should help ensure that we don’t rely on person to person sales to do background checks. Let the state do that and register and track that. Don’t make that the job of private citizens.
- Relicensing would be done every 2 years and require a practical exam to ensure that you can still handle the weapon safely.
- Gun Titles: All guns should carry a title. When they are sold, the title is transferred to the new owner. If we can do this for cars, we can do this for guns. Is this too much? I don’t think so. 95% of American households own cars, but only 38% own guns. If we can manage the paperwork on this for cars, we can definitely handle the paperwork required to title guns. The benefit of this would that if a gun is used in a crime, we would know who is responsible for the gun. If your gun is stolen, you have to report it stolen or be liable for the damage that is done with that gun.
- Insurance. If you own a gun, you need to carry insurance for that gun. Similar to the insurance you need for a car. If your gun is used in a crime, you are liable for the crime. Period. The insurance helps cover the medical and legal costs associated with the problems caused by gun ownership.
- Liability for gun ownership goes back 2 people. So if you sell a gun to someone who uses it in a crime, you are liable for having done so.
- No automatic weapons available. Sporting weapons only. Semi-automatic is fine, but not fully automatic.
- Limit of 3 weapons per gun license holder. Sorry – no amassing an arsenal – unless you have a special permit to do so. These special permits would be for gun dealers and collectors and more stringent background checks and licensing would be required to obtain such permits. You would also have to own liability insurance in case something happens to your arsenal. This is not the responsibility of the gun seller to verify – but if someone obtains title to more than 3 weapons, it will trigger an automatic review by the state.
Is all this a burden? Yes. Is it irrational? No. In fact, most responsible gun owners agree with quite a bit of what I’ve put here – the titling, licensing bits etc. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN6rjamk0Q0 for an example.
So why can’t we get licensing and titling done? Most Americans want it. only 1/3 of Americans own guns. Only a portion of those are irrational. So why can’t we get sane gun legislation passed?