SENSIBLE GUN LEGISLATION... MAYBE A COMPROMISE.
I have avoided the entire gun debate for awhile now, but recent events have made it unavoidable. I am a gun owner and user and in general support the right of people to own firearms, however, many legislative changes could make everybody safer. If I were to legislate a gun bill, this is what it would contain:
- •Background checks. Every gun. Every time.There is no reason any law-abiding citizen should oppose background checks. The checks need to be tough, and thorough, and paid for by the person receiving the gun. Even transfers within a family should be checked. Any violent crimes on a record should be cause for automatic refusal.
- •Mandatory registration of all guns to a specific owner.This is not an invasion of privacy or rights, but it would give police the ability to quickly seize unregistered firearms. Law-abiding citizens would oblige this, while criminals and terrorists generally would not. This would be a strong tool in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. Registration would allow an individual to own and store an unloaded firearm ONLY (for example, an antique inherited gun that the new owner will probably never use).
- •Mandatory firearm insurance.Firearm insurance would cover the costs if your gun was used to cause injury or death, whether accidental or whether stolen and intentional. Firearms without proper insurance could be seized by law enforcement. Also, the insurers would conduct their own research into the risk of that individual owner and gun type, and if the risk is high, so will the rates.
- •Mandatory gun safety classes for all gun owners.Duh. Why do we not have this already?
- •Mandatory licensure of every gun owner to their specific firearm(s).The license would certify gun safety training, and would also permit the licensee to keep their registered gun loaded at home, or use their gun in a safe manner. Gun owners certify that by having their license they store their guns safely and properly at home. Licenses will be renewed on a regular basis, where the individual is then subjected to another background check. A license allows a person to use their own gun or another person's gun while in their company.
- •National ban on open-carry in non-rural areas.Just because it makes people uncomfortable. And it stirs up more issues than it solves. In rural areas, this allows for hunting and other "activities of livelihood" that necessitate a gun.
- •National legalization of concealed-carry for all registered, licensed owners who pass additional training.Why? It's a trade-off of something that most gun proponents want. A compromise, if you will. The fact is most gun owners will not practice this, and legal concealed carry wouldn't make our country any less safe. And if you are caught carrying a loaded gun without proper registration and licensure, the penalties are severe.
- •Concerning gun types...There are certain military-grade weapons that are illegal and should remain so. But as long as the gun is registered, licensed, and insured it should be legal to own. Again, another compromise. And on the insurance front, the rates to insure an AK-47 would probably be high enough for most people to give them up voluntarily.
- •Concerning mental health...Mental health is a right-wing red herring in the gun control debate. But it deserves at least a look. If a medical professional deems you unfit to drive, your driving license is revoked. It should be the same with mental fitness. If a medical professional believes you are unfit to own a gun, then you lose your gun license. Simple as that.
- •And what won't work:Banning an confiscating all guns. Criminals will still have them, and the black market will increase. Hunters will no longer be able to hunt, and ranchers could no longer protect their livestock. Banning and confiscating assault weapons. Criminals could still get them. Limiting magazine size. Does nothing. Outlawing concealed carry. Concealed carry is only done by law-abiding citizens and a concealed-carry has never been used in a publicized mass shooting.