Monday, December 17, 2012

Gun Control.

My heart goes out the friends and family of the 26 people killed in Connecticut.  My heart also goes out to the 22 kids stabbed in China.  Note it goes out to the friends and family of the Americans, but directly to the Chinese children, because all of the Chinese kids survived.  The old phrase "guns don't kill people, people kill people" was fairly concisely proven wrong. 

I'm not against guns.  But our gun laws are horrible.  They need to be fixed.

There are at heart three different arguments against gun control.  Part of the problem is that all three have different consequences about which rules we should use.

  1. Legal sports use - hunting
  2. Self defense against common criminals
  3. Defense against oppressive government.

Arguments one and two are rather logical, reasonable - and would allow for logical, reasonable laws.  Argument three makes very little sense - how often do we rebel and what insane government helps it's citizens rebel?   Except for the fact that it is the entire reason why guns are legal in the first place. It's why we have the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  Without the Second amendment, argument 3 would be laughed at by most reasonable people - any government that is truly oppressive would have found a way to take your guns already.   In fact, a truly oppressive government would simply declare the second amendment illegal.

But let's go through the consequences of those arguments.

#1 Hunting usage allows for major restrictions (no automatic weapons, no hand guns, no big clips), long waiting periods, thorough background checks, and government registration of all guns.  Also, all guns should be kept locked in a safe when not in use.  Concealed carry should require a permit, which should be hard to get.   No taking the guns to a bar, schools, work, etc. 

#2 Defense is a rather different argument.  In some ways it is the exact opposite of #1.   It says that hand guns are good, big clips allowed for them, but still no automatic weapons.   No waiting periods, but thorough background checks are allowed.   Still have government registration of all guns, but you need to have at least one gun out of the gun safe.  Concealed Carry should now be allowed with an easy to acquire permit.  You can take the guns anywhere.

#3 Rebellion is very different requirements.  Here we say no limits on guns (hell, let them get a tank), waiting periods are out, as are background checks and registration.   Guns should be kept in a locked safe when not in use.  Concealed carry should require a permit which can be hard to get  (If you are rebelling, you don't care about breaking that law).  You can't take any gun out of your home (unless you are rebelling, again if you are rebelling, you are willing to break this law).

So the three different arguments for guns, which should result in three radically different rules.  Part of the problem is that the pro-gun lobby has lobbied for the least restrictive for all the various sets of rules.   That is ridiculous.

Lets talk about what a reasonable country can and should do.

A)  Only Rebellion requires automatic weaponry.  Both other arguments are against it.  But rebels can modify guns.   So outlaw all civilian automatic weapons, but allow modifiable semi-automatic guns.  That is no civilian one can buy, sell or own any fully automatic weapon (assault rifle), but they can be designed so that it is easy to take a semi-automatic weapon and turn it into an assault rifle.

B)   Long guns have a month waiting period.  They are purchased for hunting or rebellion.   No federal registration required.   You can't take them to bars, schools, work, etc.

C)  Reasonable caliber handguns should be legal but federally registered.   No waiting period.   Frankly, no rebellion would seriously arm their militia with them.  Range is too small, and they get stopped by bullet proof vests.    Without a concealed carry permit, you can't carry it into a school, work, or bar.

D)  As handguns are being federally registered, concealed carry permits should be required - and work nationally.  They should be moderately strict - no criminals, no one ever committed to a mental   No one taking certain drugs (anti-psychotics, anti-depressants), etc. etc.   With the permit, you can take it anywhere.     AFTER they are issued, a check should be done to see if the person is safe.  If they are dangerous, revoke them and this will automatically trigger a search warrant for their home, car, and work.   Any guns will be confiscated.  If you have a concealed gun on you, you are not allowed to drink (or permit is revoked, gun is confiscated, and you go to jail as per drunk driving conviction.)

E)  All guns must be kept in a locked safe unless they are in your possession.  If you own more than one gun, you are legally required to buy and own a gun safe.  We can sell gun safes that fit in pickups. 


That said, how do we get to the above laws?

I would do the following, as a start.

Note this law would be inseparable - that is if any part is cancelled, the entire bill would be cancelled.

Issue a new government gun permit.  It takes a month to get (during which they check you out).   You can buy and own a gun without it - but only at a store, not at the gun shows.   Unless you are federally licensed to buy or sell guns, it is illegal to sell a gun to anyone that does not have the gun permit.  When you purchase a gun with the federal gun permit, it gets photocopied and sent to the federal government.  There is no such requirement if the person selling is at their gun store and has a license to sell guns (continue to use the old rules).

In addition, if you have a concealed carry permit in your own state, then this new government gun permit would let you conceal carry outside your home state.  If you move out of your home state, then you have one week to initiate new rules.

Finally, if you own more than one gun, you are legally required to buy and use a gun safe.

This gives something to the NRA (federal concealed carry permits), but closes the main loopholes in buying guns.  At the same time it tries to make it a little bit harder to steal guns.

Note, this won't do everything we need.   But it's a start.

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