I have tried my hardest to refrain from entering the gun debate in this country as it is a highly charged debate. However in the wake of Newtown CT, I have found that difficult.
I want to start by admitting that I am a permitted hunter and gun enthusiast! I have nothing against guns, and believe that it is indeed people that use these tools illegally or more importantly incorrectly that create the problems that we have. In the last few years, we have had several major gun violence incidences that can teach us all a lesson about the way to move forward. I want to discuss this issue from top to bottom as to not allude that we can react to any one incident to prevent the next, but rather to show how they are all linked. My hope is that we can find unity in common sense in this country when it comes to guns.
Lets start this journey in 1791 with the adoption of the Second Amendment to The United States Constitution. The problem started on this fine day.
Regardless of which style arms you are talking about a 1700’s style muskets (left) or The top of the line repeating rifles of the early 1800’s (right), they had one thing in common. It took forever to reload. In the video on the right you can hear people cheering at the magnificent feat of firing 3 rounds in 46 seconds. With all this in mind we return to December 15, 1791 when congress ratified the Bill of Rights
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
So naturally to have any discussion on the role of guns today it is important to understand their roots. Our founding fathers had the wherewithal to see that if the union was to survive as a free and independent state, a militia will be needed to protect a free state. The problem is that they did this with 2 things in mind; Indians and the English empire (and rightfully so). We have no such concerns today, and it seems implausible that any militia in the US can do more to protect the public then the federal militias created for that purpose. By federal militias I am of course referring to police, Swat, National Guard, Armed Services, CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.
While I do not claim that guns should be outlawed by any means, it has been proven from a legal perspective that not all guns are the same. Our mostly conservative SCOTUS wrote:
The Court also added dicta regarding the private ownership of machine guns. In doing so, it suggested the elevation of the “in common use at the time” prong of the Miller decision, which by itself protects handguns, over the first prong (protecting arms that “have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”), which may not by itself protect machine guns: “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home
What this means is that weapons of war are not necessarily protected under the second amendment The court was wise enough to make the distinction that all weapons are not the same. So since i was kind enough to provide historical reference to the weapons of the generation that adopted the second ammendment. Now I would like to show the weapons being discussed today.
At this point you might be asking so what can we do? So often we fail in our resolve because there is no concrete plan.
Here is my solution based on a case study of 3 major shooting events and what we can learn from them to help us create good civic legislation.
We need to start dealing with the reason that these events keep happening. In the case of the Aurora, the shooter has a cache of weapons and more importantly ammo (legally purchased). If each AR-15 round cost $1,000, we can be sure less deaths would have resulted. I am not suggesting to raise the cost of ammunition through hiking the price. I am saying we should cut supply. By all standards of economics this will undoubtedly create a rise in prices. There is one caveat. When a sportsmen comes to a range, they can purchase as much ammo as they can shoot at bottom prices. We need to establish zones of economic immunity for those ho come to shoot responsibly. A great example of this phenomenon is the black market for guns. Guns on the black market are far more expensive then at a store (most of the time). The reason for this is quite simple. The supply of these weapons is quite limited.
It is absolutely mad that we go through the process of driver certification in the following order:
- Written test (permit)
- Driving test (aptitude)
- Vehicle registration
- Insurance registration
- Required update of license every 4 years and vision test
Are we to believe that we fear guns less then cars? My solution is simple. Create a “DMV- like” certification authority. This authority should have three distinct parts.
Administrative – this is a fairly similar to a DMV clerk who takes your information, payment, etc.
Psychological evaluation – One of the most difficult things about this debate is where to dra the line between mentally ill or slightly depressed, or which weapons can be considered to dangerous to society.
Aptitude – This is really the main part. He a trained expert (I suggest retired armed service members) will scrutinize the ability of the gun owner. These experts can certify people to different levels of access. Much like the DMV does with truck and motorcycle licenses. Should you want an AR1-15, you can pay a hefty fee to get such a license. However prior to purchase you must show that you can properly lock, and fire the weapon in question. This seems almost too logical not to do. Also this will provide jobs for our troops who need jobs, [and] not ribbons.
Removing the NRA lobby from the head of the table should be a priority. This is no longer an organization that speaks for gun owners. They are a bully organization that has an ever growing stranglehold on politicians. Since the beginning of this article conception, several more crimes happened with assault style weapons. The battles being played out in congress have so far shown that nothing ill be done on this issue legislatively.
Personally I commend Mike Bloomberg who has created a PAC that will provide money in contested elections where the NRA would use bully tactics, now has an opposing side to the argument.
Here is one thing that can be said for sure. With guys like Alex Jones, on the side of gun control, who can blame the public for being extremely weary of who we allow this right/privilege to.
I say Bill Maher said it best! (start around 3 mins into the video; although the whole thing is funny)