Friday, 21 December 2012

Regulate guns like cars


Automobiles are a little more dangerous than guns, but not very: in a typical year cars kill 40,000 and guns kill 30,000. But cars are heavily regulated. You must register the car for a fee, and get it inspected, and pass two tests to drive it; in many states you must be trained. As you drive, there are hundreds of signs on the road telling you where you can and can’t drive, where you can and can’t park, how fast you can go, rules for stopping, turning, yielding, all under the supervision of the police and a growing number of cameras. You can never use the car while drunk or otherwise impaired, or texting, or with improper equipment. There may be other restrictions on how and when you drive. There is a whole other set of rules about insurance. If you violate the laws, your license can be suspended or revoked; your car can be impounded.

Just imagine if guns were c0ntrolled that way.

As for the inevitable objection, that the right to drive is not in the Constitution, I will point out again, that the Second Amendment applies to militias, and Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution says that “militia” refers to a group taking orders from the President. And even Justice Scalia, misinterpreting the intent of the framers of the Constitution on the militia issue, still only upheld your right to own a gun, period: he didn’t say that that right is unlimited. Scalia said it was okay to impose bans on concealed carry, keep guns out of the hands of felons and the insane, ban unusually dangerous weapons, set up gun-free zones, regulate gun sellers, and so forth. Even Scalia said gun restrictions are okay. The restrictions which Scalia and four other justices objected to, were the total ban on handguns, and the requirement for trigger locks.

With that in mind, here is my “motor vehicle code” for guns.
  • Register all guns and users, for a fee; background checks for all.
  • National registry for mentally-ill violent offenders; background checks against that registry too.
  • Pistols with small clips are allowed for home defense license, rifle with small clip for hunting license.
  • You must train and certify on your weapon, just as you do for a driver’s license; hunters must actually be hunting.
  • No 50-caliber weapons or ammunition, or cop-killers, or body armor, or intermediate cartridges.
  • Independent review of gun makers
  • All gun sellers to be audited aperiodically, and held responsible for improper sales.
  • No loopholes for gunshows or on-line gun sales.
  • Campaign finance reform to stop extortion of politicians by the NRA and similar groups.
  • Better safety training, procedures and funding for police and schools; procedures subject to federal approval.
  • All weapons in homes with children, the mentally ill and other people with similar incapacity,  should be unloaded and locked up somehow; the registered owner is liable for any ensuing accident or crime. If Scalia and the Court think gun locks make it too hard to defend the home, then someone can find a technical solution that resolves the problem. We have a million children in homes with loaded, unlocked guns – some answer is needed.
  • Gun-free zones to include schools and daycare centers.
  • Ban on concealed carry except with permit from federal law enforcement.
  • Full civil and criminal liability allowed for “stand your ground” shootings and other “accidents”.
  • Amend Obamacare to encourage doctors to ask about violent tendencies and weapons in the home.
  • Pass this in the form of federal law, now, and properly fund and staff ATFE to enforce it.

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