After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we are once again faced will a call to ban guns. To those who want to ban guns I say sure why not? While we’re at it, lets look at other things that kill. Current statistics show that on average, 34 people per day are killed by guns. However, 140 are killed in motor vehicle accidents. This means you are 4 times more likely to be killed by a motor vehicle than a gun. So obviously we must ban motor vehicles. Even worse, 1640 people die from heart disease every day. We must ban all know causes of heart disease. (Before anyone starts posting comments about what an asinine statement that was, I was being over dramatic for a reason. Please read on)
Our Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. It doesn’t say anything about not setting up a safe and regulated way to ensure the public’s safety as much as possible. Below I want to lay out my proposal that should go along way to appeasing as many people as possible.
- Require all and I mean ALL firearms to be registered in a national database. No grandfathering in previously owned weapons. If you own a gun it needs to be registered. For all you hardcore gun owners that are starting to scream of government interference, go out to your car and look at your vehicle registration. Why are you OK with registering that every year, but not your guns? Also, just like with registering you car, you pay a registration fee for each gun you own. Something on the order of $20 per handgun and $50 for all others. Based on current legal gun ownership statistics, that’s $10 billion + per year. That kind of money could help make our schools safer.
- Require all gun owners to pass a certification course. The course needs to cover not just how to shoot, but safe handling and storage of firearms. Require re-certification every 5 years.
- Require a background check on all individuals that the gun owner is the primary care provider for. If you’re taking care of your elderly father, he undergoes the same background check as the gun owner. If you have kids living at home, they get background checked as well. If they have mental health issues, sorry but nothing more dangerous than a paintball gun for you.
- All gun owners who posses ‘assault style’ rifles such as the AR-15 would be required to submit it to random unannounced inspections by the ATF. This is to prevent modifying the weapon into a fully automatic one. This also should put a serious damper on those idiots at gun shows who get around the law by selling the kits to modify these types of guns.
- Require gun owners to report missing firearms immediately. If you show a pattern of losing weapons, revocation of your certification. If you show a pattern of losing weapons and one of them is used in the commission of a crime, criminal charges for you as well.
A recent story in the Tampa Bay Times reports that in Florida, sales of guns are up since the tragedy ( Gun Sales Increase Since Shooting ). This is partly due to people feeling helpless and wanting to ‘even the playing field, protect their kids’ and people worrying about potential bans and getting their weapons now while they still can. Even if these weapons are banned, like most bans it will be a forward ban, meaning existing owners will be able to keep their guns. Which still means there will be a lot of weapons out there already.
By doing this at a federal level, it means that when someone possesses a gun illegally, it’s not just state charges, but federal charges. And, not just the person with the gun, but possibly the individual who actually purchased the weapon which would be easy to find out with a national registry.
Would my plan have prevented the shooting in Sandy Hook? Possibly. Since Mrs. Lanza was the primary care provider for her son and the news keeps reporting he may have been diagnosed with a mental illness, if he was then those guns would not have been there under my plan. Even if he wasn’t, by requiring her to take a certification course, she would have known of the proper care and safety precautions required for keeping those weapons.
I’m sure I’m going to offend people on both sides of this debate, but the reality is this issue will only be dealt with if we reach a compromise. Both Pro gun and Pro ban sides need to give a little, or we’ll just end up waiting for the next tragedy to occur.