I’m a Navy Veteran who has owned guns and has no fear of guns in the hands of sane Citizens.
In fact: I want sane, trained, accurate, Citizens to have unfettered access to guns.
The simple Fact is that weapons in the hands of sane, competent, folks increases our herd immunity to all those who understand nothing but superior force… whether they be criminals or despotic governments.
That said, We Have A Problem which is not being handled by any of the tools we’re using today.
It is that we have guns, lots of them, in the hands of mentally, morally, and legally, incompetent folks.
This Fact results in the needless, henious, deaths of my fellow Citizens, and their children, whom I took an Oath to protect when I joined the Navy in 1979. The hard part for me is that my Oath (which I take VERY seriously) also includes the protection of Our Constitution as a primary Duty. This creates a tough balancing act to honor both of those Oaths while protecting our fellow Citizens from idiots and felons.
Here is my simple suggestion which addresses this obvious problem using effective tools we already have available yet still honors the Second Amendment
Our Constitution. I call it “Zero Guns For You.”
1) Mandated State Level pre-licensing for those who wish to own guns… the exact same way we do with prospective drivers.
a) Licensing process to require 40 hours of training on gun use, care and safety before a license to own or buy weapons is issued. The training elemant would include an element of accuracy as well… if you can’t hit an 8″ target you’ve no business with a gun.
(This is the same sort of training we had in the Navy circa 1979)
It would NOT include any sort of tracking of what weapons you own.
b) If you’re any sort of armed police, or security officer, (State, Federal, or Private) your recertification interval is 6 months AND you must be able to recite the US Constitution Bill of Rights from memory. Note that the the requirements for being an armed Officer are MORE stringent than the general public, as is the application of penalties by courts. This is intentional. You took an Oath to protect Citizens & Constitution; so logically your standards for the performance of that Duty are higher than those who didn’t take such an Oath.
2) Annual recertification of training & accuracy to maintain the license.
2a) Lose your license? You turn in, or sell off, your weapons within 30 days… ALL of them.
3) No License = NO SALE. Penalty for selling weapons to unlicensed folks = 3 months jail on the first offense. This also applies to private transactions or “gifts.”
4) Owning or using a gun without being licensed, outside of a training range, is 90 days in jail per weapon, run consecutively. More than 2 counts or cases converts everything to a felony (+1yr in prison).
5) Reasons for denial of license and thus denial of access to guns:
If the applicant has Ever had a felony conviction for violence
Under age 16
Applicant has ever provided (intentionally or through negligence) a gun to anyone unlicensed.
Providing, through loan, gift, or sale, a gun to an unlicensed person (a sole exception for Training Range use of weapons limited to on site use)
Applicant has ever been found guilty of any level of Abuse of Legal Authority or acting under False Color of Law, whether by a Criminal court or a Civil Court.
Any Domestic Violence conviction
Any Felony conviction
Any involuntary entry to a mental health facility. (Whether by Family commitment or Arrest)
If you’ve ever shot yourself or another “Accidentally” (Yes, Im looking directly at YOU, Dick Cheney!)
If you’ve ever discharged a weapon in a public place “Accidentally”
I call this plan #0guns4U
Just so we’re all clear, my intention here as a sane gun owner, who’s NEVER had an “accident” with a gun, or had one stolen, or “lost” a weapon, is to start a discussion about how we as a society can accomplish two goals:
1) Protect the Constitutional Right to own guns
2) Give us all an effective tool to use in keeping guns away from incompetent folks.
What’s interesting to me about this proposal is that it offers all who sell guns a tool we don’t have now, to know that the folks they’re selling to are reasonably competent and have at least some training so that they don’t kill themselves or others. The truth is most gun owners are sane folks who do not want guns in the hands of incompetent folks but have zero tools to control for that in person to person sales.
The mechanism here is simple, elegant and requires zero State intervention outside of setting up the licensing technology (which already exists via our Departments of Motor Vehicles). It works organically via the profit motive in exactly the same way renting a car does. Try to rent or buy a car without a drivers license in hand… Good Luck buddy! As it stands now private Citizens have ZERO easy, effective way to find out if a prospective buyer is a felon, wife beater, or is otherwise incompetent to own a gun. Frankly I, and almost every gun owner I’ve met, do NOT want to sell a gun to someone who’s legally incompetent, or criminal. This set of tools would give us sane folk a mechanisim to eliminate those folks without any need for phone calls and waiting periods. Got your license? You’re good to go. Don’t have your license? See ya bud! Get lost
Buyer: I want that one, here’s the money.
Seller: I need to see your license.
(A) Buyer: Haven’t got one yet.
Seller: Come find me when you have it.
(B) Buyer: Here ya go.
Seller: *Matches picture to person, completes sale* Here you go, nice doing business with you.
It also neatly addresses the “heat of the moment” first time gun buyers who are buying for one purpose: To kill or maim someone they’re pissed at now. We KNOW this happens and with this system that can be dramatically reduced as well because there’s a process one must go through to get the license to buy a weapon. That process takes time and requires some “pre-flight” certification listed in bold above.
The other advantage is that this system dies not track who owns what weapons which is a MAJOR Constitutional Rights concern for a great many gun owners. It only tracks who is qualified to own weapons… the nice thing about this on the “crime” side of the fence is that our current laws have a Catch-22 built in where a person who’s not qualified 2 own weapons can often be imprisoned simply for an attempt to buy. This discourages them from applying and causes them to seek out black markets or private sellers who have no effective way to check status.
Now, in earlier writings I cover the Constitutional ABSOLUTE RIGHT to bear arms and the reasons it’s an Absolute Right