Sunday, June 3, 2018

A Modest Proposal Sure to Piss Everyone Off

6/4/18 Draft.

At the rate the GVP discussion is going, 
we are getting nowhere fast
As we continue to accomplish very little with regards to solving the problem of gun violence, I have a modest proposal. Well, maybe not so modest. But what the hell.

First. Stop trying to ban categories of guns such as ARs that have long been in circulation, since that creates a battle royal and since most of these guns are owned with little real risk to society in proportion to the political battle that would ensure if we try to ban them.  The lion's share of shootings, including multiple shootings, are done with handguns. ARs are a convenient political target for the left as a symbol of what they see as America's Gun Problem.

But as a hedge, and as I suggested in 2015 and as Mike Weisser suggested about a week ago, we can, if necessary to keep Junior from mowing down his school or place of work, modify the 1934 National Firearms Act to regulate ARs and some handguns, i.e., arms more lethal than garden variety hunting rifles, shotguns, and some large unconcealable handguns, in some manner between machine guns and Dad's Remington 1100. That doesn't mean people can't have exotic guns or, "modern sporting rifles", or whatever you want to call stuff. It just means it will be a little harder to own more lethal guns, there will be a little more screening, and not every bozo who walks into a gun shop can come out armed to the teeth with his Man Card intact. How we decide what would fall into this category should be decided carefully so we don't run afoul of Heller or intractable political issues. As a point of discussion, how about if owning "modern sporting rifles" and/or being able to carry concealed require a common, higher level of screening than traditional low capacity firearms and hefty handguns more at home in the woods. A "basic" firearms owners identification card (FOID) could be had by anyone who scores 100% on a Form 4473 and one could upgrade if the spirit moved one.
this was stupid

Secondly, stop trying to keep people from owning guns if they have not proven that they should be disqualified. Once we decide on categories of firearms, how about national reciprocity with ownership? Or at minimum, a state-issued FOID card with national reciprocity? Make it shall-issue after jumping through reasonable hoops.  Each gun owner would have an ID card, similar to a driver's license, that would allow some or all categories of guns to be owned, openly or concealed, analogous to a license that allows individuals to drive just cars vs allowing the person to drive cars, motorcycles, eighteen wheelers, etc. Of course this means red and blue states have to compromise on M.Q.'s but in return, we could stop talking about gun running from so called weak law to strong law states and I could plink at tin cans with my old man's hand cannons in NYS without fear of being chased down by Andrew Cuomo. State level sensitivities such as not carrying in government buildings could be preserved. What a concept.

Background checks? Easy.  Private sales/transfers between owners would be done by entering a computerized NICS-like system with a pair of FOID numbers, PINs, a gun serial number and description and presto, a private exchange is done between previously cleared people based on their level of screening. You want to be screened to own an M-60 for shits and grins or sell one to your buddy who is equally screened? Sure, why not? Right now there are hundreds of thousands of legally owned machine guns. They are never in the news because you have to be pretty squeaky clean to own one.  Just show you are responsible for the damn thing and God bless ya.  Just make sure you can afford the ammo.

Finally, stop moving the goalposts and messing with people who have never crossed paths with the law. The biggest, and often enough legitimate fear that gun owners have is that the rules are too fluid and often the changes are bewilderingly stupid. Want examples? Start with California. These situations make Molon Labe an understandable, if not a legally defensible response. Plus, these situations result in single issue politics at the polls, which doesn't help the bigger issue of running the country.  The recent editorial by Santa Fe Mayor Webber, i.e., that he would attempt to circumvent the state constitution's preemption clause, is yet another example of why gun owners are wary of trusting government. Sure did bug me that this showed up in the Santa Fe New Mexican three months after I moved here. No, I didn't get a call from Mr. Mayor as a "responsible gun owner", either.

I think we need to do more to keep guns under control, i.e, from being diverted from the legal to the illegal side of the house and to ensure the irresponsible dofus and clearly identified legal loose cannon is not sending rounds whizzing past my hair do. That means some controls on ownership (i.e., theft prevention and periodic cross-referencing with court records) and transfer (to ensure you don't sell that semiauto to someone about to blow away his wife after she got a restraining order against her slap-happy hubby). But if the laws are designed to control transfer  and reward lawful ownership rather than prevent ownership by good people (i.e., California et al), maybe we can get past the impasse.

The 2A was written so that a citizen militia (of whoever passed for a citizen back then) could be called on to defend the state and/or nation and to try to prevent the unwarranted amassing of power by a government that no longer represents its people. UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler covered that pretty well in Gunfight and there have been numerous papers written about the evolution of arms and self defense in England and America. Heller's contribution was explicitly including in the 2A the right to have a usable weapon for self defense in the home. The historical reasoning behind the 2A implies some standards need to be met among the people. For one, it would be wise if we don't elect assholes who we might genuinely worry about as far as usurping excessive power (hence the ballot box and high school diploma with an A in rhetoric and civics are far more powerful tools than the sword) and two, that we know the limits of being armed and therefore, know muzzle from breech as well as the law of self defense. No American who has thought carefully about the often-used Jefferson quote about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants wants to live in an Anbar Province, no matter how pissed off he gets at Big Gubbmint. Any doubts? Read the history of the Civil War.

Fix the country with a saw and hammer, not with a match and gasoline.

1 comment:

Weer'd Beard said...

Well you failed, you didn't piss me off! :)

I did find a lot of your points perplexing.

#1: Why do hunting arms get the free pass? I understand you're a hunter, and that you're older than me and from that era.

I've read reports that hunting is on the decline, I don't necessarily trust those reports, but the reality is that the people who are buying all the guns right now are younger, and majority are non-rural (mostly from population dynamics) and this is why at the NRAAM my friends and I were bored to tears at all the AR-pattern rifles and double-stack, striker-fired, polymer-framed pistols. These are the guns these people are going for.
This group is primarily owning guns for personal defense, and club shooting. They might not be opposed to hunting, but it's not on the top of the ticket.

Also the Second Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting.

Furthermore with the number of people returning from our massive overseas escapades, and who often took their first shots in basic training, these are people who when they might choose to get into hunting, either as a simple hobby, or as a means to combat PTSD, these are people who will gravitate to the AR-15 which can be configured easily for any kind of hunting in much of the world.

And really its no different from previous generations. The Winchester Model 70 is essentially a Mauser Rifle....or a Springfield 1903. We have always hunted with "Military Style Rifles" in this country.

#2. Your FOID idea isn't a terrible one, except that it reeks of poll tax. I would counter with the more libertarian proposal that if somebody is convicted of a prohibitive crime, all their state and federally issued IDs must be seized and they are re-issued an ID with a Scarlett "F" for "Felon" (I'll take a less literary suggestion) and all future ID will bear that "F" until the charge is expunged (which there should be an avenue for).

This will also have an added effect of showing people just how petty our Felony convictions have become. Back in '68 when Felonies were officially legislated as a exemption for your 2nd Amendment Rights, there were not nearly as many felonies, and they were for more egregious anti-social crimes.

#3 I love the ID for opening up the NICS....except why do we need Serial numbers and gun models? If the seller legally owns the guns, and the buyer can legally own guns, let them exchange goods however they see fit. Serial numbers just lead me to think of registries, and registries are used so infrequently by law enforcement that they easily can be approximated as zero.

Of course in the end, we're just two dudes talking, as currently the 2nd Amendment Lobby isn't pushing very hard for changes I think need to be made, and the ONLY push for changes on the other side comes directly from Michael Bloomberg, and Michael Bloomberg alone....and if you are not reading his statements and seeing that he wants to ban all firearms in private hands, I think we have something more important to talk about first.