Gun Control – A Modest Proposal

And this time, I don’t mean the Jonathan Swift type of modest proposal. I actually mean that I have an idea for gun control in the US. If you’re of the opinion that no one should have guns, or that everyone should be able to have any type of gun they want for whatever reason, then don’t bother reading this, because you’re just going to think that I’m an idiot, and there are already enough people with valid reasons to think I’m an idiot, so we don’t need any more.

Let me start by saying that what happened in Connecticut was terrible, and it’s just the latest in a string of terrible things, and there should be something we can do as a society to make terrible things stop happening. And I’ll also be brutally honest and tell you that I’ve wondered a lot since Friday what part, infinitesimal as it may be, that I play in continuing the problem. You see, I worry about my characters. It may not seem like it, but I do. I worry that when people read about Bubba shooting it out with a monster in a parking lot and spraying lead around like it’s candy at a Christmas parade, that I’m doing nothing more than glorifying guns and the “shoot ’em all, let God sort ’em out” philosophy. I’m fairly certain that my sales are small enough not to have any grand influence on society as a whole, but I am concerned that in some small way, I may be part of the problem.

And as such, it’s incumbent on me to be part of the solution as well. I jokingly said to someone on Friday that we have to do something. I said “I mean, I don’t want anyone to take away my guns, but we need to do something about these assholes shooting kids.” I meant it. I own two guns – a Ruger 10-22 .22 rifle, and a 12-guage shotgun. I don’t own a handgun, but probably will at some point. I enjoy shooting. I’m pretty good at it, and it’s a skill that I enjoy exercising. I don’t hunt, because I don’t like getting up early and don’t need to hunt to survive. Plus I don’t really like getting messy, and there’s a lot of mess involved in field-dressing things.

But my point is that I am a gun owner. Neither of my guns are registered, because in North Carolina you don’t have to register long guns. I’ve never taken a class in gun safety, because I don’t have to. I received no instruction when I bought either gun, because no one had to provide it to me. And I bought both guns completely legally, one in a gun shop in Georgia, and one at a gun show in Charlotte. And if I wanted to, I could go to Walmart today and buy as many rifles and shotguns as my credit cards and cash would allow.

I would like to see some of those things change. And here is my proposal to put in place some gun controls in the US – treat them like cars.

There are about 250 million cars in the United States. There are about 270 million guns. There are about 311 million people. Cars and guns are very similar in number – statistically, almost every person in the country owns one. Obviously, that’s not true, since studies show that most people that own one gun, own multiples. Like me. I guess it’s like tattoos. I mean, how many people do you know with one tattoo? I have four. Yes, if you ask nicely, I’ll show you all of them. The only one that’s inconvenient is the one on the back of my leg, and it’s on a calf, so it’s still pretty easy to whip out.

But back to my point. In the US, if you own a car, it’s registered. If you are operating a car, you pass a basic operating exam. And you renew the registration every year, and you renew the operator’s license every few years. And if you’re operating a car, you carry liability insurance against the chance that you do something foolish and injure someone.

Now, let’s replace the word “car” with the word “gun.” There’s nothing about car ownership in the Constitution, because there weren’t cars when the document was written. But I’ve never heard anyone say that they felt there were governmental barriers to car ownership. I don’t see how this proposal for gun control really infringes on people’s ability to own a gun. You can still buy a dozen guns if you like, you just have to pay to have each one registered. Not a ton of money, but a percentage of the value of the firearm. Maybe 5%. Maybe 1%. Whatever, that’s math.

There should be some way to grandfather in existing gun owners so they wouldn’t have to register each gun they already own, but they would have to have a license to operate the guns they already own. And we’d have to pass an operator’s test. What happens if you flunk the test? I dunno, maybe your guns are confiscated for 30 days, until you re-take the test and pass. There are a lot of things to still be worked out, but even I, as an owner of multiple guns, think it’s too easy to get a gun right now.

I’m not going to bother with assault weapons, because most of the worst shootings aren’t done with assault weapons, but restricting magazine size to ten rounds is fine with me. Because if you can’t bring down anything you’re shooting at with ten rounds, you’ve got either bigger issues with your aim, or you’ve brought the wrong weapon to the boar-hunt.

So that’s my modest proposal. I expect a lot of people will hate it, but if you hate it, take a second and really think about it – if you’re a law-abiding gun owner (and several of my close friends are), what’s the real issue here? I’m not saying you can’t own whatever you want, I’m just saying that once every certain time period, you have to prove you’re competent to own a gun.

And don’t give me this BS about criminals will break whatever gun laws are put in place. I know that. But the people who have recently gone batshit and shot up schools and malls and movie theatres were otherwise law-abiding citizens who might have been stopped by a few barriers to entry to gun ownership.

Yes, you have the right to keep and bear arms. But you do not have the right to endanger others. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are considered inalienable and self-evident, and the document those rights are called out in is older than the AMENDMENT that gun ownership is guaranteed in. I love the Bill of Rights, and I love my guns, but I’m willing to jump through a few governmental hoops if it keeps one person alive that would have been killed by a gun in the wrong hands.

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10 thoughts on “Gun Control – A Modest Proposal

  1. I can see you’ve thought about this and tried to make sense out of an issue that is more about emotion than sense.

    The problem really is the slippery slope that plagues more than gun ownership. It is too easy to make a point with specific that may or may not apply to the true issue. While we talk about unintended consequences the bigger issue is that they are intended ones to many shadow groups that are pushing an agenda. I’m not talking conspiracy theory but the way things are done by both sides.

    It is like the tables; if you can’t bust them easy, you chip away and chip away until you’ve got the stack.

  2. Our mutual friend CK sent me a link to your post after I’d posted something similar. An item that I added that I’ve never heard anyone else mention is liability insurance. What if we required gun owners to carry liability, just as we do automobile owners? The insurance companies would be all over a new revenue stream and would then do their level best to ensure that they minimize their payouts by supporting safer gun ownership with their extremely deep pockets. They’d make an interesting counter to the NRA/gun lobby.

  3. John…I agree that it would be a step in the right direction. I am as conservative as the day is long and I believe in the right to bear arms( I myself have a Ruger 9mm, a .410 shotgun I received for my 12th birthday, and a .22 that belonged to my dad), however, I do believe that there should be restrictions regarding assault weapons. My biggest issue is this, this guy that committed this heinous act “acquired” these guns through alternative means(stolen from mother) and I don’t know how that can be prevented. Whether you’re a criminal or not, guns are readily available to most anyone, regardless of these restrictions. My wife & I tried to explain to our oldest girls that this coward could’ve came into this same classroom and killed each of these kids with his bare hands alone without the assistance of guns, knives, or whatever means available. The point is, no gun that is fully loaded, hammer cocked, and lying on a table undisturbed ever killed anyone, it’s the actions of the one that pulls the trigger. Friday morning there was a news story on one of the cable networks about being able to “print” out a disposable plastic gun using a 3D printer. Anyone with a little skill with machine tools can produce his/her own weapon with no traceable markings whatsoever. Paying a fee, getting a license, registering your gun is just another step honest people will have to do, although I’m not against it.

  4. John, interesting idea, but it fails to take into acount one little thing… the batshit crazy people who can’t get guns still want to kill. They’ll just use a different weapon. Why don’t we go back to locking crazy people up in institutions, so they can’t hurt anyone? Wouldn’t that be a saner approach?

  5. While I agree that we should address mental health and the mentally ill, I would way rather have a nut job with a knife go into a school and try to hurt people than a nutjob with a gun. For example, the man in China who stabbed 22 people this week. Some of those people are disfigured, and it is tragic, but they are all alive. It’s easier to live through a knife attack than a gun attack. But we need to address both issues, in my never-humble opinion.

  6. Hey Ernie, thanks for stopping by. I agree that this guy got his guns illegally, but it may be that his mother wouldn’t have had as many guns if there had been restrictions on their purchase. And you’re right, no loaded gun has ever killed anyone on its own (with the possible exception of the faulty safety on a Remington 700, but there’s a whole documentary about that issue, and it’s beside the point). But I think if we reduce the ease of access to weapons, and start to back away from the glorification of the gun that our culture engages in, we can begin to affect change. And we have to do something.

  7. Such insurance is already part of most people here’s coverage. Your renter/homeowner policy covers all judgements with possible specific riders which most don’t have such a specific. Would ins cos like another rev stream with double coverage the result? I am guessing yes.

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