Miscellaneous Thoughts on Gun Control
As I have sat here thinking and reading over a number of very divergent sites, there is much heat on both the left and right but little thought on what can be done. We get talk about “Obama’s coming for our Gunz!” or about a renewed AWB that focuses on cosmetic “scary looking gunz!” at the expense of not being able to actually ban anything.
There are a number of conflicting issues.
1) Too many people being killed.
2) Bowers v. DeVito “…there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered.”
3) District of Columbia v. Heller & McDonald v. Chicago holding an individual’s right to self defense
4) “well regulated” language of the 2nd Amendment as shown via Militia Acts of 1792.
5) “From the oligarchy’s perspective, the people were thoroughly neutralized by the false sense of political empowerment that guns gave them. Guns don’t work in this country — they didn’t work for the Black Panthers or the Whiskey Rebellion, and they won’t work for you or me either.” Mark Ames, nsfwcorp.com
6) The National Firearms Act of 1934’s success in regulating full automatic weapons (only a small number ever used in crimes since then)
I’m more in favor of an expansion of the NFA to cover semi-automatic firearms - long gun or hand gun - that hold more than 10 rounds. The tax should be minimal (max $50) and while the CLEO should be notified he should not be allowed veto power. But you still have to fill out a ATF Form 1 and have your tax stamp in hand to take possession. Shotguns with more than 5 shot capacity should also be so regulated. Perhaps up to 10 years to get all previously owned qualifying firearms registered with no tax on them until they are transferred (aka sold to someone else). This would require all private sales of these firearms to go through an FFL as well.
This, I believe, would give us much the same benefit as the NFA has provided the nation in regulating full automatic weapons while minimizing constitutional issues (self defense per the SCOTUS) and lowering the impact on the responsible gun owners.
So this would require:
a) Create new class of regulated weapons: High Capacity Self Loading Firearms. Any semi-automatic firearm, long gun, shotgun or hand gun, would be part of the class. A capacity of greater than 10 rounds would be the definition of high capacity. Cosmetics (flash hider, stock style, etc) are irrelevant.
b) Require registration and possession of valid tax stamp before firearm can be possessed.
1) Tax must be kept minimal. Max of $50 if that.
2) CLEO must be informed of purchase and must maintain database of purchases but can not veto purchase.
c) 10 year grandfather registration period for previously owned firearms. No tax until fire arm is transferred. Possession of regulated firearms after that period would be subject to penalty and registration. No confiscation without other crime being involved.
d) All private transfers of the regulated firearms would be required to be conducted through FFL holder.
e) Private transfers of non-regulated firearms would not be required to be conducted through FFL but would be required to have the seller conduct a NICS check on the buyer who must present valid photo ID to the seller. Failure to comply would be good for 5yr/$5000 penalty.
Of course, this presupposes that there is sufficient political will to pass such an act.
If the current press for change fails, as it 90% probably will, then the Democratic party needs to make it a centerpiece of campaigns to change the majority in the House in the 2014 mid-term election and to use the same level of GOTV as in the last general election. If that were able to be successful, then actions such as these would be possible.
These thoughts are not meant to be the final say on anything. What I’d like them to be is a jumping off point for thinking about what is politically and legally possible in the current environment. I hope that if you have read this far you will take it in that spirit and continue the conversation in the comments.