The Freakonomics of Gun Control
All guns used to kill people in the U.S. were purchased legally at some time, though few of those guns are in the possession of their original owners at the time they kill. The problem that dwarfs the issues of assault rifles and terrorists is that all firearms may be transferred in America without detection or accountability.
I stumbled on this yesterday: The Freakonomics Of Gun Control
I would argue though, that the focus should be on the last legal owner, not the original owner.
Reading some of the comments it seems to me the same problem as always: anything that “requires we have a majority” even if it did get through can be reversed. A registration database will never happen.
I wrote this a while back. Thanks for the views and thoughtful comments.
Then I got sick for a while, then Orlando happened and then I was too mad to write. So my intended comprehensive followup got sidetracked. Meantime, we got to see, once again, the predictable reactions. And they were true to form, predictable.
Like the link in my first diary, the thinking in the above article is getting more creative and closer to solutions aimed at the real source of the problem. (Hint: it’s not weapons bans, clip limits, training, smart guns etc.) It is to identify only those who demonstrably do not control their weapons and so are freeriding on the 2A without any accountability for their individual lack of responsibility.
If you, the legal owner, don’t control your weapon, including sales or transfers, you must be held responsible for what it’s involved in. If not you, then who? We speak of the 2A as a “right”. It is not a right. It’s a limit on the power of the federal government. In any event, using the rhetorical vernacular, no right guarantees freedom from consequence and this one should be onerous because of the potentials and lethality if/when you unambiguously demonstrate recklessness.
In this diary I want to focus on just two points:
First some sort of no-fly list - call it what you want. If the government has the power to limit who can have a gun, ie felons and others, then every transfer or sale of any kind must be able to be vetted against this ‘list’ - otherwise the power to limit isn’t real. So access should be available to everyone because everyone has to have a way to know if they shouldn’t or can’t sell to person X.
Yes, there should be due process to get on, and mechanisms for review in case of errors. Verification access should be cheap or free. My preference is for a private system similar to credit reporting, though I’m not sure how that would work re sensitive, private information.
There should be no log or audit trail or permanent record of inquiries into the system. You print stuff out and you keep it.
Now here’s the radical twist. Using the list should be voluntary. Yup. Above I said “able to be vetted…by everyone” You don’t want to do a check, fine. Later on during an investigation, that information, as well as the rest of the facts and circumstances of your sale/transfer will be taken into account as to whether you were reasonable in your actions, or you were not and should be held accountable.
Second - no database or mandatory registration. For so many reasons, I think this will never, ever happen. And I think the costs and effort saved in not building and maintaining such a system can be more effectively used in determining the last legal owner in every investigation. It would take a little more legwork and can be relatively easily done.
Each investigation starts at the top and simply determines who each party sold / transferred the weapon to and under what circumstances. Similar principles, slightly different scenarios for manufacturers, dealers, and individual.
Start at the mfgr. To be off the hook they simply need to document what dealer (likely not individuals) they sold/shipped it to and how they delivered it. Was it reasonable, in the ordinary course of business, did it arrive?
The investigation moves on to the dealer. Again, who did you sell it to and how. New requirement - did you do a background check as above? Document your reasonable due diligence and the investigation moves on. If it turns out the buyer was barred and the dealer didn’t check or use reasonable measures to even determine that, then yes the dealer is responsible civilly, criminally, and probably should lose his license and individual 2A rights.
At the individual level it’s really the same as the dealer.
Protecting yourself by keeping proof is the price you pay for no government involvement, no databases, registries, bans, joining militias, redefining things in a non-historic way etc. Simply protect yourself in a reasonable way as you see fit.
You keep whatever records you think you’ll need later - a simple bill of sale and the no fly list prints something but keeps no log or permanent record.. That would be reasonable (to me).
While you have the RKBA. No one is obligated to sell to you if they can’t vet you, think they shouldn’t, or just don’t want to. And they can ask for any paperwork they want to protect themselves.