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Sensible firearm safety: a legislative blueprint

REUTERS/Jim Young
I offer this proposal as a starting point in an effort to provide meaningful legislation that addresses the gun violence epidemic.

The recent tragedy in Florida has once again resulted in public demand for legislative action in an effort to stop gun violence. In the spirit of offering solutions to the gun violence problem, I humbly submit the following legislative blueprint. I will note for the record that I am a gun owner in favor of action to prevent, to the extent possible under the Constitution, the irresponsible and violent misuse of firearms. My proposal draws upon ideas already under consideration in our country as well as laws and customs from other countries that have proven successful in limiting the violent use of firearms. This includes German Schützenvereinor Marksman’s Clubs, as well as aspects of the Australian licensure system. It is as follows: 

John P. Eidel

The Firearm Safety Act of 2018 

1. Licensure required for all firearms kept at home. (For waivers to this policy, see section five below). These licenses would require, at a minimum, a full background check with convictions for violent crimes, weapons convictions, misdemeanors involving domestic violence or assault, or a history of mental illness as disqualifying. All weapons under the license would be registered with state or federal authorities for tracking purposes. 

2. This license would require evidence that the holder has appropriate safeguards for the storage of weapons at home included under the license, to include safes, trigger locks, cabinets or other approved method. 

3. As a prerequisite for licensure, the applicant would demonstrate completion of a firearms safety course that includes not only the safe operation of the weapon but also proper storage, suicide prevention strategies, and the prevention of domestic violence. 

4. The holder of a license would need to provide, at the time of license application, evidence of liability insurance that covers the unlawful discharge of firearms under their ownership to include injury, death or damage to property. The licensed owner of any weapon would retain civil and criminal liability if that weapon is used unlawfully, whether by the owner or any other person. 

5. No weapon would be banned outright under this licensure regime; however, different weapon classes would have different levels of scrutiny applied in order to hold a particular license endorsement. The logistics and levels would be subject to debate, but .22 rimfire lever/bolt action rifles would be easier to obtain than a handgun which would be easier than an AR 15 type weapon, etc. AR 15 type weapons would have to be delivered to a gun club after purchase and stored there permanently for recreational use on premises. This is similar to our classifications of driver’s licenses, where a class C license is easier to obtain than a Commercial License. In the event of zombie apocalypse, invasion by Redcoats or other foreign adversary, or generally agreed upon government tyranny, you can take home the AR 15. All licensure requirements are waived if the owner of any firearm of any type stores their weapons permanently at a licensed gun club. See below.

6. The establishment of federally recognized gun clubs is created under this act. These clubs are licensed to provide ranges for the use of firearms, are authorized to sell and store firearms, provide training for licensure under provisions above, and are allowed to own and maintain for the use of its membership weapons not generally allowed by current federal law. Tanks, rocket propelled grenades, fully automatic weapons? Why not. License requirements would be rather strict, but not to the extent that the clubs could not operate at a considerable profit. 

7. All detachable magazines in excess of 10 rounds in capacity for weapons not kept at licensed gun clubs are banned. 

8. There would be a general amnesty for firearms to be bought back by local, state or federal authorities at a fair price for gun owners who would not qualify, do not wish to store weapons at a gun club or do not wish to apply for a license. This would be paid for using federal/state taxes on sales of weapons and ammunition and a surcharge on gun club memberships and insurance liability policies. 

9. Proof of licensure would be required for all sales of weapons unless directly transferred to or sold at a gun club per the gun club waiver outlined in section 6. Individual gun shops or private sellers would have no responsibility for running background checks as they would now be administered as part of the licensure process, but would be required to verify licensure via a state/federal database. All deal sheets would require the buyer’s state/federal license number, subject to audit and stiff felony charges for noncompliance. 

To be sure, the devil is in the details, particularly as it relates to the specific requirements under each level of license endorsement. I offer this proposal as a starting point in an effort to provide meaningful legislation that addresses the gun violence epidemic while also allowing the use of any weapon currently allowed under federal law.

John P. Eidel is a concerned citizen, father of two and gun owner who lives in Minneapolis. 

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Comments (36)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/22/2018 - 09:47 am.

    Thoughtful

    This strikes me, as its author intends, as a good starting point for devising a legislative policy to address the recent epidemic of mass shootings. It’s considerably more helpful (and thoughtful) than the Op-Ed screed by Chris Powell in this morning’s ‘Strib, which hews closely to the paranoid right wing delusion that John Eidel associates (correctly, I think) with the zombie apocalypse.

    A gun owner and shooter myself, I spent 30 years as a high school teacher and coach, and I’ve also been the first adult on the scene of a murdered student. It’s a traumatic experience, and as a result, I empathize with homicide detectives and first responders who have to deal with the consequences of individual and mass shootings. Video of kids running from their school is heart-wrenching enough, but I note that TV stations studiously avoid showing the general public the actual results of an AR-16 shooting spree.

    Throwing up our collective hands and doing nothing to address the problem because “it’s in the Constitution” is both unhelpful and intellectually dishonest. Slavery used to be in the Constitution, as well, and no one except diehard racists believes we should still have it. It’s worth pointing out that the Bill of RIghts, while commonly considered part of the document (I tend to do that myself) is not, in fact, part of the Constitution, but is a list of amendments made to the original document in order to get the 13 states to adopt it as a governmental framework. I don’t expect any real action on that front while I’m still alive, but, as John Eidel suggests, there ought to be a legislative solution that doesn’t prohibit gun ownership, or otherwise eliminate the 2nd Amendment, but that still finds a way to protect the public’s health and safety in a world very different from the days of flintlock muzzle-loading rifles and pistols that, on a good day, might fire 2 rounds a minute.

  2. Submitted by joe smith on 02/22/2018 - 11:28 am.

    I am all for sensible gun laws that can

    help keep everyone safe. There is a certain amount of responsibility that comes with owning a gun. Learning how to use your gun, how to safely store your gun, how to teach your children about gun use and safety. An expanded background check is fine with me. Any or all of Mr. Eidel’s ideas should be discussed, debated and ultimately agreed they would or wouldn’t help with our safety. But I’m not sure that implementing all of the steps Mr. Eidel has laid out would stop anybody from doing harm to others.
    I grew up with guns everywhere around my house and most of my friends houses, no one shot up their fellow students. For those of us who grew up in the country, there was a loaded 30/30 by the door to shoot coyote, wolf or any wild animal from harming our pets, no one shot their neighbor. In the 70’s you could bring your shotgun on a Northwest flight from Mpls to Pierre S. Dakota and put it in the bin above your seat, no one shot up the plane. Guns were everywhere up on the Range but nobody was shooting up random folks. What has happened to us as a Nation? Why are there more students shooting fellow students now than back when there was no background checks, you could buy ammo at gas stations and no one had a gun safe? Those questions need answering as much as we need Mr. Eidel’s ideas discussed. Somehow “the why” teenagers are shooting their fellow students has taken a back seat to “guns are bad” and anyone who tries to discuss the “why” is a NRA stooge.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 02/22/2018 - 03:10 pm.

      With all due respect, Joe…who cares?

      I graduated from high school in the mid 70’s. Yes, back then we had a .22, an old Winchester 30/30 and a Remington .870 shotgun in our house. I have no objection to anyone owning any of those weapons today…in fact, I own a few myself. What I do object to is a waltz down memory lane, wistfully pining away for the some mythical “good old days” when nothing bad ever happened. It’s a deflection from confronting the harsh reality that military grade weapons, made specifically to fire ammunition designed to inflict maximum damage on the bodies of any perceived enemy, are widely circulated an easily purchased. Couple that with extended magazine capacity, which allows a shooter to fire hundreds of rounds in minutes.
      THAT is the problem, and no amount of exploration into the social mindset of 45 years ago is going to change it, much less have any relevance in 2018.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 02/22/2018 - 06:23 pm.

        We should all care.

        Are you saying that military grade guns somehow make teenagers shoot their classmates? As I stated what changed with our children? You would have to be blind to not see the change in our society but asking what happened is not as easy as shouting “ban guns”. Have you just accepted that children in the past 50 years (with it being harder to get guns now) are more violent? I and many others know it is not gun which is the problem, it is the person pulling the trigger that is the problem. To solve the real issue it takes a discussion, a hard look at our society and changes in how we raise our kids…… Much easier to yell ban guns!!!

        • Submitted by ian wade on 02/23/2018 - 01:55 pm.

          No, it’s much harder.

          Calling for stricter measures actually takes courage. Throwing up your hands and finding ways to ignore the problem by indulging in misplaced nostalgia doesn’t. By the way, as for your claim that nothing bad ever happened back in the “good old days…”

          http://k12academics.com/school-shootings/history-school-shootings-united-states

          • Submitted by joe smith on 02/23/2018 - 08:10 pm.

            There were 4 shootings

            Were multiple people were killed in a school setting from 1940-1986. 3 of them were colllege campuses, I in Mesa AZ that was a high school. BTW, saying get rid of guns, guns are bad, blame NRA is lazy. Sounds good but does nothing to get to the root cause of why we have 4 school shootings in 46 years from 1940-86 and now seem to have one a month.
            You have to ask yourself is it the guns or it is a breakdown of our moral culture here?

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/23/2018 - 11:50 pm.

              Well if you’re asking

              US population circa 1940 approx 122 million.
              US population circa 1980 approx 226 million
              US population circa 2018 approx 330 million

              Percentage of pretax income 1944- roughly 1980
              Top 1% Approx 12%
              Bottom 90% Approx 68%

              Percentage of pretax income roughly 1989 to present
              Top 1% Approx 23% and climbing
              Bottom 90% 49% and falling

              Wage stagnation leads to family instability leads to troubled kids.

              Wage stagnation leads to troubled kids unable to access the help they need due to a lack of family resources

              Wage stagnation coupled with Conservative governance leads to troubled kids, without access to the help they need due to a lack of family resources, finding themselves unable to get the help they need from public resources that do not exist due to a lack of Conservative desire to fund said resources.

              Conservative desire for unfettered access to firearms creates a society awash in weapons.

              Troubled children, abandoned by the economic and political realities of the world in which they reside, use their easy access to guns to commit heinous acts of violence against themselves and their fellows. Conservative governance offers continued thoughts and prayers, while claiming utter ignorance as to the underlying source of the increase in violence over the last 40 years of their preferred economic ideology’s dominance.

              Any further questions?

            • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/27/2018 - 04:03 pm.

              Well…

              So you’re saying the moral culture in England, Australia, Switzerland, and 36 more countries is vastly superior to what we have in this country? Sorry, our’s is not substantially different: it is the guns…

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 02/22/2018 - 03:35 pm.

      Perspective

      First, keeping a loaded 30-30 around is foolish and negligent. Are you actually proud of that? Consider yourself and your family lucky. I say this as a former military, a hunter and a gun owner. You aren’t better because nobody got shot up. You’re just lucky.

      Second, I see no reference to a loaded AR-15 with a high capacity magazine and a bump stock. That’s quite different from a 30-30 and you know it.

      Third, it’s hardly just teenagers shooting their fellow students as in Florida. The Las Vegas shooter was not a teenager.

      Assault weapons are for killing people, not varmints. That’s the “why”. We’ve given them the tools for mass murder.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 02/23/2018 - 07:18 pm.

        REJECT WN: O/T AND ???? Marc, thank you for your service.

        It wasn’t lucky that we didn’t shoot each other with our gun by the door, it was following a family rule that you don’t touch that particular gun unless you were going to use it.. Simple rule, followed by all. As far as assault rifles versus a shotgun in a school shooting scenario, unfortunately, multiple children get killed by either. It isn’t the gun doing the killing it’s the person pulling whatever trigger he has in his hands doing the killing.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/25/2018 - 09:28 am.

          Your logic

          Is way to simplistic: Here is the way the logic comes across: If it worked for me as a WASP in shared values, shared culture, card carrying union worker,, secure job, church going small town Minnesota back in the 1950’s–60’s it should work in every other place of America, is that a correct analysis? Problems with that logic: 1, it isn’t working, 2. As noted above it isn’t the 50’s and the 60’s anymore than the 1850’s, different times, different cultures, different values. 3. The big cites (where the work is) are far more diversified, race, religion, culture, values, and it continues to move to rural America, 4, Didn’t have much of a drug, or internet communications culture back in the 50’s-60’s or such a gun culture, unless you were a hunter. The key point is you can’t turn what we have today into what we had then. A bad dream, we had low to no civil rights for non-white folks back in those great 50’s and 60’s not a good time for nonwhites. I have a certificate from 1964 of membership in the NRA a 13 year old, I was proud to be a member, it was a sign of transition to manhood, learning to shoot straight, And I agree with you, my father signed me up, I did not volunteer, it was culture to insure I was prepared to get carted off to war and fight for my country, which I did 6 years later. But one thing is also clear, in those days the NRA was about safety, shooting straight, and protecting our country, ” a ‘well regulated militia”, the reason it was originally founded, Now the NRA is about protecting the profits of arms manufacturers, and making, twisted, illogical, and dangerous arguments to that goal, They care “not 1 wit” about the lives they destroy in achieving those goals. When does our right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness become more important than the 2nd amendment? The laws of probability tell us the more guns in the environment the greater the chance that someone will get shot, and that my friend hasn’t change since the 50’s and 60’s.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/22/2018 - 01:10 pm.

    Problematic

    It looks to me like this would require that everyone who currently has a gun would have obtain a license for the guns they’ve had in their homes for decades or generations. I think THAT would meet overwhelming resistance.

    This might a prohibitively complex regime. How much does this license cost? Why do I suddenly need a license for my grandad’s double barrel shotgun? And by the way how are you going to get me take out that license for my grandad’s shotgun? What’s the penalty for not having a license? The multi-level requirements for different types of guns adds even more complexity. Basically this could be characterized a backdoor gun registration scheme. Is this a one-time license or does it have to be renewed every year? And of course just because one member of a family or a particular buyer has a license doesn’t mean no one else has access to the gun.

    I just think trying regulate what people already have in their homes like large capacity magazines, and what not, could be a nonstarter. I think in reality the guy with grandad’s shotgun is just gonna say: “Get bent, I’m not getting license and I’m sure as not selling you my grandad’s shotgun, it’s gonna stay right where it is thank you very much”. And I think the guy with an AR-15 they bought ten years ago is gonna say the same thing.

    I actually think it would easier to implement a straight-up ban on the sale of assault weapons to everyone except a small number of authorized buyers. A ban is actually simple, it targets new sales rather than existing ownership, and leaves grandad’s shotgun alone.

    The mulit layer qualification scheme is also problematic. What exactly is the difference between a license for a revolver and one for an AR-15? What are we talking about? Additional background checks, psychological evaluations? Medical history? I think in practice by the time the lobbyists and Republican legislators got done with this there would actually little if any real difference between the various licenses, and I’m not suggesting they would be uniformly strict.

    And of course the most obvious problem is the person who qualifies for a license today can get fired next month and become the next mass shooter. We still have no idea why that guy opened fire in Las Vegas but he certainly would have qualified for a license. A license is snapshot based requirement at given moment in time in someone’s life. A guy that is Okie dokie in May is the guy who kills his wife in Sept. when she decides to divorce him.

    I like the idea of gun club ownership and regulation and have suggested a similar idea myself. The truth is that these assault weapons are by and large impractical and dangerous for self defense or hunting, but let’s face it… they’re a hoot shoot. So let people shoot them in the relative safety of a range on gun club property.

    I just think there’s too many people with too many guns to retroactively apply a full licensing regime on all guns. We could target certain types of guns maybe, like assault rifles and handguns, but we’d still be building holes into our firewall because I think the majority of our shooters would/could have gotten a license or used a gun that someone else with license had gotten.

    Documentation schemes just may not get us there. For instance the conceal and carry license requirement hasn’t decreased gun violence in any measurable way, but it did create a cottage industry of licensure classes and instructors. That could be the primary result of this kind of license regime.

  4. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 02/22/2018 - 01:33 pm.

    Licensing Is Fine But Not Enough

    It seems that it would be much simpler to fix the real problem by prohibiting the sale and possession of a category of firearms commonly called “assault type rifles” and high velocity ammunition used in those firearms. Sporting weapons are not an issue here. The U.S. has long prohibited the sale of certain automatic weapons and “sawed-off” or short barreled shotguns and regulating the types of firearms and ammunition private citizens may possess does not violate any 2nd Amendment right.

    • Submitted by David Markle on 02/22/2018 - 03:38 pm.

      Simple and to the point

      As one who owns several long guns (formerly my father’s) and who shot “expert” in the army with both rifle and carbine, I completely agree with Mr. Bernstein.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/23/2018 - 02:59 pm.

    A great step forward

    Very well done, and nice sense of humor “zombie apocalypse”, folks we got to start somewhere because now we are nowhere! Do we have to worry about grandpas shot gun on day 1? You know if they would have approached the constitution and the bill of rights the same way, we probably would still be at “We the people”! No silver bullets except in lone ranger and werewolf movies! Have a little faith that our kids will make smart and hopefully smarter decisions than us! Given what we have seen lately, they are doing GREAT, and I for one am proud of them!

  6. Submitted by John Appelen on 02/23/2018 - 10:29 pm.

    Oh Canada

    After some review it looks like Canada and Switzerland have this pretty well figured out. However after years of discussing this with both sides, I don’t hold out much hope that improvements will come soon. I hope I am incorrect.

    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/12/04/news/how-american-gun-deaths-and-gun-laws-compare-canadas

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21379912

  7. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/26/2018 - 02:38 pm.

    Pop, pop, pop

    That would be the heads of NRA types exploding at the thought of almost any of this. And I do agree with almost all of what is described. It seems that we really let the cat out of the bag when the Brady Bill lapsed. These 25-100 round clips were just not around in great quantities pre Brady and proliferated mightily post Brady. Restricting these to gun clubs is a great way to sensibly manage the problem.

    Violations should result in loss of privileges. Keep those 100 round clips hidden in your possession after the law goes into effect and you are caught: everything must be at the gun club.

    And what do we call these gun clubs?

    I would offer:

    “Well regulated militia” as in:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

  8. Submitted by Gary Fischbach on 02/26/2018 - 03:41 pm.

    1. All guns registered by state or federal authorities. Even the gangster’s guns?
    2. Does the government come into my home to make sure they are stored properly? Even the gangster’s homes?
    3. Who pays for all this training and certification?
    4. Will the gang members make sure their members have the proper insurance?
    5. Wow, who makes and enforces those decisions?
    6. Only shooting at government licensed clubs? No shooting at the farm?
    7. So what happens to the millions of higher round magazines already in circulation?
    8. And what happens when you don’t “sell back” or keep your gun at an official government approved space? Does the government come and get them?
    9. Will the gangs abide by this?

    All of these would require a MASSIVE expenditure for more government. More police, more data base management, and people to forcefully make you compliant.

    How about we spend all that money on the people who really need our help, like the mentally ill and people trying to get out of gangs?

    Do you want Donald Trump’s government taking away your arms?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/26/2018 - 04:08 pm.

      Yes…

      You’re right. Let’s just keep on having our schools shot up. To do anything else will be way too difficult and inconvenient.

      Every other country that does the things described in the article does not have the problems we have. I agree we have allowed this untenable situation to flourish and reversing the trend will be impossible in the short term; but, what about tens of years from now? Tough laws now will have effect over time.

      Let’s just come to grips with the simple fact that the Second Amendment is a quirk of the times it was written in. Not unlike the Third Amendment:

      “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

      “Honey, who are these guys in uniform sleeping in the basement?”

      If interested parties could monetize the Third Amendment like they have the Second it would get a little more respect…

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/27/2018 - 09:35 am.

      Damn!

      And here I thought we could kill two birds with one document. Not only could we get some reasonable control of gun ownership… but we’d wipe out the “gangs” as well! I guess there are limits to what a piece of paper can do eh? Who knew?

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/27/2018 - 09:33 am.

    Have we had enough of these specious arguments?

    The most obvious fact about all of these arguments against gun control is that they are all transparently ignorant or irrational. The real question isn’t: “How do we defeat these arguments?” the real question is how did these specious arguments gain so much traction in the first place?

    My answer is: “Centrism”. Centrism accommodates irrational actors by pretending we need their permission to make policy or solve problems. It empowers specious arguments by pretending we have to consider them before we can act. This is always been nonsense. We live in a democracy, majorities win votes, and those the majorities elect are supposed to represent those voters. Centrism stalls that process by telling us that even if we have the votes, we can’t proceed unless EVERYONE signs on. Even when you have the votes, the information, reason, logic, and facts, you can’t proceed unless you have the permission from the opposition. If you proceed without that permission you’re being too radical.

    This is how we end up in a situation where despite clear majorities that support a variety of effective gun control measures… gun control measures have been blocked and even rolled back by an irrational minority.

    I think we have to stop pretending we need to win an argument, there is no legitimate argument. We just need to win elections and make those we elect respect the will of the people.

  10. Submitted by Barry Tungseth on 02/28/2018 - 08:21 am.

    No thanks

    It is the start of heading down the slippery slope to final gun elimination. Once a government policy like the one written here is enacted, the law makers can and will, be able to revise conditions [example; gas tax] of any ownership what so ever. No thanks, I do not trust the government and our so called elected officials as it is. Stay out of my gun collection. None of your damn business.

    If you really believe this would stop a criminal for getting a firearm, you have your head in the sand. Do you think they are going to look at each other and say, “now what? We can`t get a gun because none of us will pass the conditions required”? Get real. What it really does is start the disarming of the rest of us. A locked up and empty unloaded gun is no good what so ever in the case of a normal assault within a home by a criminal, who sure isn`t about to ring your doorbell and shake your hand as they come in. Where is the highest crime rates involving firearms? In the places with the strictest gun control laws.

    I`ll remained armed………….and ready.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/28/2018 - 09:08 am.

      Collections

      Can you really think of any good reason for US Citizens to have this in their gun collection? And please note that this is “without a bump stock”…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RdAhTxyP64

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSizVpfqFtw

      And as I asked my readers…

      “The first thing to do is to make our schools secure, since the mess we have created will take a long time to fix.

      Of course that still leaves people as sitting targets when they attend concerts, go to county fairs, go to church, are leaving school, etc… 🙁

      And by people I mean our children, our Parents, our siblings, etc.

      Now for you Dirty Harry’s out there… With a guy bump firing into your family reunion from cover…

      How many family members do you think could be killed before anyone can take him out?

      The big question to me is… Is that occasional thrill really worth the lives of children, women and men who are killed when they get into the wrong persons hands? Because the ultimate reality is that no one in the USA would be murdered by an “assault weapon” if they were not present and readily available in our society.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/28/2018 - 11:00 am.

        Immediate effects

        An effective assault rifle sales ban might have a much more immediate effect on mass shootings than we might at first expect. Yes, there are already a lot of these guns out there, but the NRA is actually correct when they point out the fact that the majority of those owners are law abiding, and 99.9% of THOSE guns will never be used to commit a crime or attack a crowd or school. If you look at the actual profile of these attackers, by and large most of them purchased their guns in a relatively short period of time before the attack. Future attackers could be expected to follow the same pattern. A sales ban could produce a dramatic effect within a year or two. Had we implemented a sales ban two years ago many of the recent attackers could not have obtained their assault rifles for instance. No other single intervention would be as effective at reducing these attacks.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/28/2018 - 09:25 am.

      Slippery slope arguments

      By definition slippery-slope arguments are not only irrational, but literally logical fallacies. It’s like saying that requiring drivers licenses is the first step towards getting rid of cars and trucks, or having building codes is the first step towards getting rid of buildings, or regulating fishing and hunting is the first step towards abolishing fishing and hunting. It’s a logical non sequitur.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 02/28/2018 - 03:16 pm.

      I must be horrible

      to live your life in such fear. This meme that any regulation is the first step to confiscation is nothing but hyperbole. I’m an owner of multiple weapons and don’t have the slightest fear that the ATF will be knocking on my door to confiscate my firearms. It’s ludicrous..

  11. Submitted by John Appelen on 02/28/2018 - 03:05 pm.

    Sensible

    Here are the sensible things I have been promoting:
    For convenience… My list of simple improvements that still allow people to own their guns.

    – Limiting clip sizes to 15 or fewer bullets

    – Banning modifications that enable semi-automatic weapons to perform as an automatic

    – Mandatory back ground checks for every gun purchase or transfer. Eliminate gun show / internet sales loop hole

    – Mandatory confiscation of guns from people with anger issues / restraining orders

    – A national database to track who has loss their right to own a gun (ie felony, mental illness, restraining order, etc) Improve State and Agency reporting.

    – Mandatory Gun Registration (especially for hand guns and semi-automatic rifles)

    – Severe penalties for ANYONE holding a gun that is NOT registered, that should be.

    – Allow law suits against people who allow their guns to be stolen, especially if they have not reported the theft.

    Issues.
    The question is what to do about those millions of 15+ bullet cartridges we have allowed to flood our country?

    And what to do about the fact that AR15 type weapons can be bump fired without a modification?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/01/2018 - 08:42 am.

      Just a little feedback

      Clean up the terminology. Cartridges are the “bullets”. Clips are a form of magazine that contain the cartridges, clips are exchangeable magazine, as apposed to other types of magazines that are built into the gun, like a revolver for instance.

      When we talk about high capacity magazine, we’re talking about clips. Limiting magazine to 15 rounds is insufficient. In practice you would rarely load a full 20 rounds into a 20 round clip anyways because it compresses the spring all the way and can cause problems. Beyond that, 15 rounds is still a lot of rounds, a limit of 8 or less would be more effective.

      Modifications that convert semi automatic weapons into full automatic weapons are already illegal.

      Confiscation laws aren’t a bad idea, but making them “mandatory” makes them unnecessarily problematic.

      Law suits against those who “allow” their guns to be stolen are legally incoherent. If you let someone take something, it’s not theft. If someone takes something without your permission or knowledge, it’s theft, but you can’t be said to have “allowed” them to be taken; nor can you be held liable for whatever they do with those stolen items. My guess is that this is a backdoor scheme to make gun owners “responsible” for securing their weapons but it’s probably unconstitutional, and ends up targeting the wrong people for additional and unnecessary prosecution.

      We probably don’t have to go out and retrieve all the high capacity magazines already in circulation because the vast majority of those magazines won’t be used in a crime or an attack of any kind. What we can do is ban the sale or transfer of those magazine from anyone to anyone. If we combine a sale/transfer ban with a buy-back program we would effectively prevent potential attackers from acquiring high capacity magazines and provide a mechanism for reducing the number of existing magazine in civilian hands.

      A bump stock IS a modification. We can just ban bump stocks.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/01/2018 - 09:19 am.

        I would think

        A retroactive punishment for guns stolen that were unsecured could be doable. There is no mandate persay to secure your firearms in a gun safe for example, but if they ARE stolen or used accidentally etc… you’d need to provide evidence that reasonable measures were taken to secure them to avoid a penalty. Penalty could something as slight as deferred priorty in investigation to more severe penalties for more egregious situations.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/01/2018 - 09:25 am.

        Or conversely

        Make gun safe use mandatory, with enforcement taking place only in situations that demand it, In the cases of theft or accidental use. A good analogy would be seat belt laws, at least in their traditional application.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/01/2018 - 11:41 am.

          Here are the problems with the stolen gun liability idea

          1) We can talk about securing guns only so long as the method of security doesn’t render the gun useless for self defense. In other words, REQUIRING ALL guns be kept in a locked safe of some kind basically renders them useless for home defense. Should one be confronted by an intruder, having a gun locked in a box doesn’t do you any good. You can laugh but we actually have a SCOTUS ruling (DC v. Heller) that establishes this fact.

          2) The definition of “reasonable” precautions and their enforcement is much more problematic than proponents assume. For instance, let’s say grandad’s old double barreled shotgun is on display over the fireplace. Are we gonna make a law declaring that a person in their own home can’t display a family heirloom? Are going to require that they somehow damage that gun so it can’t be taken out and fired? And it that gun gets stolen, we’re going charge them with a crime for having it on display in the first place? Is THAT reasonable?

          3) Enforcement is problematic on two fronts. First, proving in court that someone didn’t take the precautions they should have taken and intentionally failed to take those precautions isn’t a walk in the park. Second, this always an after the fact intervention unless someone is going to inspect gun owners homes on a regular basis.

          4) This is obviously a rather transparent effort to simply make gun ownership more expensive, it only makes guns “safer” to the extent that owners take on that additional financial burden, most of them will not.

          5) This is really just dancing around idea of some kind of liability insurance, which ends up restricting guns to affluent owners who can afford it, but it doesn’t really keep guns out of dangerous peoples hands. The owners themselves are the most likely persons to commit crimes with their guns.

          6) I think we’re wasting resources when we prosecute people who haven’t really committed a crime. Let’s stay focused on the shooters and keep guns out of their hands. I don’t think any of the guns used in the massacres over the last several decades were stolen weapons.

          7) We could wrap all of this into a licensing regime, and we could target that regime at assault rifles. But the focus should be on controlling who gets the guns, not on who has their guns stolen.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/01/2018 - 05:21 pm.

            I think its less complex than that

            Many of these same ideas are in place with regards to accidental discharge. I think you’re looking too punitively at what is essentially codifiying into law what is generally agreed upon as best practices by “responsible” gun owners. As to the self defense piece, sure, I can see carving out exceptions with reasonable limitations that can satisfy both arguements. Having a gun in a reasonably secure area in one’s immediate control is far different than loaded firearm behind every door, and under every bed. Can someone make the argument, sure, but I don’t think its a winner. Again the model here is one of negligence, I would argue that leaving firearms exposed in such a manner that they are easily stolen qualifies as negligent behavior. There is no need for door to door inspections as this would be an secondary violation, again, akin to seat belts. Liability insurance is a non starter as it would require registry, but I would add severe penalties for those who neglect to report stolen guns used in crimes, discoverable by conventional means.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/01/2018 - 11:25 am.

        Bump Stocks

        Unfortunately AR15 style guns can be “bump fired” without a bump stock… So all this frustration over bump stocks may be somewhat pointless.
        http://give2attain.blogspot.com/2018/02/assault-weapon-trade-off.html

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/01/2018 - 03:19 pm.

          That’s why the ban

          Yes, many of these intermediate measures fail in a variety ways for a variety of reasons. That’s why simply banning sales of guns that can be “bump fired” ends up being the best option if you want to stop people bump firing into crowds of people.

  12. Submitted by John Eidel on 03/01/2018 - 11:35 am.

    My piece

    I would like to thank those of you who have commented on my article, and I think that many of you have done a good job of poking various holes in my argument. I would like to address a couple of issues, particularly some of the objections raised by Paul Udstrand on 2/22. First of all, this regime would clearly raise a lot of resistance. This is true of literally any proposed gun control measure, from raising the legal age for purchase to banning AR-15 type rifles to banning bump stocks. The NRA and its allies have done an excellent job of equating any measures that restrict the sale or transfer of any type of firearm as an all out assault on the constitution. Any comprehensive fix to our gun violence problem, whether my own or any other, will need to overcome tremendous, well-organized opposition. I have attempted to provide a framework where any weapon may still be used, albeit one with major restrictions on the use of certain types of weapons.

    Mr. Udstrand raises a great point on the licensure of traditional and likely handed down hunting weapons. I personally own my grandpa’s .30-06 elk rifle as well as the semi-automatic .22 that he and I used to hunt gophers on his Montana cattle ranch when I was a kid. I am not so concerned about these weapons or even large caliber revolvers as I am with semi-automatic handguns and AR-15 type weapons, and would be open to grandfathering certain weapons with licensure required for all new purchases of any weapon as well as any weapon not grandfathered by law. To my mind, licensure allows for several beneficial outcomes. First, weapons are registered and can be tracked. This allows for meaningful research by those studying patterns of gun violence from a public health perspective and allows law enforcement to better investigate weapons trafficking among other benefits. Second, it ensures that a certain level of training has been achieved. We could maybe allow a hunter’s safety certification as the only necessary training for lower-level weapons with additional training required for more dangerous weapons. Third, it vastly simplifies the background check process. I am very much in favor of strengthening and centralizing this process as well as closing any loopholes that allow shady weapons sales to occur legally. It has never been explained to my satisfaction how a background check is supposed to work when private sellers sell weapons to private buyers. Is there a list of approved vendors, how long does this process take, etc. If a background check happens as part of the licensure process it is moot. You put the license number on the deal sheet or whatever required document and it’s done.

    I would also like to add that I think the proof of insurance part of this is crucial, whether it is a rider on an existing homeowner’s policy or a standalone liability policy. If this is strong enough, the safe storage and operation of weapons would largely be self-enforced. It also introduces an element of the market to the accumulation of weapons. If you want that basement weapons bunker, you will be paying for the risk associated with the potential negative externalities of that choice.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/01/2018 - 03:13 pm.

      Thanks for article Mr. Eidel.

      We may have slightly different ideas, but it’s time to make our elected officials put them on the table. Ban’s and licensing regimes would meet resistance, but I seriously think that “resistance” may be exaggerated. Once we hit that tipping point and our representatives have no choice but to put these proposals on table, this might not be a difficult as we tend to suppose. We may be entering an era where corporate interests are losing the capacity to control popular legislation. I’d support a license regime if emerged as legislation. And I wouldn’t be opposed to a combination of a license regime AND an assault rifle ban.

      Good luck to us all.

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