Are we talking about crimes committed with guns, or are we talking about owning guns being a crime?
Pause for a deep breath: No one thinks it is OK–under any circumstances–to use a gun in a crime. Yes, using a gun makes the specific crime of murder easier than using a knife or a vehicle, and makes crimes in general, e.g., robbing a 7-11, easier.
Continuing the deep breath: No one, at least no one I know about, is advocating banning the private sale of all guns, and confiscating all existing guns. That’s right up there with deporting all illegals; both are logistically completely impossible. (Even if somehow that is what you actually wanted.)
We need to answer two question here:
- How do we keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally unstable and those who shouldnot own firearms while allowing others to own a reasonable amount of allowable firearms?
- What constitutes an “allowable” firearm?
The answer to No. 1 starts out easily: Dramatically increase the penalty for using a gun in a crime. Guns are a value-neutral tool; however, when used in crimes their value goes from neutral to darkly criminal. I added “darkly” because if stealing cash from a home is a crime, threatening a family with a firearm during the robbery is darkly criminal. And if you have ever had a loaded gun pointed in your direction in a threatening manner, you’d likely see it the same way. Conversely, when used in self defense, by a citizen or law enforcement, or by the military to protect us from an invading force, guns are not only good, but the only tool that could have saved us.
The answer to No. 1 continues in a very rational way. Implement background checks anytime a gun changes hands. Stop the mentally ill and those on the No-Fly list from purchasing guns. Put an upper limit on the number of guns a private citizen can own. I do not believe that arsenals were contemplated in the First Amendment. It was not the Founders’ intent for a single person to arm broad sections of the militia.
The answer to No. 2 is equally straightforward. Automatic (fires rapidly until empty with one trigger pull) weapons should continue to be banned. Semi-autos (requires a trigger pull for each discharge) should continue to be allowed. An AR-15 is semi-automatic, as is a Glock 19 pistol. Even modern revolvers (not considered to be semi-auto) can continue to fire until empty with each trigger pull. Banning firearms that require more than a trigger pull to fire until empty would unfairly and unnecessarily leave stable, law-abiding citizens with only single-shot pistols and bolt-action rifles.
The key to this week’s blog is finding effective ways to keep firearms away from the unstable and lawless, and to allow reasonable access to firearms to the stable and law abiding.
“Who needs an AR-15?” I get it that it is tempting to say, “Hey, who needs an AR-15, anyway?” This question in designed to produce one answer, “No one.” Try this one, ‘Hey, who needs a Lexus? Or a Mercedes?” Answer: No one. And what family of three needs a 3,000 sq. ft. home? Or who needs a flat screen TV? Let us never allow the government to limit us to what it things we need. We should always be allowed to have what we want, can afford and can deal with responsibly.
“But losing one life to gun violence is one too many!” Really? Does it seem that some folks are willing to take away the relatively easy-to-take guns–the ones owned by lawful citizens doing relatively little damage? Do you know anyone who is advocating for going into the gang neighborhoods and taking away those guns?
Training. This is not a limit on the First Amendment, but an extension. No one should be able to own a gun without extensive, documented initial training, and regular refreshers and practice. The training that states require to have a concealed carry permit is a joke. If that is all the training you have, you are more likely to harm yourself or a bystander than a bad guy. The word militia in the amendment implies a level of training. Remember: Every right comes with an equal–or greater–responsibility.
Let’s share thoughts on the Gun Crime topic, including expanding the conversation to include the thought that the Founders might have included the word “militia” to cover the possibility that an armed citizenry was the best defense against a tyrannical government. Yes, even here in America.
Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs