I’m not in favor of an across the board removal of guns. Sorry, but there are times and places. At the same time our fetishism and relative lack of control allows a great number of the deaths such as happened this past Friday. Oh, and I’d like to point out that those kids and adults who died in Connecticut were LESS THAN HALF of the people who died by gunfire that same day.
No, seriously, go stagger through a full news search. I found another 32 deaths by the time I quit looking. Suicides, gang-killings, some murders. 28 people in one place, 20 of them 6 and 7 year old children, just brought it into focus. We have a problem. We need to fix it. So…
1. that every firearm be registered, said registration to be maintained in a national database.
2. that the owner’s name and address of every firearm be maintained in the same national database.
3. that every owner be required to have a mental health evaluation every three years AND to pass a annual skills (use and maintenance) and knowledge certification process; that on failure any registered firearms are to be surrendered to a secure facility (which may be private) until such time as the owner passes the requirements or releases them (by owner or owner’s power of attorney or death) for sale or disposal.
4. that a registered owner with valid certification per (3) be allowed to carry, concealed or open as preferred, the registered firearm except in cases identified as being at high risk for accident or mental incompetence of owner or nearby others who might have access (schools, bars, sports games, courts, etc.) That authorization to carry in high risk sites require additional certification and restriction per individual state determination.
5. that individuals who are not owners may certify for use of firearms in the same manner as owners; that degree of liability for owners who allow people access or use of the owned firearms depends on whether the individuals had and presented their certification.
Yep. Every gun is registered and has an identified owner, and every owner passes both skill certification and mental health examination. If they do then by that basis they can carry. If they can’t then they cannot have firearms.
And number 5 has some hidden implications that perhaps need spelled out. If someone uses “your” weapon to commit a crime, if you didn’t have it in a gun safe, didn’t have a trigger lock, then you’re an accessory or accomplice. You didn’t lock it up and someone in your house uses it to commit suicide? You get manslaughter charges. If you teach your kids to shoot or have a shooting demonstration at a fire range you’re fine unless something happens – someone or something gets shot. Then you, the owner, carry some responsibility and liability for the damages.
Look, what happened in Connecticut probably would not have been stopped by any gun control measure short of absolute elimination. Essentially this person killed the owner of the weapons then stole them to go commit mass murder. The only difference from some models is that he lived there; he didn’t have to break in to commit the murder and theft.
At the same time arguing that more firearms, making the school a free fire zone, would not have worked. We all love those scenes in the movies where Our Hero(ine) shoots the bad guys and stops the carnage. But unless the teacher takes not just annual qualification but frequent training, the odds are as good he or she shoots the wrong person. And brings confusion for the responding officers. And gets shot by the bad guy, because it is HARD for most people to actually shoot someone. That’s not to mention the idiocy of having firearms in reach of dozens of grasping toddler and elementary school hands.
But here’s something in balance. Most of those 30+ OTHER deaths that happened Friday might have been prevented. Most by people not having access, some by potential victims being trained and having access.
Thus, I propose, at least as a starting point. We need to ensure that those with access are trained and stable. Though it galls those who fear the government, the only way to make such an assurance is to know who has the firearms. An unregistered weapon must become a major crime. An unregistered owner must become a major crime.
They must become well regulated.