Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Maybe it's time ...

I've been thinking about this for some time. Gun advocates worship the second amendment like it is their religion. Believe me, it is a false God. Jesus said live by the sword, you will die by the sword (paraphrased from Matthew, but it also appears in Revelation). Guns pervade American society, and people say the only protection is to have a gun of your own, like having an armed guard at Newtown. Unfortunately, if your opponent's gun is drawn, it is already too late for you. It would be better if there were no (or fewer) guns altogether.

Maybe it is time to repeal or limit the second amendment. It basically gives us the right to bear arms to protect ourselves from tyranny.  At this point, what could a single gun do against today's government, and what good have they done in the past? The Civil War cost thousands of lives. That was the only relevant conflict on home soil. Congress could do it. The states could do it, but neither will. Gun advocates say we should protect the Constitution, but this is an amendment, folks, not something that was put into the original document. There are three ways to amend the constitution. We can do it, and the Supreme Court can do nothing about it. Unfortunately, the political will isn't there. Our representatives have been bought by the gun lobby.

OK, what are the alternatives?

Yes, ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips. They aren't needed for hunting, and are too big to effectively protect you from a home invasion. Are you going to leave it loaded beside your bed? I hope your kids don't find it.

Yes, make background checks more thorough and mandatory. That will stop a few potential murderers. Require them for all sales or transfers of weapons.

Here is one thing that I think would be more effective: license guns the same way you license cars and trucks. License (and re-license) every weapon individually EVERY YEAR and through every transfer. Like cars and trucks, make the cost reflect the firepower of the weapon. A single load/single shot weapon would cost the least, up to semi-automatic hand guns which would cost the most (banning the powerful high capacity weapons altogether, or give them a punitively high license fee). That would discourage the ownership of multiple weapons and deter people from amassing an arsenal. It would also alert the authorities to those who do purchase more than a few weapons. Just like a vehicle, a person would have to carry the license for each weapon with them when they are carrying a weapon.

What does this do? As I said, it 1) deters people from purchasing multiple weapons. It also 2) helps the authorities keep track of the location of weapons. According to the Chief of Police in Chicago, that is the single most critical problem. They don't know when weapons change hands. Of course, criminals will still flout that law, but it does 3) make owners responsible for the location of their weapons and what is done with them. If you lose a weapon (or if it is stolen) and don't report it, YOU are an accessory to crimes that are perpetrated with it. As it stands, the responsibility is solely with the perpetrators of the crime. Of course, it should be that way, but the blame should reside with the irresponsible owner as well. Theoretically, the police should be able to trace every weapon through its licensed owner.

This simple change doesn't conflict with the second amendment at all, and it could be an additional revenue stream for the stressed federal budget. It is probably something that should be devolved to the states, but it wouldn't work as well. The ban on assault weapons doesn't conflict with the right to bear arms, only the type of arms.

You could also limit the sales of ammunition, but that would be difficult to enforce.

Why has no one proposed this? It seems to me like a simple effective answer.

No comments: