We’ve heard about what the Democrats want in terms of new gun control laws ad nauseum. And to be honest, I’m not that impressed. In fact the proposals – whether in Congress or individual states – show a fundamental lack of understanding of these things called “facts” and “studies” and that old document knows as the Constitution. But for those who understand and support the Second Amendment, what, if anything, is on their wish list of gun control legislation? Well, here’s my list of changes that can work and might have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing . . .
1. Legalize Marijuana
I worked for a while as a contractor for DHS doing risk analysis for terrorism and transnational crime which includes drug importation. And based on my experience, I can’t see a single damned reason why marijuana needs to be criminalized. In fact, based on my experience the legalization of marijuana would reduce crime and drug-related violence. After all, a large majority of “gun violence” is drug-related and going after the underlying cause of that makes more sense than going after the implements used to facilitate those crimes. And, if legalized, the Linux techs at my day job would be able to light up without fear of prosecution.
2. Improved Background Checks
Didn’t expect that one, did you?
I’ve always said that my personal belief is that fundamental rights are fundamental and not to be infringed . . . right up until you’ve proven that you can’t be trusted with those rights. And part of that belief is that background checks should be an effective means to filter out violent felons and others who have proven that they can’t be trusted with firearms.
By “improved” I mean increased funding for the NICS system to allow it to process more applications more quickly. And making sure the current information requested by the FBI from the states is actually being included in the database.
Part of that improvement is also removing some of the more laughable restrictions. Like habitual illegal drug use, since just because you use illegal drugs doesn’t automatically make you a violent criminal. In fact I’m pretty sure most people on drugs are incapable of maintaining a patent airway much less stabbing me, a concept I base on my years as an EMT.
Another part of improving the NICS system is giving people a clear and simple mechanism for the complete restoration of their firearms rights and getting off the list permanently. If an impartial judge or panel of some sort says you’re not a threat, you should have all rights and privileges immediately restored. Even domestic violence charges or restraining orders should be able to be expunged as far as NICS is concerned – I know way too many people that have had some terrible divorces who now can’t own guns because of trumped up charges that their ex-wives made up to get their money. In short, no matter what its been said you have done, it shouldn’t be permanent.
While improved background checks are something I would support, mandatory background checks for face to face sales are NOT. The commerce clause of the constitution doesn’t extend that far, so I object on a Constitutional basis. But even further than that, I have serious issues with how such a thing would be implemented.
Would you require going through an FFL, which would be a backdoor registry? What about a phone system – how do you keep anyone and everyone from abusing it and running a NCIS check on your mailman? Right now, it just seems wide open for abuse and not possible to implement in a way that wouldn’t stretch the constitution to the breaking point.
3. Tighter Penalties for Straw Purchasers
Hand in hand with background checks is making it a more serious offense to buy a gun for someone you know is a criminal and unable to purchase a gun on their own. According to a recent DOJ memo, something like 45%+ of guns used in crime are straw purchases, so cutting off that flow with higher (and federal) penalties is something I can get behind.
If you knowingly provide a gun to a criminal, you should not only be charged as an accomplice but also charged with every crime they commit — in the same way that any death as a result of the commission of a felony is considered murder (even if it’s your partner who was shot by a homeowner), the people that supply the guns should be held accountable.
4. Enforce of Existing Laws
It’s hard to support any new gun control laws when existing laws aren’t even being enforced. Straw purchasing doesn’t carry as terrible a punishment as it should. And while drug possession is treated as if you just stabbed the president’s dog, illegal gun possession by a prohibited person doesn’t seem to warrant the same response.
The criminal code of the United States is already confusing enough. It doesn’t make sense to add still more confusing laws that only impact law abiding citizens before enforcing those we already have.
5. Silencers should only require a NICS check, not NFA registration
Silencers are virtually never used in the commission of a crime, legal silencers even more rarely. Suppressors are safety devices that should be available in every gun store and offered as an accessory to every firearm. This is one of the things that England actually managed to get right, and I’m surprised that the same people that idolize their firearms policies over here don’t latch onto this one as well.
I’m actually of the opinion that the entire National Firearms Act needs to be scaled back, but one thing at a time. I like being able to play the violin. I like my perfect pitch just the way it is. And gun ranges aren’t helping any right now.
6. NFA Branch at ATF should keep all its revenue . . . and hire more people
Right now, that $200 you send along with the ATF NFA paperwork doesn’t go to the ATF — it goes to the general fund pool. And then the ATF has to beg Congress for funding. At this point the 6 – 9 month wait for NFA items is a bigger roadblock for people than the $200 sin tax on the items themselves, which makes no sense. If you send in money that’s ostensibly to fund the system, it should actually go to fund the system.
Then again, the NFA is most definitely unconstitutional and should be abolished, but thanks to a crappy case before the Supreme Court it has passed scrutiny. So it’s a terrible fact of life right now.
7. The ATF should be rolled into the FBI
There’s an awful lot of redundancy in the U.S. government. It can do with a bit of streamlining and the ATF is one of those areas. Since the FBI is the federal organization in charge of fighting crime in the United States, it makes sense to concentrate those efforts into a single entity that can do that as efficiently and cheaply as possible. Aren’t we looking for ways to save money these days?
8. National Concealed Carry
I’m not opposed to concealed carry permits. Tyler keeps trying to get me on the side of constitutional carry, and while I understand the argument, I disagree. If the right to “keep” arms can be subject to background checks then the right to “bear” them can be subject to no more or less scrutiny.
When you’re on your own property I don’t care if you have a permit or not, but when you venture out into public, I believe that the need for public safety is high enough to warrant some verification. Verification, not hoop jumping. What I’m opposed to are onerous requirements and “may issue” states.
A simple background check is all that should be required to get a permit anywhere in the nation that’s good for use everywhere in the nation, like how Pennsylvania does it right now. It should be the same standard across the nation, with full reciprocity and national preemption. My right to bear arms shouldn’t depend on how nice the local attorney general is feeling.
These are some concrete, er, common sense proposals that would keep more guns out of the hands of criminals as well as reducing violent crime while not infringing on the civil rights of citizens. In the opinion of this Democrat, at least.