Was a nation awash in guns what the framers of the Constitution intended? I am loath to speak for them, but if those who constructed our Constitution and Bill of Rights were alive today, I doubt they’d ratify the Second Amendment. If they did, they would surely seek to modernize it.
If they chose not to strengthen our current federal gun laws, then we would know they were not the sagacious, prescient, august and erudite intellects we’ve been taught to believe in. And if our constitutional rights are God-given, then the Lord did some sloppy work, considering that chattel slavery and the oppression of women were overlooked. To quote the late George Carlin, that doesn’t sound like divine planning to me.
It would take some time to realize the efficacy of these proposals, but I guarantee they will save lives (including those by suicide, which account for more than half of all firearm-related deaths), reduce injuries and restore some of the freedom from fears that a trip to the bank, the mall, a movie theater a supermarket, an outdoor festival or our workplaces and schools will be the last trip we ever take:
- A minimum age requirement of 21 to own any gun, long rifle and so on, with some reasonable exceptions, such as working in law enforcement, military service and inheritance exemptions (which would only cover certain types of guns, carefully stipulated by law);
- A national firearm registry, to assist law enforcement in criminal investigations;
- Mandatory record-keeping and reporting to federal databases by all states;
- All firearms sales include background checks performed by federally-licensed dealers;
- Background checks on ammunition sales;
- Annual Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives background checks, conducted by dealers;
- Reclassification of any firearm (handgun or rifle) that holds more than 10 rounds in a magazine; they will be subject to an excise tax at time of manufacture, with the funds collected from excise taxes used for gun violence studies and research and perhaps a federally-administered program of injury and liability insurance;
- Reduce magazine ammunition size on AR-15s and similar weapons from 30 rounds to 10 or fewer. Larger magazines should be regulated similar to the way fully automatic weapons are now, with buyers subject to lengthy, demanding (and entirely constitutional) background checks;
- Eliminate all “ghost gun” loopholes;
- Require mandatory permits for concealed carry in federal law; prohibit open carry.
The work of perfecting our Union has always been accompanied by struggle. We are now a nation held hostage by trauma entrepreneurs who wield and brandish firearms as weapons of holy war. Believe it or not, the vast majority of my fellow firearm owners will broadly agree that these reforms are necessary. I speak to them now: Like all of us, you have the right to remain silent; but now it is time to consider your duty to lead the change you wish to see.