December 15, 2012

What gun laws would you enact?

I'm pretty sure that nobody who contributes to this blog hasn't shot a gun, and most have owned them. I'm also pretty sure we all think we need more gun control. But I'm curious: if you had a free hand, what laws would you enact? (Feel free to edit this post with your response, or leave a comment.)


Blogger First Sea Lord said...

I was thinking about that today.

The biggest single problem with guns in the U.S., I believe, is the literally lethal combination of the wide availability guns and is the modern, resentment-rich, social responsibility-hostile gun culture. What has to be changed is American gun culture specifically: making an organized social system to acculturate gun owners to understand causes of and develop social-based contempt for gun violence. What works in other countries like Canada is exactly this: a different set of attitudes. To a certain extent, this can be accomplished by training, and the attraction of special weapons ownership might be adapted to re-train attitudes.

One idea might be intensive, mandatory gun training and licensing for purchase of all non-hunting firearms. (And this has to regulated in depth and be technically astute- no more "this AR15 is for hunting" B.S. ) The training has to be tough and challenging, focusing on the social responsibility of firearms ownership, not just technical safety; wound care, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, criminal behavior, and outright murder (making clear the way fairly ordinary people become murderers when emotional or family problems and alcohol are combined.

(Specifically, real gun nuts are obsessed by the idea that killers are some sort of alien criminals, entirely unlike them; but the 10,000 murders a year are of course predominantly rages, most often drunk ones, by people harboring a lot of resentment and limited social skills. This last bit is, weirdly, the key. People who kill aren't usually charismatics. They are those with bad social skills whose isolation can turn them dangerous. While quite a laughable phrase, I'm convinced that what we really can use in this country is a caring, nurturing, socially concerned, resentment-averse gun culture.)

The training, conducted in several sessions over a month, would cover some of this as required topics. It would be certified regularly by civil authorities, with a program of expirable licensing, like driver's licenses. The training needs to be at least two weeks, and the key, the absolute key, would be certified instructors professionally trained to recognize problem individuals, and granted the authority to withhold licensing on condition of putting marginal trainees into counseling, paid for, if necessary, by license fees.

In other words, true hunting rifles are more or less exempt from licensing, but ownership of all human target-centric firearms designs would require driver's license-like scrutiny, designed to add an indepth layer of screening against disturbed people in need of mental health counseling, and pushing heavily to normalize social responsiblity in gun ownership.

This comes down to 1) safety training, 2)indirect mental health screening, and 3)changing gun culture through earlier exposure to thinking about real world social hazards - this is done more or less in the military, and that might just be a possible basis for broadening this type of training into the civilian world.

December 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

Perhaps make this training part of a program for citizens to join a sort of... what do you call it? a "militia?"

December 15, 2012 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

An interesting aspect of the latest incident is the guns used appear to have been acquired legally, and that the perpetrator had been "responsibly" trained. In other words, most proposed policy changes wouldn't have mattered.

I'd focus on mental health, jobs programs, one month waiting period for guns (as in Japan), and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which would at least cut down the body count per massacre.

Since we're already systematically violating people's civil rights (I get searched 2-3 times per week due to my travel, and all my movements are tracked), we might as well direct some of those resources to investigating and monitoring 15-30 year-old males who fit the shooter profile as well.

Three articles I thought were good:
- How Japan does it
- Jeffrey Sachs
- How Australia does it

December 15, 2012 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

As for militias - the one I have in mind would be unarmed and work on infrastructure.

The primary use of militias is to intimidate the local populace, so I oppose them in places with elected and functioning governments. Their military value is highly equivocal, except as sacrifice units in service of some larger objective (e.g., Tet Falujah.

December 15, 2012 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

Sorry, one more...

December 15, 2012 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

I'm still chewing on my idea of requiring liability insurance. If you're a guy in his 20s who wants an assault rifle, you can have on if you can convince somebody cover the downside.

December 15, 2012 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

I think it's a great idea.

December 15, 2012 at 6:28 PM  

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