MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., January 10, 2013 – It seems that for once gun control may take its place in the category of important issues for our country to seriously consider. The mass killings in the last few years seem to have finally broken the public’s tolerance about guns and their availability. However, this article is not about whether guns should be so easily available, but what we can do to minimize their effect on innocent lives.
A recent article indicated that eight out of ten adults in the U.S. own at least one gun. This, of course, is just an average and some areas may have more gun owners than eight out of ten, and some less. There are an estimated 300 million firearms in the hands of civilians in the U.S. These are fairly well accepted statistics.
Second Amendment Is Enshrined
There is also a strong sentiment among gun owners about their right to keep and bear arms, regardless of how the Second Amendment is interpreted. In recent years the Supreme Court has sided with those who believe that it is the right of all citizens to own as many guns as they want.
Thus any proposed solution would have to take these facts into account. We can’t dwell in the past and wish this weren’t so.
So what should be our objective? We need to prevent these guns from getting into the wrong hands and/or to be used to kill any of our fellow citizens. The gun lover and the gun hater should be able to agree on this premise.
When I started my studies to be an engineer, the first lecture began with the professor asking us what engineers did. We all had specific responses. After a few minutes we ran out of answers and he said, “You are all correct, but the engineer’s first job is to find solutions to problems.” So please wait a second as I grab my engineer’s hat.
Possible Solution Step by Step:
1. The first step is to fix the gun show/personal sales loophole. While it may interfere with free commerce, there is precedence to this loophole allowing firearms to get into the wrong hands;
2. Existing gun laws would be reviewed and revised so that they can be enforced and, they would be enforced;
3. Even when we buy cars we must produce a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and good credit. A similar process could be followed. Buyers should come prepared with a certificate indicating that they are law abiding citizens and that they don’t suffer from a mental disease which could make them act erratically and dangerously. They would also bring a bond indicating that any wrongful damage caused by the newly acquired fire arm would be taken care of, as well as documentation where the gun would be kept to prevent access to unwanted persons;
4. Finally, gun buyers would have to show that the people in their households that have access to the gun are not mentally or emotionally impaired. This could be done by paying an independent company to do a study similar to the one candidates to certain sensitive positions in the government have to endure. If the prospective buyer doesn’t have the certificate cited in #2 above and/or the documentation in #3 there would have to be a waiting period until these steps are completed.
All the expenses incurred by the prospective gun owners would have to be covered by them.
What About Guns Already Owned?
Existing guns would be grandfathered in, with the proviso that they would be registered following the same process as indicated above within five years. After this period, the owners could turn in their firearms to authorities without penalty.
If an unregistered gun is use in the performance of a crime after the five-year grace period, there would be additional grievance to any verdict. During the five-year grace period, the government could provide incentives in the form of tax breaks or monetary rewards for the surrender of any fire arms.
No, I haven’t forgotten about assault weapons and high power hunting rifles. The fact that their range and killing power is superior to regular handguns, they would have an added premium in any bond that the prospective buyer would have to purchase.
So here is the new paradigm: personal responsibility and a free market solution. Of course, there would be more money for the insurance sector but fortunately not mine.
Gee, this sounds too simple. It would probably work.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is a bleeding heart liberal, agnostic, exercise fanatic, Redskin fan, technophile, civil engineer, combat infantry veteran, jewelry maker, amateur computer programmer, Environmental engineer, Colombian-born, free thinker, and, not surprisingly, pacifist. You can find his articles - ranging from politics to cooking a mean brisket - in 21st Century Pacifist <http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/21st-century-pacifist/> at The Washington Times Communities. Follow Mario on Twitter @chibcharus #TWTC and Facebook at Mario Salazar.
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