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Several diarists and many people have been making suggestions about what type of legislation should be employed to protect our children and prevent unnecessary deaths. I've taken several of their ideas and believe that we should propose a basic structure for a bill that would accomplish this goal.

Of course, not all of us are going to agree on what should be in it.  Personally, I used to be a gun owner and don't believe that all guns should be illegal.  I'm not even 100% sure that assault weapons should be banned because I've shot an Uzi in a gun range once and it was fun. Nevertheless, here's a basic structure that I believe many can believe in.

But before we get too far ahead, let me also state that the basic premise of this Act would be to make the gun owner accountable in addition to the perpetrator.  I am sick of hearing about how guns are stolen from homes or businesses, left intentionally or unintentionally out for kids and other ignorant or incompetent people to pickup and to accidentally kill someone.

Gun owners need to be more responsible or they don't deserve to own a gun.  If you can't fly a plane without a lot of training, investment in time, money, and equipment, you can't fly.  The same standard should be for gun owners.  If you can't do it legally or can't afford it, sorry you shouldn't own a gun.

If you can't follow the law then, you won't be able to purchase a gun, retain ownership of your existing weapons, will be a criminal subject to jail, prison, or fines, and become liable and subject to lawsuits for accidental or illegal acts performed using your weapons.

Of course this proposed Act is going to require more regulation, perhaps even an agency, or more active role by law enforcement to follow mandatory gun registrations and non-compliance of the Act.

For now, it's a basic 6 point plan.

1.  All gun owners must be certified in order to retain ownership and/or to purchase a gun.  Certification is in effect similar to a driver's license that needs to be renewed periodically.

Here in New Jersey and I'm sure in other states we have to present Identification to prove who we are (probably as part of some Homeland Security Directive) to obtain a driver's license every four years.  We have a 6-Point Identification Verification system comprised of primary and secondary documents of which points are added for documents that include a birth certificate, driver's license, passport, school Id, etc.

We have more verification in New Jersey and we do it regularly, every time you renew your license. We have more verification for a driver's license than a gun show loophole.

Certification is to include:

2.  Mandatory Psychological Evaluation by a certified Psychological Professional every three years.

3.  Mandatory Gun Insurance.  Gun Insurers should require that all other points of this act be met in order to be considered insurable.

If you can't afford gun insurance or if a gun insurance company claims that you are un-insurable, tough luck.  You can't own a gun, legally.

4.  Mandatory gun safe or vault for all firearms with both a biometric ID (fingerprint) and minimum 4-digit code to open safe or vault.  An alternative could include biometric recognition or trigger locks so that a weapon can only be fired by a single person, the gun owner.

The reason for both the biometric and 4-digit code is that if you kill the gun owner and cut their finger off, you still can't get into the safe.

5.  Mandatory gun training.  It should cover all firearms and include basic gun safety.  It should demonstrate how to check any kind of weapon for being loaded (i.e. one in the breech) and how to clear it or unload it, safety locations on rifles and pistols or lack of safeties on certain weapons, and overall familiarity with most types of weapons, rifles, shotguns, pistols, semi-automatic and revolvers, etc.  Should contain basic instruction on how to handle the type of weapon, the same stuff covered in some hunter's safety courses like how to walk with a shotgun, rifle, or pistol, basic gun range etiquette, and could even include how to clean and maintain your weapon.

6. This provision, of course, should exempt law enforcement.  Make it illegal to sell, purchase, or own:  bullet proof vests, cop killer or armor piercing bullets, clips or drums or any device that enables more than 10 bullets to be fired consecutively, and any forms of protection or offensive capabilities that would typically be used only in a law enforcement capacity.  

Everyone knows that no law or method of protection is foolproof.  I did not advocate taking away semi-automatic weapons or assault weapons.  Yes, there is no reason to have an assault weapon and I don't believe anyone goes hunting with one.  But there is a hobbyist, collector, and even some might think "coolness" factor with these weapons.

Perhaps, making it illegal to sell or give away existing assault weapons through proper gun registration and following of this proposed act would eventually make the weapons illegal and perhaps will be scrapped as a form of attrition.  Many may disagree with this point but even I am willing to concede that tougher measures could be acceptable.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent work. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, 88kathy, nellgwen, TheLawnRanger, semiot

    I've been lamenting the lack of big ideas to tackle a big problem. It seems simple to me... Make owning a gun have the same requirements as owning and driving a car. It boggles my mind how getting a gun can be easier than driving a car...

    Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.

    by wmtriallawyer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:36:50 PM PST

  •  I would say law enforcement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheLawnRanger

    would need to, if they don't already, have all but the insurance part.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:36:55 PM PST

  •  Oh, one other idea (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, 88kathy, eXtina, TheLawnRanger

    Thought it might not fit under the general rubric of "accountability", but...

    Matt Miller from the Center for American Progress had a column today in the Washington Post proposing a massive federal gun buy back program for semi-automatic weapons. The stimulus would be huge.

    Cake or DEATH? Oh, I'll have cake, please.

    by wmtriallawyer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:40:42 PM PST

  •  "...any device that enables more ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, nellgwen

    ...than 10 bullets to be fired consecutively."

    That would eliminate many lever-action, tube-fed rifles, especially in .22 cal, but also in some heavier, hunting rifle calibers, the kind in use since 1862.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:42:28 PM PST

    •  Yeah, I'm not a lawyer or familiar... (0+ / 0-)

      with what the proper terminology should be. I'd be happy to change it if you or anyone has any suggestions or I guess an exclusion for what you mentioned might suffice.

      I'm familiar with the tube-fed .22's but never seen a hunting rifle with the capability to shoot more than 10 rounds.

      •  Tube-fed lever-actions with the capacity to... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        ...hold more than 10 rounds are not the most common, but they also aren't rare. Under California law, where 10-round maximum magazines are the law, tube-fed firearms are exempt from this limitation.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:12:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Should they be? (0+ / 0-)

          How are such guns used, and why were they exempted in CA?

          How would Sandy Hook have worked out if the shooter had tube-fed lever-action weapons instead of the ones he had?

          I'm asking because I don't know the answer, not to be snide.

          •  Lever-action is much slower than semi-auto... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            radical simplicity

            ...These guns have been used both for war (Civil War, Indian Wars) and for hunting over the past 150 years.

            In California, the law that barred magazines of more than 10 shots didn't bar the tube-fed firearms with a higher count because so many versions are around. Here's an example:

            That's a Winchester model 1892. A bit more than a million of them were made between '92 and 1938. Plenty of them are still in use. 15 rounds tube-fed.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:39:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Until the interpretation of the 2nd amendment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, FrankRose, Bailey2001

    is changed that prohibits private ownership of firearms, I am opposed to any government imposed financial barriers to a citizen's ability to exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

    The same way that I opposed the CU decision that stratified access according to wealth, I am as vehemently opposed to these burdens on general principles.

    This comes not from a pro-gun position, but a pro equal access to Constitutional rights that is not determined by how rich you are.

    •  important clarification (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, TheLawnRanger

      that is not to say that there should be a reasonable assurance against unauthorized access to weapons and that the owner should be held completely liable for negligence and improper storage that leads to harm, but one of a required insurance policy that would be based on market factors.

    •  I get what you mean given the "conditions" put on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheLawnRanger

      the right to an abortion, some of which makes availability all but impossible and/or places an extraneous fee on the seeker of the provision because another person believes that it's "wrong". But nonetheless, they appear to be constitutional.

      So tell me, how do you see a religious right NOT to provide insurance coverage for abortion (or even birth control) that then shifts the burden to the health care consumer because of the church's alleged rights? Do you think my happiness and safety, constitutionally, should bend to or away from the 2nd if I don't like guns and they don't make me feel safe and, actually, to the contrary may not be safe?

      I see what you are trying to get at, but the problem is that in some way, one's right's may violate another's. Then what?

      What is clear with weapons, at least, is that SCOTUS did not say guns could not be regulated. THAT is what this is all about.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:15:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see where you're coming from but... (0+ / 0-)

      even though its not a necessity to own a car, many would argue that its almost a necessity unless you live in a big city with public transportation.

      Cars are  not affordable, yet many people own them, because it can be a necessity.

      Guns are not a necessity. They are extra. Not meaning that they're a luxury but these weapons can get expensive and the need for owning one may vary but can rarely be justified as a necessity unless you live on a farm and need to kill varmints or creatures attacking your chickens or livestock.

      Yes, I agree it would impose a financial barrier but for a non-necessity item. Though, I do see your point. I believe that you're saying the second amendment is a right and a right should not be based on financial stature or ability to afford. However, in this case, I respectfully disagree and only because of the importance of saving lives. Young lives and innocent lives.

      •  Bobby - under Heller the SCOTUS (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, B obby Boucher

        has given state, local, and federal lawmakers wide latitude for enacting gun control laws. However, the laws may not inhibit by word, or effect, the fundamental right of a citizen to own a gun. Many legal scholars thing that any additional cost of ownership would have to be very modest in relation to the cost of the gun to be acceptable under Heller. Some of your suggestions would likely run into legal challenges.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:58:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the info... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          you may be right.  It sounds like the poll tax of the voter suppression issue whereby the right to vote can't be impeded by additional cost or unreasonable effort.  And, though it may be contested and actually fail a Supreme Court review, it still may be worth trying to pass and then fight it out later.

          Not making an excuse but many laws get passed in the heat of the moment and some fail later under review but a small minority retain some portion of their intent while most don't.

          You're right though it would need serious legal consideration to try to avoid this potential problem.

      •  would like to respond in a cogent manner (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        B obby Boucher

        but I'm getting hit with kidney stone pain and can't think at the moment.  I don't think we're far apart in thought though.

    •  I agree, especially since any and all of these (0+ / 0-)

      rules would only apply to those who choose to follow them.

        In other words, law abiding citizens who are gun owners would have to comply but those who already own illegal guns or who buy them on the streets from individuals, would not have to comply unless caught.  I am certain most would simply take that risk.

      That is the trouble with gun laws, it is the law abiding citizens who are made to follow them and yet the ones we are trying to hinder and deter...don't.

      •  Much of the proposed penalties associated (0+ / 0-)

        with gun violence is after the fact.

        I want to stop violence before it happens and there are many pieces of the puzzle.  As awful as these types of mass killings are, they pale in comparison the streets awash in blood every day in our inner cities.

        Poverty, education, economic opportunity must be addressed.  Punishment is cold comfort to the victims.

        That's not to say that intermediate steps can be taken to prevent individual situations such as in Aurora, Clackamas and Sandy Hook, and we are going to have to come to terms with what individual freedoms are we willing to curtail in order to provide greater security and how much are we are willing to pay for that and still consider ourselves a free society.

        •  Again, who would abide by the laws that are meant (0+ / 0-)

          to keep guns out of the hands of criminals?  Would it be criminals or law abiding citizens?  

          Unless we are talking a complete ban, and then removal of all gun from the US.....then guns will be there and it will be the criminals who will by pass any law you have going on to get their gun.  Ban semi automatic weapons and Mr. Honest Citizen will give up his but Mr. Would Be Killer will still find a way to get his.

  •  Eh ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib
    Make it illegal to sell, purchase, or own:  bullet proof vests
    So I can buy a gun but not a vest ?
    If don't want a gun and I want a vest , I'm the bad guy ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:11:12 PM PST

    •  Why would you need a bulletproof vest? (0+ / 0-)

      Going to make a fashion statement or you just like the extra weight or you like the way it makes you look bulkier and more muscular under your shirt?

      Do you plan on just getting accidentally shot somehow and want it for extra protection?

      I'm just kidding (about the above questions) and I'm not a lawyer, so maybe some of this has to be written for every possible circumstance.  But the basic idea of this entry was to account for items that a reasonable (??) person would not own except/unless he was in law enforcement or was in danger of being assassinated, witness protection maybe.

  •  Assault weapons could (0+ / 0-)

    Be available for shooting only at registered gun ranges. Of course participating ranges would have to take on the insurance premiums, and institute strict controls on an assault weapon leaving the premises.

  •  I called mine the Enforce the KEEP part of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot

    Second Amendment.  If there is anything in here that is useful please take it.  If you are putting up a better one let me know, I'll take mine down and sign yours.

    White House Petition

    Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment.

    The Charlton Heston level of gun possession. You can bear any arm but you must KEEP that arm. The gun must be in your hand or

    - Felony to fail to secure your deadly weapons.

    - An accessory charge if your weapon was used in a crime.

    - Possession of a gun w/o a serial # - intent to murder.

    And if your weapon was used in a crime and you died trying to KEEP it, your estate would be liable for all damages your weapon caused while not in your possession.

    Gun control responsibility back to the gun owners, where it belongs.

    You must physically prove continuity of possession every 5 years. If you cannot physically present the actual gun for continuity of possession, you are charged with felony-failure to secure a deadly weapon.

    God I hope other people can see the beauty of this

    Sign my White House Petition [Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment http://wh.gov/n8Qj]

    by 88kathy on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:27:28 PM PST

    •  Err... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy

      - Possession of a gun w/o a serial # - intent to murder.

      You are aware of the fact that a serial number on a gun is not a mandatory thing, and that a person can very well make their own gun, right?  While the bespoke gun market is insignificant compared to those manufactured in volume, it does exist.

      •  Errr I am aware I haven't singlehandedly solved (0+ / 0-)

        the gun problem in the USA.  But you know what, we are going to have to stop slamming people who are actually contributing.  

        So what if a home-made gun carried intent to murder charges.  No serial number.  That about covers it doesn't it.

        And if you wanted to legally make a gun, then you could have an avenue to get a serial number.  There you go.

        Want to keep slamming me or maybe try to solve this problem?

        Sign my White House Petition [Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment http://wh.gov/n8Qj]

        by 88kathy on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:42:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A proposal was posted. (0+ / 0-)

          I pointed out a problem with it.  That's not 'slamming' someone.  If I called you an ignorant twit or something, yeah, that'd be slamming you.  

          If you're going to engage in political speech, particularly if you're proposing policies, you have to learn to take some bloody criticism, especially if people are pointing out edge cases you didn't consider.  If you don't do that you damage your proposal.

          And your elaboration doesn't address the extant weapons without serial numbers.  Somehow I think that not hitting people with a murder charge because they had grampa's gun above the mantle would be a good idea.

  •  #2 - Are you joking? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, theboz, FrankRose, Samulayo
    2.  Mandatory Psychological Evaluation by a certified Psychological Professional every three years.
    You are allowed to strap on a 3000 lb rocket and drive the streets in it at speeds in excess of 60 MPH with a simple driving test (my last one was at 16 yrs old - I am now 61).  But simply to own a firearm, you force individuals to pay for an expensive psychological examination?

    You really haven't thought this one through..  The person in inner city Chicago that wants a gun to defend their home can barely afford the weapon, much less a psych exam!

    You can achieve nearly the same desired effect by forcing mental health professionals to report/register people they deem not suitable for firearm ownership.  Computers can then cross-check those people on gun registration databases.

    •  No, I'm not joking and I have thought that one... (0+ / 0-)

      through.  As I've said and others have made the point, if you can't afford to safe keep your guns then you shouldn't have one.

      Perhaps, the process could generate funds through the license or certification fees to help pay for psychologists or even gun manufacturers might provide reimbursement or free psychological evaluations through their approved list of psychologists.

      It would be in the interest of gun manufacturers to help offset the costs of gun ownership if they want to continue to sell their products.

      An alternative might be an ammunition tax that could pay for these evaluations making it free.

  •  Insurance companies now grant Constitutionally (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, theboz, Samulayo

    protected rights? No thanks.

    •  So, right now law is in place to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wmtriallawyer

      perform background checks and if you're found to be mentally unstable, have a record, etc., you can't buy a gun.  But, its okay for the government to take away your constitutionally protected right but not for a mental health professional to help determine whether you should have that right?

      And its not okay for the mental health professional to perform that periodically so that when you become depressed after some life changing event, or have a chemical imbalance or other health reason that causes your behavior to change its not caught or detected because you've never had an evaluation or have only had one the first time you got your certification because changes never happen?

      And because the insurance company doesn't insure you, then they are the gate keepers to your second amendment right even though you may be mentally unstable or can't secure your weapons, or worse, don't care to, or you can't take time to take a class on gun safety?

      •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

        But, its okay for the government to take away your constitutionally protected right but not for a mental health professional to help determine whether you should have that right?

        You seem to be a little bit confused as to the definition of 'rights'.  By definition you can't be forced to prove competancy in order to claim a right, you can only have that right removed if you have been found to be incompetant or otherwise have it removed through the due process of law.  

        It's okay to disallow those who have been adjudicated as mentally unfit from owning a firearm.  In other words, a judge has already signed a paper saying that you're too nuts to be allowed your freedoms and your rights must be abridged for the safety of yourself and / or others.  

        Let's pass a law saying that you have to take courses in classical logic before you can argue on the internet.  That wouldn't interfere with free speech, right?  (/snark)

        •  Maybe not the same comparison but... (0+ / 0-)

          pilots can be medically disqualified though I know being a pilot is not a constitutional right.  But they are required to take physical exams and you are required to pass a test to get a driver's license.

          I see what you're saying but the method you describe relies totally on reaction and not prevention.  If you're found mentally unfit could be if you're lucky enough to stumble into a mental professional's office and there's an open appointment or there were some other reason or suspicion that forced you into being examined.  

          How many people do not get examined by mental health professionals but should?  My point is if you're going to arm yourself, then for the benefit of everyone else, you should be evaluated.

  •  Citizen Drone Weapons - and yea, I'm serious (0+ / 0-)

    My son sent me this link. The endless plethora of weaponry for profit... that's what i call 'capitalism.'

    And it is related to this excellent post...
    well, sorta.
    Accountability at an entirely new level ..   airborne

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/...

  •  Kinda (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, B obby Boucher

    Some of these measures are pretty good. I think the safe requirement goes a bit far. Reliable biometric ID is really fucking expensive right now, and that would constitute an unreasonable barrier to ownership.

    Don't be surprised if the NRA agrees to some or most of this in principle, with the magazine ban being the exception.

    ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
    My Blog
    My wife's woodblock prints

    by maxomai on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:49:48 PM PST

    •  Actually, I think a safe requirement is a very (0+ / 0-)

      reasonable requirement.  However, I think the biometric bit is a bit BS, since one, biometric sensors -- at least cheap ones that'd be available in consumer devices like a walmart gun safe -- are kinda shit and easy to fool.  A good safe with a good combination lock is totally fine.  A bigger problem is that cheap gun safes tend to be intrinsically insecure due to poor design.  You can have the most whiz-bang biometric sensors in the world, but if I can drop the safe against the floor to get it to open, or short out the soldenoid to get it to open, then it's a piece of crap.

  •  I would agree on almost all of it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B obby Boucher

    The only part that gives me pause is the bulletproof vest.  Everything else looks great.

    If you listen to fools, the Mob Rules

    by CO Democrat on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:19:43 PM PST

    •  I just posted above that maybe it could be ... (0+ / 0-)

      changed when used to perform a crime it would add additional years to your sentence.

      •  It's already been proven that such laws are (0+ / 0-)

        effectively useless.

        After all, it's illegal to use a gun in the commission of a crime in most jurisdictions, but people do it anyway.  It's very illegal to have an unregistered handgun in most jurisdictions, but people do it anyway.  If you can't keep the thing out of the hands of people, they -will- be used in the commission of crimes, 'cause people committing crimes -- particularly violent ones with guns -- don't tend to worry about a longer jail sentance.

  •  Here's what I'd recommend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, B obby Boucher

    License every gun.
    Liability insurance required of every owner on a per-weapon basis.
    Insurers inspect the location in which the guns will be stored (just as they inspect woodstove installations), and verify each weapon has a proper guard to prevent accidental discharge.

    Owners undergo mandatory safety training, pass both written and field tests, and re-register each weapon every [n] years, and renew their own licenses every [n] years - just like we require with the other major deadly weapon we have in our lives: our cars.

    Ban clips holding more than a few rounds - whatever you reasonably expect to need for deer hunting.

    Perhaps, if you're going on a trip to grizzly country, you can get a short-term license that would allow you to rent a larger clip to protect yourself there, but it expires at the end of your trip and the clip has to be returned to the rental site. You could also rent a high capacity clip at a federally-licensed shooting range for target practice, but it doesn't leave the range.

    Failure to return a clip comes with a penalty, and failure to return more than one means your license is suspended & you hand over your guns to be stored until such time as you can renew your license (which requires additional training - just like drunk drivers), since you obviously can't keep track of them.

    All shooting ranges must be registered, with a federal permit. Ranges must meet certain safety requirements in order to receive a permit. Ranges must keep an inventory of all rental equipment, and all weapons stored there by members, and must make the inventory available to inspectors. States and towns may require additional limits, such as minimal setback requirements - for example,  increasing required setback from residences, according the range (shooting distance) of the weaponry that the range intends to allow.

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