For your consideration:
Current laws provide a perverse economic incentive for the production and distribution
of as many guns and bullets as possible, regardless of the intentions or stability of the
end users of those weapons, and regardless of how safely such weapons are stored.
We cannot begin to reduce the carnage caused by such weapons until we change the laws to give gun manufacturers, distributers, sellers and owners major financial
incentives to foster safe usage by legal owners and keep guns out of the hands of
criminals and deranged people.
To that end, we need laws to ensure four things:
(1) It must be possible to forensically identify every firearm and every retail lot
of bullets in the in the United States, with a technology that would intrinscally
make the weapon or bullet inoperable if the id were removed or tampered with.
(Microtags embedded throughout the metal body would be one such mechanism.)
New guns and ammunition must be required to meet this standard after some
date, and older guns and ammunition must be required to be exchanged or be
proven disabled by some later date. (Government subsidies could apply here.)
(2) It must be possible to identify, for every single firearm and every single bullet
in the United States, a person or corporation legally liable for any and all
damage inflicted by that weapon and bullet. This liability must persist even if
the guns are stolen or lost, to eliminate any incentive for evasion.
(This is commonly referred to as a "cradle to grave" approach in which liablity
rests with the manufacturer until they legally transfer it to another entity
and record that transaction with the government, a la "pink slips" for cars.)
Since the motivation would be to assign criminal and civil liability, access to
such a database could be restricted to require a narrow court order for each query.
(3) The financial penalty associated with such liability must be sufficiently high as to
be a major deterrent to irresponsible behavior.
(A fine of $5 million per death and $1 million per injury would be a minimum
reasonable penalty. Fines four times that large would be still be reasonable.)
Such a criminal penalty would be automatic and independent of any civil liability
that might be litigated. It should not be possible to eliminate such liability under
any circumanstances, even if the weapons are stolen from the legal owner (or
are taken from their cold dead fingers, for that matter).
The legal owner can negotiate insurance premiums based on how effective their
anti-theft measures are, but bottom line they are financially liable for their
weapons, no matter what.
All people or corporations with liablity must be required to carry insurance
promising to pay the fine for any number of deaths caused by the insured
weapons, without limit.
In the event the legal owner has insufficient resources and insurance to pay such
a fine, liability for the remaining amount reverts to the prior owner, back to the
original manufacturer. If that manufacturer lacks sufficient resources, then an
industry-wide insurance policy must pay.
(4) Penalties for attempts to circumvent the laws enacted to ensure the previous
goals must be swift and severe, with major fines and significant mandatory
Companies violating or evading the laws should be liquidated and the board
members and officers severely fined (perhaps $5 million apiece), while
individuals doing the same should lose all of their assets, and receive prison
terms of 5 years or more.