I'm an Idahoan. I learned how to shoot around age 10, and was a hunter in my youth for years. I'm familiar with firearms, comfortable around them, and know very well what they are capable of doing; I've killed deer, elk, rabbits, ducks, chuckars, pheasants and geese.
I know all about the gun culture and it's mentality. Stick with me past the twisted lasso below; I may have a practical solution to controlling the use of combat weapons.
My hunting days are past now, and so are a lot of other former hunters. Folks still go out here in numbers during hunting season, but as a whole, outdoor sportsmen are thinning out.
The most popular shooting 'sport' out here is laying waste to several junker cars, 55 gallon drums, and old 5 gallon cans out in a field that's declared to be a shooting range. That's where the people who buy assault weapons like the Bushmaster go. They don't want to spend the money or take the time and effort to stalk game any more. If they do buy a game tag, they are just as likely to shoot a deer, tag it and leave it as they are to tag it and then gut and quarter it, and take it home where more processing awaits.
All they really want to do is fill the air with as much lead and gunsmoke as possible, as fast as they can possibly squeeze the trigger. It's the noise, the action and the smoke that gets them off, not the quiet stalking and the quietness and pleasures of being in the field that hunters enjoy. They want to see things like old metal turn into Swiss cheese. They don't want to walk away from a long day with no rounds fired and empty handed. It's sheer quantity of destruction, not the quality of the experience, they want.
We have millions of combat guns everywhere. The Bushmaster is a shitty hunting rifle; the bullet is too small to bring down the most prized big game, and it's made for closer range shooting. When shot in heavy timber, the bullet easily ricochets off small limbs that the larger hunting calibers will plow through and still stay on course.
And no hunter worth his salt would be proud of blasting through a 15 round clip of ammunition. They take pride in one shot, one kill.
There are 2 calibers that are overwhelmingly used in combat rifles; the .223, used by the Bushmaster, AR15, M16 and others, and the .762 round used by the AK-47 and it's variants. The .762 is marginally a better hunting round, but not nearly as good as the .7 magnum, the 30-06, or even the ancient 30-30 calibers, and many other newer hunting calibers.
We slap a heavy tax on some luxury goods, and a whale of a tax on gas guzzling cars. Why no levy a similar tax on the .223 and the .762?
If a gun nut has to shell out $4.00 a round, all of a sudden, shooting an old gas can to smithereens wouldn't be such fun anymore. A 15 round clip would cost $60.00- a tank of gas or a lot of other stuff that's fun. A 30 round clip would cost $120, a price even a dedicated well-off gun nut would think twice about.
These guys buy their ammo in 1,000 round bricks. At $4,000. a brick, that's gotta have an effect on them. (My price is arbitrary, but the tax has to be enough to hurt. The more hurt, the better.)
If we want to make it easier, why not start a buy-back program after the tax has taken a bite? They won't give up their guns as long as the shooting thing is cheap, but once expense is a first consideration, getting some money back on a gun that's no longer used would be a further incentive. And it would take these guns out of the market for good.
There is little we can do about pistols. There are just too many of them, and they are the last redoubt of the gun culture, But like the combat rifles, semi-auto pistols are the big deal now for just the same reasons- lots of smoke, kick and fast shooting. Revolvers are now passé, by and large. But a pistol for self defense and home protection does not need to have a capacity of 13 rounds or more. People defended themselves and their homes and families just fine with 6 in the cylinder for more than 100 years. And revolvers don't jam or misfire as much as automatics. In a desperate pinch, a single action broken revolver can be made to work with rock.
Why not limit the clip size to 6 rounds, just like a revolver, and make any clips with larger capacity than that illegal and as serious as an offense as being caught with hard drugs?
These solutions aren't going to take the guns away from the hands of those who love them. But they will make the gun lovers pay for their senseless fun, and will limit the damage these guns make.