What follows is a post from the blog of a guy I work for. It is being reproduced in full with his consent. If you are interested in reading what a chemical engineer who immigrated to Australia has to say regarding climate change, health care, economics, guns or other things go to Sgt. Hulka Uncut and have a read.
So, I think I have the gun control issue partly solved in the USA, if anyone is still listening, but possibly not.
I actually asked my buddy Otto whether or not we need to just admit that these kids in Sandy Hook Elementary just don’t mean that much in the overall scheme of things. Isn’t that right, and shouldn’t we just admit that and move on, unless you are really interested in seeing that this sort of thing gets reduced in the USA? Perhaps the statistics above prove that to be true, but direct discussion with gun advocates suggests otherwise. You see, my buddy Otto is one serious constitution reading libertarian, and he is not interested in giving up any of his guns at all.
And I am with him, to a point. But I see guns in America as another set of dangerous goods that must be managed. We could also have some discussions around just what is required to maintain a “well regulated militia”, how large a magazine, how many of them, and what rate of fire is required, but even if we don’t go there, I have a set of reasonable suggestions that don’t significantly impact on anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights, while making sure that everyone’s rights under the 1st Amendment aren’t jeopardised inadvertently in the move toward an armed camp in the USA. Because I honestly see it that way. I believe that my freedom of movement, association and pursuit of happiness are significantly diminished by having to worry if I am going to get shot trying to enjoy dinner and a movie, go to work, or school.
Through a bit of reading, and further discussions with Otto, I think I have an answer that appeals to the right, left, up and down in politics with a significant enough plurality amongst all that it works: personal responsibility. It’s always a good time in America to have a chat about personal responsibility, as it seems to be the answer to a number of the ills there, and everyone initially says they are all for it. The religious love it, despite the fact that they go all moral on you. The left can come to support it, because it finally gives them a chance to hold someone in power to account. And the right love it, because it has an emotional appeal to their both authoritarian and libertarian sides. The only people who couldn’t support it are the mentally defective, who by definition can’t be held personally responsible, so who give a shit what they think.
Here’s how gun control works based on personal responsibility. Guns are a dangerous good that (peculiarly) if used as intended or not can cause the death of people, animals and some potentially significant property damage. They are also required to be available in the population to allow for the forming of militias to overthrow a despotic government, should that come to pass. In order for the government to unsure the maintenance of this potential to removal of itself by force, we need to know what the numbers are, and ensure that there is sufficient distribution and numbers that they can be called to use (I assume by the States individually) to overthrow the federal government. So the States really need the information, but what we really want to focus on is personal responsibility, so we need not write much regulation, that way the law can be cost efficiently implemented, and also generate some friendly competition in service providers for the information.
The law will say this: If you want own a gun in the future, you will be required to register it’s storage location with your local police, and commit to storing and maintaining it in a safe and secure manner. You are personally responsible for the safety and security of your firearm to prevent its being used by anyone who cannot be held personally responsible for its use in the killing of any human inadvertently or with malevolent intent, or in the negligent or wilful killing or damage to any property, unless that killing or damage is found to be lawful through a jury trial. That’s it. It’s also pretty much already law in most jurisdictions in the USA, following the implementation of registration.
You are already responsible if your 7 year old child takes your car and runs down a grandmother during a joy ride, or uses your gun to shoot 10-15 sheep on your neighbour’s property for sport. The only reason I want to make sure you register your gun is so that I can hold you responsible in the event you don’t maintain your dangerous good in a fashion that is safe and secure, and you have tons of leeway in defining “safe and secure” in your particular situation, because there is going to be no “prior restraint” in the implementation of my law. No one is going to be around to check, and no standards are going to be published to define “safe and secure” for you. If you make your guns kept for home protection, hunting or whatever safe and secure such that they are never used in a killing by your children through education or sheer intimidation, great. If you use a trigger lock, safe or concealment to secure your guns, cool. Whatever you want to do, you decide. And if a person breaks into your house, steals your .45 from under your pillow and commits a murder later, we aren’t going to hold you civilly or criminally responsible for his criminal acts. But if you are going to raise a sociopath, psychopath or a person who cannot control their anger, and they get ahold of your gun and use it to kill a bunch of people, you will likel have to pay, and potentially be held criminally responsible for gross negligence. So, you might want to consider some disaster insurance if you want to own an assault rifle and a dozen clips of ammo, or even an automatic weapon, which by the way I am pretty much OK with under my new legal regime. Just be fucking responsible.
Unless they refuse to register their guns, the only time the average gun owner is going to have any brush up against the law is forensically in the investigation of homicide, just like they are now, and even identification of the recalcitrants will be through forensic investigation, as there is no need for proactive audit or inspections. 2nd Amendment supporters are often quick to site how rare the cases of a person who cannot be held responsible is responsible for significant killing, so there should be almost imperceptible impact to those people. If you fail to register your guns and they are identified forensically, but not in relation to a killing or significant damage incident, you will be required to register them at that time and face some administrative penalty. In the cases where an unregistered gun is identified in the course of a criminal investigation, it will be forfeited, registered by the police and recycled for some beneficial use or materials.
For those paranoid of registration, let this be some comfort. Any incremental damage done by this perceived encroachment on your 2nd Amendment Rights is far offset by the benefit of the elimination of incidents like Sandy Hook, Aurora, the temple, Virgina Tech and Columbine. Because those incidents all involve damage to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of all those involved as victims. And in my world 1 comes before 2, especially if I can prove no significant reduction in 2 through regulation of my well organised militia.