Sunday, June 12, 2016

And Now, Another Senseless Loss of Life

After 50 people were shot to death in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, there will undoubtedly be another call for gun control.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) will once again rally its membership to fight any forms of control with their tired chant, "They're trying to take our guns away."  But are they really?

Like most Americans, I own and drive a car.  Before I was allowed to drive a car, I first had to apply for a license.  The process involved being of a certain age, then getting a learner's permit, which only allowed me to operate a vehicle with a licensed driver in the vehicle with me.  Then I had to go to the state and take a written test.  Once I passed it, then I could take a practical test with a state representative in the vehicle.  Only after passing that could I get my license.

But that's only part of the saga.  Then I had to buy a vehicle and once purchased, I had to insure the vehicle.  This insurance was partly to insure my investment but really, it's mostly to protect others, as I have to carry liability coverage.  All of this had to be done before I could put my vehicle on the road.

Why can't guns be regulated (controlled) in a similar fashion?  First, establish a minimum age for gun users.  This would have to be debated.  Some would feel that 12 would be old enough, others will say 21.  Let's make it reasonable and say 13 but you have to be accompanied by an adult with a license and 18 to go solo.  Since 13 is a minor, they would still need the permission of a parent to apply for a gun permit.

Also, anyone with a history of mental illness or a record of incarceration for violent crime would probably not be the best people to be allowed to own weapons.  If they have a licensed adult who is willing to accompany them, perhaps there can be a special arrangement made for things like hunting.

Once the permit is received, the permit holders are allowed to shoot with a licensed adult.  That adult will train them in gun safety, etiquette and proper handling.  All of that will be done before learning to aim and pull the trigger.  Also, cleaning the weapon would be taught.  Once the permit holder is ready, they can then go and take a written test.  This test will demonstrate that they know how to properly handle a weapon.

After the written test is passed, they will then have a practical exam where they will fire the weapon, not showing that they are good marksmen but that they can do so safely.  After this, they will properly clean the weapon.

Now they can receive a license but only for that particular type (class) of weapon.  If they want another type, that's another test, just like getting a driver's license does not allow you to operate a motorcycle.  You have to have a motorcycle license for that.

Finally, when the person is licensed they can purchase a gun in the proper class, but they must also purchase gun insurance.  Gun insurance would be relatively inexpensive for things like hunting rifles and small handguns.  The insurance would pay for loss of the firearm as well as paying damages should anyone be injured by the weapon.  As the weapon increases in power, the insurance increases in cost.  While a 22 rifle might cost $25 a year for insurance, an uzi would be $1,000 annually.  This doesn't stop anyone from owning one, it just means you would have to really want one.

All guns would have to be recorded and licensed, just as cars are licensed.  They would be registered with the state so the owner would be on record.  They would have to be maintained and demonstrated to the proper authorities that they were in good working order at all times.  

This is gun control.  It's not a matter of taking weapons away, it's a matter of making them safer for everyone. 

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