I am a law-abiding firearm owner. The trend of mass shootings and the lack of movement to do anything about them sickens me, but I know some form of compromise is needed for any change to happen. I have recently concluded that gun culture and laws must change for the good of this country and the world. I am writing this to hopefully reach those who won’t take phone calls from me.
What follows are my thoughts about why I think we should have a 60 day waiting period for ALL firearm purchases (and some other ideas too). I know, I am opening myself up for attack from all sides. Many people (especially my friends overseas) think all guns should go away from the United States. No questions, no reimbursement, just take them all.
The truth is, that just won’t ever happen, and it isn’t even the smartest thing to do anyway. Why?
- We have serious gun culture in the USA. Not all of it is bad, though a lot of it IS bad.
- One reason America is feared is because there are a TON of guns here, privately owned. It is a serious consideration if another world force even considered invading our country.
- Gun owners and their circles of influence (all the way up to the NRA) simply won’t allow it. After all, some parts of democracy still work. The people want guns, they will keep guns.
Now, we can all agree that we have a major issue with a) crazy nut jobs (whether they be radicalized or just crazy nut jobs) who use firearms for horrible violence, and then we have a problem with b) too many guns being accessible to those who shouldn’t have them.
Don’t mix them up, they are DIFFERENT issues. Trying to fix one with a solution for the other is idiotic. A nut job who wants to hurt people will use a different way if guns are not accessible. TO BE CLEAR: This article is about my ideas for compromising on gun legislature, NOT how to stop radicalization of people.
We are seeing crazy drama in Washington over trying to get gun legislature pushed through quickly. Everybody wants change, but nobody seems to be willing to dig deep and come up with a practical solution that solves problems. Lawmakers are too concerned with their political party’s reputation to actually represent the will of the people of this country. And by the way, the types of gun legislature that is being worked on won’t help us with the nut jobs or radicalized people who want to hurt others. None of the drafts would have prevented the Orlando shooter (he doesn’t deserve a mention of his name) from making his firearm purchase.
Why can’t we just ban a bunch of gun stuff?
Bans hurt the law-abiding guys (well, these law-abiding guys will tell you this). Yes, it makes things more difficult for the bad guys, but it doesn’t change any of the underlying problem. Somebody who is hell-bent on getting a gun to kill somebody will get the gun. If the gun shop won’t sell it to him, he will go to the black market. Did prohibition get the alcohol off the street? Nope. And it increased violence.
If there weren’t SO MANY guns on the street, the only legitimate reasons to have a firearm would be for hunting and recreation, because home/self defense would be a non-issue. Sadly, there are a ton of guns (both legal and illegal) on the street, so defense is still a viable reason — and probably the loudest reason why people won’t allow guns to be taken away entirely.
What is the answer? Its complicated, but here are some ideas.
If you look long and hard at the common desires to a) reduce the number of guns on the street, b) change/dissuade bad gun culture, and c) never tell a law abiding gun owner that he or she can’t own something, then it leaves a few ideas, all of which are compromises. Compromise is necessary, in my opinion, otherwise we always end in deadlock and nothing changes.
Idea 1: Offer an OPTIONAL government buy-back of firearms
Optional is optional. You want guns off the street? pay for them, no questions asked. People who need money will turn in guns. Sure, at first you will only get some, but then over time, change the amount you are willing to pay for the buyback. An illegal gun bought for $300 that can be bought back from the government for $500 ? score. This will eliminate *some* of the guns from the street.
Idea 2: Lead a campaign to change gun culture.
Gun culture is really one of the biggest villains in all of this. We encourage kids to play with toy guns from a young age, then we let them watch movies like Disney’s Lilo and Stich where aliens run around shooting at each other. They watch movies with horrible realistic violence. So when they are old enough to buy a gun, why are we surprised ? This is a big issue that requires government sponsorship to help change in all levels of society.
Idea 3: License and register ALL firearms
A big objection to this is gun owners who want to “stay off the ATF’s radar.” Ok, but that attitude is a part of gun culture that is part of the problem. In an effort to eliminate a BAN on some or all firearms, consider that you can still have that firearm if you simply do some paperwork. I think all firearm owners should have an up-to-date “gun safety certification” just like a drivers license. License expires? all guns go to the police until it is renewed. Its not a gun-grab. They get stored until you are licensed. No license? no gun.
If you legitimately want or need a gun for defense, you shouldn’t have a problem with this.
I also think that this nonsense of selling some firearms at gun shows or some personal sales that don’t require a background check is insane. Thats like a mail-order drivers license without a written or practical exam. Yeah, you wouldn’t want somebody with a mail-order drivers license driving a car in your neighborhood with kids running around, would you? How about an uneducated gun owner walking around at night with a loaded gun that he or she hasn’t been trained to use? Equally stupid.
Idea 4: Firearm purchase limits
Ok so some people will argue until the cows come home about why they NEED a specific firearm. Some may be justified, others not, you won’t win that argument. I can say though, that people don’t need to own an arsenal. If you own 50 firearms, and aren’t in the firearm business, thats a concern, and should be a concern for others that live near you. Even if YOU are safe and sane, could your home be broken into? Gun shops get broken into, so I’ll bet your home isn’t locked down that well.
I think a SANE idea is to limit the number of firearms a person can purchase in a year. Maybe it is one a month? Maybe 4 per year? Maybe one pistol per year? Maybe 2 pistols total, and you have to sell one to get a new one? Either way, it would control an otherwise unlimited volume of firearms.
Idea 5: Mandatory 60 day waiting period
This is my favorite, and I think the most practical. Why would anybody object to a long waiting period? Only childish reasons in my opinion. Any argument somebody says about not wanting to wait 60 days has to do with an attitude of “instant gratification,” and is not a viable argument in my opinion. But I need to get Gun X for my hunting trip next week! Too bad, should have thought about that when you made plans for the trip a few months ago. Better yet, plan now for next year’s trip.
Why should be have a 60 day waiting period? Lots of good reasons:
- Eliminates impulse purchases, which could lead to fewer “nut job” situations
- Forces gun buyers to think about the practical use of the firearm before they buy
- Gives plenty of time for a thorough background check to be done
- If a problem shows up in the background check, gives time for authorities to react before the would-be buyer knows the result.
So there are my thoughts about some meaningful rules that might actually make a difference. And yes, I would be fine with any/all of the above laws put in place.
Agree? Disagree? Take to the twittersphere! #SmarterGunLaws @aschwabe
And if this DOES reach the desk of people who can help make a difference, give me a shout. I am all about helping and I’ll use all of my experience and network to do so.