There has understandably been a lot of talk about gun control in the past couple days. I've been thinking about it myself, and keep coming back to the same conclusions... despite legislation in the past (much of which has been repealed or "loopholed"), the level of gun violence in the United States has never been effectively curbed. If by some miracle, the tragedy at Sandy Hook and all the others we've seen in the past couple years snap our government out of its snivelling fear of the gun lobby, we will still probably only see some tinkering around the edges instead of a law that makes a real difference. So, here is my attempt/brainstorm of a place to start for true, comprehensive gun control that could both curb gun violence and not be a massive inconvenience for legal gun owners.
First, the simple stuff:
1) Reinstitute the ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines that expired during the Bush administration. This time, make it permanent.
2) Reinstitute the ban on guns in National Parks.
3) Have federal standards for conceal carry permits and carrying in public. No more idiotic state laws like the one just passed in MI that allows guns in schools.
Next, the big ones:
4) Have a mandatory national registration database. Identifying a gun and/or the owner of that gun should be just as easy as identifying a car. Every single gun in the United States must have an ID number (this already exists, but more on this later), a description, and an owner in the database. The owner must carry a signed registration or card similar to an automobile title/registration that shows s/he is the owner. Any transfer of ownership whether by commercial or private sale or a gift must be accompanied by a transfer of title, and transfer of title must include a background check by the government agency issuing the title. If a gun is found without proper title, not only will the possessor be guilty of a crime, but the owner also. Borrowing is still OK with the owner's knowledge just like with a car. A stolen gun must be reported immediately.
5) So, that closes the gun show loophole, but it's still pretty easy for a criminal to file off an ID on a gun, right? This is where modern technology can help us. Every new gun produced or imported into the US should have an identity marker somewhere on the INSIDE of the gun that matches the outside. Now I don't know much about gunsmithing, but I do know a bit about what's possible in manufacturing. I think it would be fairly simple to etch an ID on the inside in a way that filing it would ruin the gun. It could even be microscopic and placed in multiple places. Laser etching is not difficult these days.
6) Next, ammunition. Obviously, ammunition cannot be registered in the same way that guns are, but it can certainly be made easier to track. Every bullet and casing manufactured or imported into the US should have an ID # (one box of ammo could share an ID to make it a bit simpler). Again, I don't know much about ballistics, but I would think modern technology could come up with a way to mark a bullet without affecting its flight path. Ammunition could only be purchased with your gun registration or possibly with a special license for shooting ranges, etc. It wouldn't have to be tracked, but every purchase and owner would be recorded.
7) I had one last idea, but I'm really not sure of the feasability of this one. Every gun, when registered for the 1st time, or during manufacture, would need to be fired once and have the ballistics data recorded in the registry database. I realize that ballistics identification is a slow and manual process today, but I'm pretty sure we have the technology to write software that could at least narrow ballistics markings down to a limited number of guns in a database.
If you're still around, thanks a lot for reading. I had all this stuff kicking around in my head and wanted to get it written down. The idea of having a fairly concrete plan strengthens both any conversation about control, but also helps shoot down the opposition yelling, "They're gonna take away all my guns!"
I'd love to hear other people's ideas and feel free to shoot down mine if you don't think they are feasible.