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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 despite legislation in the past (much of which has been repealed or "loopholed"), the level of gun violence in the United States has never been effectively curbed.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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We have too many guns. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    I feel it's as simple as that. What has to be done is eliminate the market for guns, and hence the industry that is pumping millions of guns into our society every year.

    We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

    by i understand on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 12:30:53 PM PST

  •  Thanks for taking time to do the diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inventor, Mr Robert
  •  Which one of your ideas do you think would (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, happymisanthropy

    have prevented the events in Connecticut?

    •  Wasn't the Rifle a Type of Assault Weapon? They're (0+ / 0-)

      saying just now it inflicted all the wounds (a commenter who saw an earlier part of the present press conference before I came in to it).

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 12:52:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Connecticut was 27 deaths out of 30000+ this year. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bstotts, valion

      It's big and splashy, but merely addressing the particulars of that one crime may not impact the majority of gun deaths, the vast majority of which are single deaths at a time.

      On the other hand, as you presumably note, those suggestions seem aimed more at making it easier to catch killers after the fact, rather than prevent killings.

  •  #6 and #7 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, bstotts

    And along comes microstamping:

    Microstamping works much like an ink stamp. Lasers engrave a unique microscopic numeric code on the tip of a gun’s firing pin and breach face. When the gun is fired, the pressure transfers the markings to the shell casings. By reading the code imprinted on casings found at a crime scene, police officers can identify the gun and track it to the purchaser, even when the weapon is not recovered.
    This also solves the problems associated with ballistic analysis which has been questioned due to such things as wear-and-tear.  

    Predictably, the NRA and gun types are against microstamping saying it can be circumvented by criminals and is too expensive ($12 per gun, estimated).

    In California, a gun rights group went so far as to pay to extend a lapsing patent held by the developer to further delay the law from taking effect.  He had wanted the patent to expire and the technology to pass into the public domain.

    The system isn't broken; it's fixed - OWS sign

    by john07801 on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:04:22 PM PST

    •  This technology is not developed yet. (0+ / 0-)

      Marketed?  Yes.  Commercially feasible?  No.

      Plus, firing pins wear, rendering the stamp illegible.  They can easily be accessed and filed/stoned.

      Please remember less than 5% of the gun owners in the USA are members of the NRA.

      As to #7, almost all manufacturers now include a fired case to be delivered to the state, if the state so elects. Results to date from this process have been less than useful.

  •  I think our gun control laws (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cjo30080

    should be modeled on those in Great Britain.

    All modern semi-automatic rifles and all handguns should be banned. Those wishing a license should be required to provide a specific reason. For example, shooting clay pigeons, or deer hunting. And, in general, the license should restrict the use of the gun to a particular shooting range or hunting property. And, valid reasons for owning a gun don't include self defense.

    Before a license is issued, a person's doctor must issue a statement to the effect that they are in good mental health.

    The person wishing to obtain a license must have been trained and certified.

    The local sheriff will be responsible for issuing licenses and must conduct an investigation to insure that the weapon is properly secured in a safe. The local sheriff will also be allowed to make unannounced visits to insure that a gun owner is meeting all legal requirements for gun ownership.

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:26:28 PM PST

    •  MrR - what would you do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      with the 200+ million guns already in circulation? I wonder if the federal government even has the legal authority to confiscate them? You know that tens of millions of guns would be hidden. Your idea sounds like prohibition where we turn law abiding citizens into criminals by passing unenforceable laws.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:59:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I say confiscate and melt them down (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        john07801

        My idea is consistent with the laws in Great Britain and much of Western Europe. I know that anything close to that is unlikely, but I really don't think these assault rifle laws are enough. We really need to get the vast majority of these guns out of circulation.

        As I said, I don't believe that self defense is a legitimate reason for owning a gun given that they more often end up being used to kill people.

        The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

        by Mr Robert on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 02:35:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mr R - good luck with that (0+ / 0-)

          If that's how you feel I say go for a confiscation of nearly all the guns in the US. Please just don't attach the Democratic Party's name to your effort.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 03:22:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If you included that in the repeal language then (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Robert

        you could do it. Make the confiscation of the weapons a part of the amendment that repeals the 2nd amendment. After that if they still had guns they would cease to be law abiding citizens now wouldn't they. If I claim to be a law abiding citizen and I drive drunk then I cease to be a law abiding citizen. They could continue to be law abiding if they turned in their weapons. But if they refuse they are criminals.

        •  Put it in the Amendment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert

          Change or repeal the Second Amendment and confiscate all or nearly all the guns in the US. Proposing that would make all the gun nuts crazy predictions come true. All I ask is that you don't connect it in any way to the Democratic Party.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 03:20:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The article I linked to above (0+ / 0-)

        mentioned that the UK didn't ban semi-automatic rifles until 1987. Then in 1996 they banned all handguns. Prior to that time, I assume there were a lot of guns in circulation. So it can be done. It's just a matter of biting the bullet and getting it done.

        The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

        by Mr Robert on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 03:37:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mental health changes over time, just as does (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      physical health.  One off doctor's exams will catch those already in poor mental health, but not the people who develop problems at a later date.

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        Therefore, doctors should be mandated to report all mental health issues. Doctors already provide reports to the DMV here in California when they consider a person is unfit to drive and this could work pretty much the same way.

        The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

        by Mr Robert on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 03:31:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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