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It's very pleasing and inspiring to see all the many wonderful, creative ideas being generated here and elsewhere for how we can institute a rational set of gun policies that protect all Americans - not just the extremist minority who value their impunity over the lives of their fellow citizens and the security of our communities.  Below are some of the best ideas I've seen, covering both the obvious and some very unconventional but highly insightful proposals that I hope are officially explored.  

In no particular order...

1.  Ban weapons whose only practical purpose is waging war - i.e., those that produce maximum body count in minimum time.  There is no legitimate civilian application for such weapons, and no practical scenario where it would ever be justified even in the wildest fantasies of paranoid gun nuttery.  Our government possesses enough nuclear weapons to destroy human civilization, so the possibility of territorial conquest by a foreign power is zero, as is the possibility of militarily defeating a tyrannical domestic regime without having enough political and logistical support from the public that privately-armed groups would be virtually irrelevant and probably insubordinate to the higher-level rebel commanders (as George Washington ended up having to contend with in the Whiskey Rebellion).  

2.  The President calls up the "unorganized militia" (i.e., all gun owners) and subjects them to military-style (but not actual military) discipline, testing, and monitoring.  Not only would this not violate the 2nd Amendment, but in fact the Constitution explicitly mandates it as the purpose of guaranteeing the right to bear arms.  We would see what kind of hypocrites populate the alleged 2nd Amendment crowd if/when the President did this - who only has guns because they see them as toys with no responsibilities attached; who thinks guns are their way to exempt themselves from legal authority, etc.  And he doesn't have to do anything with them once he calls them up, since the national emergency that justifies it is the very lack of discipline and oversight among them that calling them up would rectify.  Basically, this would mean everyone in perpetuity who purchases a gun subjects themselves to this rigor - they would not be denied a gun, but they also cannot shirk the requirements without being brought up on charges equivalent to AWOL or desertion.  (Credit: Plisko)

3.  Hold gun owners legally accountable for whatever happens with their guns (in addition to whoever uses them, obviously), no matter what.  Your gun was stolen?  Well, too bad you didn't take adequate precautions to prevent that, because now you're going to be charged with negligent homicide if a bullet from that gun ends up in a dead body.  And if you knowingly fail to report it stolen to avoid just such accountability, it's no longer mere criminal negligence - it's accessory to whatever crime ends up being committed with the weapon.  Of course, to be fair, there would be a statute of limitations - so you're not going to be arrested because a gun stolen say 10 years ago ends up being used in a crime.  The ways to secure guns are well-known and proven to allow timely access when necessary, so there are simply no excuses at all.

4.  Mandate that all civilian firearms be dyed hot pink both for easier identification and to mess with the minds of gun nuts, who are overwhelmingly misogynistic and homophobic.  I would add the idea that guns should be required to have certain form factors that make them look "feminine," just to more extensively fuck with people whose motives for having guns are juvenile or psychotic and should thus be dissuaded from interest without denying their rights.  You have a right to bear arms, but there is no Constitutional right for guns to look a certain way so the people possessing them will feel cool or manly about doing it.  Anyone responsible enough to safely wield a gun and serious about wanting one should be able to handle looking ridiculous holding them.  Hell, you could even sell it as an added part of the weapon's effectiveness - a criminal would be so startled by how ludicrous you look, their response time would be reduced.  (Credit: Gary in NY)

5.  Ammo tax.  An idea that's been floating around for a while is to heavily tax ammunition so that rampages would be far less likely - e.g., if a single bullet costs $50.  Any legitimate concerns about hampering people's ability to train with their weapons could be solved by exempting ammo provided at licensed and regulated gun ranges that is uniquely stamped on a microscopic level and never leaves the premises.  If any does leave the premises and ends up being used in a crime, all sorts of audits, inspections, penalties, and possible criminal investigations of that gun range and its owners and employees could follow.  So, basically, you can train all you want at these ranges, but as far as what you personally own, you can defend yourself and nothing more - there is no right to rampage.  

6.  Ban high-capacity magazines.  Same rationale as #5 - there is no hunting or self-defense justification for such magazines, and no plausible scenario where having them easily available in civilian life serves a security purpose.  So far they've killed countless people in murder and haven't proved crucial in saving a single life outside of active war zones.  Sold to civilians, they are nothing more than tools of murder that endanger and terrorize law-abiding citizens without giving them back any practical ability to defend themselves - if they unload on an attacker in kind with similar firepower, they just multiply the chaos and danger to those around them.  As the 2nd Amendment explicitly says the purpose of the right to bear arms is the security of a free state, any weapon/ammunition that does the opposite when allowed to proliferate unregulated must be brought under strict control (e.g., armor-piercing rounds, flechettes, etc.) to be in compliance with the Constitution.

7.  Delayed reload.  Impose requirements that reload mechanisms must involve a nontrivial delay that could not be easily circumvented by the user without compromising the ability of the weapon to fire.  If you find yourself in a situation where you've unloaded your gun and are still in immediate danger, most likely you are the one trying to commit a crime - or at least involved in crime enough that someone with a bit of firepower really wants you dead.  And even if you're not a crook, you've endangered the lives of bystanders by being such a reckless, lousy shot.  I think most Americans are willing to take the risk that someday they might be pursued by an unstoppable Terminator - they don't feel like that's a realistic fear.  Because it's not realistic.  So, delayed reload: Built-in opportunity for people to jump a maniac on a rampage.

8.  Hold gun manufacturers personally responsible for designing and selling products specifically optimized for criminal homicide, if not mass murder.  I don't care how many times such attempts at liability or prosecution would fail in court before they finally stick - this is simply a moral imperative, and these people need to feel the heat every minute of every day from every possible angle.

9.  Federal ban on concealed firearms.  Unless you have a good reason to believe you personally are being targeted - like, if you're in the witness protection program, or are being stalked by a violent ex who you think is capable of murder, etc. - there is just no legitimate purpose to carrying concealed firearms.  Fear and the desire to create fear in others is not how a free society makes law, and it obviously does not make people safer or Dallas would be as safe as Tokyo.  Under the vast majority of circumstances, the only reason to hide a weapon is because you obtained it illegally and/or intend to use it in a crime.  That obviously violates the "security of a free state" the 2nd Amendment speaks of.

All of this creates a multi-tiered system of accountability and murder prevention while still maintaining the right to bear arms.  And on a tangential but not wholly unrelated subject, we can open up space in the jails for the violent people and criminally irresponsible death fetishists by ending the War on Drugs.  If someone wants to have fun and doesn't hurt anyone or do themselves enough damage to see them as suicidal, leave them the hell alone and mind your own damn business.  If someone does OD or endanger others with their drug use, send them to rehab.  And someone who won't accept even the most basic legal and Constitutional responsibilities of gun ownership because they see them as toys or macho statements, endangering however many lives, that's who you lock up.  The people who take upon themselves the power of an army but are so reckless they don't secure their guns from theft or accident, that's who you lock up.  And people in suits who make a hundred million dollars a year selling products whose only function is murder, that's who you lock up.  See how fast the actual street criminals at the bottom of the market run out of weapons supply when you hold the people higher up the chain accountable.

12:55 PM PT: I won't be able to answer comments until later this evening, so please excuse my not responding immediately.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here's my brilliant idea. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, fhcec, SilentBrook, Troubadour

    1. Let them continue to sell assault weapons.

    2. Require first a full psych eval for everybody who wants to buy one to make sure they aren't nuts who enjoy the idea of killing people, aren't preparing for doomsday zombie apocalypses, don't believe weird conspiracy theories about alien presidents they have to take up arms again.

    I love it.  It doesn't keep anybody from owning guns, doesn't keep the gun companies from selling them.  It just means that people who want their man card will have to tell Dr. Phil how their dad made them feel so insecure.  And whenever somebody tells you that he has an assault rifle, you can ask him, "So how did your psych eval go?"

    Even better, the people who would complain the most about this would be the worst of the crazies, and their complaints would further taint their arguments and discredit them.  "That bastard Obama's doing this psych eval thing to keep us from forming our armies to protect Freedom!"  Sounds great when you put it all together that way in one sentence.

    How about NRA and gun show bumper stickers: "STOP THE PSYCH EVALS NOW!"

    •  help men, esp., who are burdened (5+ / 0-)

      with feeling of inferiority due to gender to get some time in support groups.

      This article exploring gender and gun violence is interesting... and makes more sense than anything else I've seen.

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:30:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  More bumper stickers: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, Troubadour






      Just some easy ones that popped into my head.

      I think we could absolutely positively 100% guarantee there would be threats against the life of psych evaluators, possibly even actions requiring SWAT teams and 24 hour network news helicopter cameras reporting live.  SWAT team negotiators could promise to let the gun nuts have all the guns they want if they just let the nice hostages go and come out peacefully.

  •  Another one to include: (6+ / 0-)

    Criminal background checks for every single firearms transfer (currently only 60% of gun sales involve a background check).

    "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

    by JR on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:03:43 PM PST

  •  Mandate background checks for all gun sales (5+ / 0-)

    no matter if it's in a store or gun show.  Mandate paperwork be filed no matter where the gun sale takes place, including out of the trunk of a car.  Otherwise, you still legally are responsible for what happens with the gun, since you didn't follow the law in disposing of it.

    Mandate all states must fill out information on mental health and the rest of the things the federal database is supposed to contain but that states, due to budget cuts, political distaste for federal tracking of individuals or whatever haven't done.  Levy penalties on states that fail to comply, but give them the carrot from the heavy taxes not just on bullets but on the guns themselves.  Make a gun cost $5000 and people will be a lot more careful with them (and collect far fewer).

    I personally like that militia idea - it could be at the local, state or national level, but mandate that participation in the militia be a condition for gun ownership.  If a person can't physically be in a militia, there are other ways they can train, but don't let people skip out on their Constitutional obligations.

  •  One other one to put out there. (6+ / 0-)

    This is a little more complicated, but I think it's worth a mention:

    Reclassify semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines as Category II weapons.

    Category II weapons include things like machine guns and sawed-off shotguns and explosives. They are more strictly regulated, require registration, and cost several hundred dollars to transfer. Add to this a new AWB and a vigorous buyback program to get existing weapons off the streets, and I think you can make a serious dent in our domestic small arms proliferation problem.

    "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

    by JR on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:11:36 PM PST

    •  That would be interesting. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It would also immediately cease production of new semi autos, making all existing semi autos MORE valuable.

      Good luck with that buyback program. You'd have to start allocating five thousand per weapon MINIMUM to get the weapon turned into the program rather than sold to the highest bidder.

      Good luck with that.

  •  Nationalize gun sales, paralleling alcohol sales (3+ / 0-)

    Some states have state-owned entities that sell alcohol and/or cigarettes. They minimize advertizing and are not particularly conveniently located.

    They certainly don't outnumber grocery stores.

    They make the product available but don't push it.

    That approach likely reduces the incentive to innovate, and provides a centralized, well controlled tax mechanism. The state could also refuse to carry specialized weapons (AK-47, etc.) except after very strict licensing procedures and a year long wait (as seems to happen in Australia).

    To get it started, institute a mandatory buy back of assault rifles and pistols, without penalty during the first six months. Buy gun factories, forbid private ownership in the future.

    Failure to comply would carry heavy penalties - financial and time served.

    Then make the guns available after buyer completes a serious examination (cf Australia), as described above.

    Collect substantial taxes upon sale, require annual updating of license and gun check in person.

    Sales taxes used for enforcement, mental health, and anti-violence interventions in school, community, and prison settings.

    This would create the "well regulated militia"  the Constitution recognizes.

    "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

    by fhcec on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:26:44 PM PST

  •  Why not just reinstate the assault rifle ban? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sailorben, Troubadour

    The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

    by Memory Corrupted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:34:53 PM PST

    •  It was largely useless to begin with. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, 43north

      The reasoning behind it failed to produce anything worthwhile. Basically, it prohibited features that didn't affect the actual function of the guns involved.

      Like the adjustable stock - those things are made so that the rifle can be properly held by someone with long arms or someone with short arms. A lot like adjustable seats in a car, you move the seat up for short people and move it back for tall folks.

      Does that sound like it would be something useful in a law? Or does it sound more like something from a "stupid laws of the US" website?

      The flash suppressor was another dumbass bit of the first ban. Sometimes there is an amount of muzzle flash from the front of a gun - ANY gun. The flash suppressor does just that... it takes the fire flash that might be coming out and reduces it. But it looked OH SO SCARY to the ignorant folks who wrote the law, so an actual piece of safety equipment got treated like it was a source of danger.

      The first AWB is rightly considered a mishmash of largely bad laws. Even the so-called high-cap magazine ban was basically pushing people toward the highly reliable normal length magazines. If you're afraid of guns, it's a piss poor idea to make a law that pushes people toward the quality gear.

      It's no wonder that the people who push such legislation are considered out of their depth.

      •  Was that an intentional slight? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I neither claim nor desire the mantle of "gun laws guru", it was a direct question.  Having said that, wiki says your arguments are the NRA's arguments.  the ban included:

        Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following: Folding or telescoping stock
         Pistol grip
         Bayonet mount
         Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
         Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device that enables launching or firing rifle grenades, though this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those mounted externally).
         Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following: Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
         Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
         Barrel shroud that can be used as a hand-hold
         Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
         A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.
         Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following: Folding or telescoping stock
         Pistol grip
         Fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds
         Detachable magazine...
        The Act also defined and banned 'large capacity ammunition feeding devices'... Depending on the locality and type of firearm, the cutoff between a 'normal' capacity and 'high' capacity magazine was 3, 7, 10, 12, 15, or 20 rounds. The now defunct federal ban set the limit at 10 rounds.
        This all seems like a good start to me.  

        The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. A. A. Milne

        by Memory Corrupted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:18:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Model Legislation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sailorben, Troubadour

    The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has model legislation. Would the dozen bills described there work if they were passed on the federal level? If not, what would be better?

  •  Federal buy-back of high capacity magazines n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, Troubadour

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:56:18 PM PST

  •  Gun buy backs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    These are such great ideas. Can you imagine the revenue increase from a tax on guns and bullets?  Make it huge. That is one of the reasons tobacco use is not as popular.
    I also think that there should be money earmarked (maybe from higher taxes on bullets and guns) to start gun buyback programs across the country. Maybe some of the family members of all the recent massacres could travel across and around the Country  asking for people to "sell back guns" Make it an amount that would strongly encourage people to sell them back. Let's get some of these weapons out of circulation.

  •  what ever new law/s pass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Have been written, ages ago.
    They will be fine tuned to gain supporters
    If Dems are willing to fold on Social security, medicare & Medicaid...i mean compromise away their past commitment...
    Dont expect much
    Everyone who's been following the debate, knows what's on the table, but WTF, why not just pull tons of random shit outta my ass & fling it around...

    Kenyan Socialism today Kenyan Socialism tomorrow Kenyan Socialism forever May his reign last 1,000 years

    by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:03:52 PM PST

  •  Great work, Troubador -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    -- again!.

    I always enjoy your work but lately you've been just superb!  Thanks!

  •  Agree with buy-backs and amnesty turn-ins, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, Troubadour

    and I think a mandatory 25-year sentence for any crime committed with a gun would go a long way towards making them more effective.

    It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

    by sboucher on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:33:17 PM PST

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