Yes, yes, another gun diary. I know they are getting somewhat repetitive, but I still want to put my thoughts on it down somewhere, and this is a place where at least it will be read a few times.
And no, this is neither an anti-gun rant, nor a pro-gun rant. This is, in my mind at least, something of a middle ground.
Follow me down below the Glorious Orange Croissant, for my take on the whole thing.
Ok, so first, a couple of quick opinions.
1) Should everyone have access to an assault rifle? No. Sorry, just no.
2) Should they be banned completely, or should there be an available route to ownership? I believe there should, in fact, be an available route to ownership.
Assault rifles, in and of themselves, aren't evil. Banning them creates more of a black market for these, and SMGs, etc.
Here's another opinion for you. It's easy to make policy decisions from an emotional state of mind. It's not always good policy. In fact, I'd say it's almost always bad policy.
So, you're asking yourself, what would you do, Doug, to work through this?
Regulation. That evil, evil word.
I think even the anti-gun crowd can agree that there's one organization that does a pretty stellar job of training people in the use, care and respect of high powered weapons. That group would be the Military.
I don't find it horribly unreasonable to say that for these sorts of weapons, it should be required that you go through something more than a 10 session firearms course at your local gun club.
So to me, that path to ownership I discussed? Yeah, the Military. You want to own an AR-15, or an Uzi or the like? Groovy. Join the service. Go through, arguably, the best weapons training course in the world. You do that, I don't have an issue with you owning military grade hardware, as long as you aren't kicked out.
Oh, but one caveat to that, that I also feel is fair. If you screw up with these weapons? Judgment would be handled through military courts. You have the right to own and use them, but with rights come responsibilities. You've been trained in their safe use. If you violate that, you have failed in your responsibilities.
I do see three levels of ownership.
1) As stated above, military service. This would give you access to any legal firearm, with the understanding that these are military hardware, and can/will be dealt with by those who know them best...the military.
2) Police/Sheriff/Game Warden/Etc.. Law Enforcement. Two points here.
a) The military should use reservists or guardsmen or the like to run a law enforcement boot camp on advanced weaponry.
b) Completion of this program gives you work access to military grade weaponry, and private access to a somewhat more limited selection. (Say, for example, no assault or sniper rifles)
3) Civilian - Yes, I believe civilians have the right to bear arms. Giving them a pathway to ownership of the more advanced hardware lets us limit this. Hunting rifle? Absolutely. Shotgun? Yep. Handguns? Of course. AR-15? See above.
a) Much like a) above, put together a civilian firearms training course. Completion of this (much simpler) course is a requirement.
So that's that. However, there are certain things that make sense in all three categories.
1) Ammo limits. Let gun ranges sell practice ammo by the gross if desired, but it must be used on the range, and what isn't used can be refunded. For purchase? I won't debate what the number might be here, but a reasonable limit on how much you can get.
2) Recertification. From 13-21, yearly. From 21-55, every other year. From 55 on, back to yearly. Continue to prove that you not only have the skill to safely use the weapon, but the knowledge to keep it safe.
3) Yes, I feel there should be some insurance requirement.
Now obviously, this isn't anything remotely like a fleshed out argument, but more basic thoughts. I'm sure of those who read, there will be disagreements from both ends of the spectrum, but I really do feel like something in this vein is the way to go.
Thanks for reading,