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I'm an Idahoan. I learned how to shoot around age 10, and was a hunter in my youth for years. I'm familiar with firearms, comfortable around them, and know very well what they are capable of doing; I've killed deer, elk, rabbits, ducks, chuckars, pheasants and geese.

I know all about the gun culture and it's mentality. Stick with me past the twisted lasso below; I may have a practical solution to controlling the use of combat weapons.

My hunting days are past now, and so are a lot of other former hunters. Folks still go out here in numbers during hunting season, but as a whole, outdoor sportsmen are thinning out.

The most popular shooting 'sport' out here is laying waste to several junker cars, 55 gallon drums, and old 5 gallon cans out in a field that's declared to be a shooting range. That's where the people who buy assault weapons like the Bushmaster go. They don't want to spend the money or take the time and effort to stalk game any more. If they do buy a game tag, they are just as likely to shoot a deer, tag it and leave it as they are to tag it and then gut and quarter it, and take it home where more processing awaits.

All they really want to do is fill the air with as much lead and gunsmoke as possible, as fast as they can possibly squeeze the trigger. It's the noise, the action and the smoke that gets them off, not the quiet stalking and the quietness and pleasures of being in the field that hunters enjoy. They want to see things like old metal turn into Swiss cheese. They don't want to walk away from a long day with no rounds fired and empty handed. It's sheer quantity of destruction, not the quality of the experience, they want.

We have millions of combat guns everywhere. The Bushmaster is a shitty hunting rifle; the bullet is too small to bring down the most prized big game, and it's made for closer range shooting. When shot in heavy timber, the bullet easily ricochets off small limbs that the larger hunting calibers will plow through and still stay on course.
And no hunter worth his salt would be proud of blasting through a 15 round clip of ammunition. They take pride in one shot, one kill.

There are 2 calibers that are overwhelmingly used in combat rifles; the .223, used by the Bushmaster, AR15, M16 and others, and the .762 round used by the AK-47 and it's variants. The .762 is marginally a better hunting round, but not nearly as good as the .7 magnum, the 30-06, or even the ancient 30-30 calibers, and many other newer hunting calibers.

We slap a heavy tax on some luxury goods, and a whale of a tax on gas guzzling cars. Why no levy a similar tax on the .223 and the .762?

If a gun nut has to shell out $4.00 a round, all of a sudden, shooting an old gas can to smithereens wouldn't be such fun anymore. A 15 round clip would cost $60.00- a tank of gas or a lot of other stuff that's fun. A 30 round clip would cost $120, a price even a dedicated well-off gun nut would think twice about.

These guys buy their ammo in 1,000 round bricks. At $4,000. a brick, that's gotta have an effect on them. (My price is arbitrary, but the tax has to be enough to hurt. The more hurt, the better.)

If we want to make it easier, why not start a buy-back program after the tax has taken a bite? They won't give up their guns as long as the shooting thing is cheap, but once expense is a first consideration, getting some money back on a gun that's no longer used would be a further incentive. And it would take these guns out of the market for good.

There is little we can do about pistols. There are just too many of them, and they are the last redoubt of the gun culture, But like the combat rifles, semi-auto pistols are the big deal now for just the same reasons- lots of smoke, kick and fast shooting. Revolvers are now passé, by and large. But a pistol for self defense and home protection does not need to have a capacity of 13 rounds or more. People defended themselves and their homes and families just fine with 6 in the cylinder for more than 100 years. And revolvers don't jam or misfire as much as automatics. In a desperate pinch, a single action broken revolver can be made to work with rock.

Why not limit the clip size to 6 rounds, just like a revolver, and make any clips with larger capacity than that illegal and as serious as an offense as being caught with hard drugs?

These solutions aren't going to take the guns away from the hands of those who love them. But they will make the gun lovers pay for their senseless fun, and will limit the damage these guns make.

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Comment Preferences

  •  because then the (6+ / 0-)

    bushmaster .224 would be out in a week

    •  Maybe the way to get (0+ / 0-)

      around this (which I fear would be a very real reaction) would be to have a long discussion (you mean a national conversation??) with gun enthusiasts and settle on 3 or 4 types of bullet, all of which would be good for hunting.

      I can see the need for them to be different calibers (using a deer rifle on quail tends to be very hard on the trophy; OTOH I doubt if squirrel hunting ammo could bring down a deer.) But still, I think (and I speak from great ignorance here) you could get down to a short list.

      The short list then could be taxed lightly and EVERY OTHER TYPE of ammo either very heavily taxed or banned outright.

      What I like about the diarist's idea is that it splits off the real sportsmen, hunters and the rural (and sometimes not so rural) poor who hunt to provide for the winter supper table, and the competitive shooters (pistol-, skeet- and rifle-shooting in various forms are in the Olympics for instance) FROM the LaPierre blast 'em all types. This is a fault line we should be doing everything to widen if we are to make progress in "well regulating" our gun situation.


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 05:00:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but then (0+ / 0-)

        assault style weapons would be made in whatever caliber is still available

        •  That is true (0+ / 0-)

          so the idea obviously needs more work. (Licensing with yearly renewal after demonstration of skills, micro-stamping of registration on a gun and every round it fires, etc.)

          OTOH it could be all the EXISTING assault weapons might be rendered more than useless or damned frickin' expensive if they were NOT made in a caliber on the Short List.

          This might need to be accompanied by an ammunition buyback program (like what happens with guns regularly in many locations every week) complete with a "no questions asked" policy.

          I also still like the idea of gun owners being able to register up to, say, 4 weapons (couple of rifles, a shotgun and a pistol) for a nominal, yearly fee and the 5th one costing like $1000 annual fee, the 6th one a $3000 fee, etc.

          Just some further thoughts.


          "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

          by WineRev on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 12:37:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  A good idea, really. (5+ / 0-)

    You hit the nail on the head about those who like shooting assault weapons. I know because I had a favorite spot out in the lavas near Blackfoot, showed to me by a Blackfoot resident. I'm cheap, so no Bushmaster for me. AK-alike and SKS instead. And it's just a hobby. It stays parked for months at a time, and I wouldn't really mind not being able to shoot it any more. I tend to look on the bright side, and that would mean no more cleaning.

    So there you have it, a real solution for the mass shooting problem.

    Now on to finding a solution for the other 95 or whatever percent of gun murders that are not mass shootings. About all those handguns you mentioned....

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 04:46:49 PM PST

  •  Actually, that would work well in conjunction with (5+ / 0-)

    what I've proposed in the past with a "well-regulated militia" based on the Swiss style-- if you want to shoot a "militia" weapon, you join the militia, where you are trained, have to pass a test, and get licensed; then each year you have to re-qualify or lose the license. One such weapon per adult per household, and maybe limit the magazines to two (or whatever) per person. They'd all be on your receipt and inspectable items for the yearly qual shoots.

    A militia member in good standing could get ammo in set quantities each month at the "normal/member" price, non-members pay the heavily taxed price.

    Just more thoughts to kick around.

  •  You may not realize, (7+ / 0-)

    but Connecticut considers the Sig 522 an assault weapon.

    It is a rifle that shoots the .22 lr round, it simply has the audacity of having a pistol grip, an adjustable length buttstock and a removable magazine to qualify as such.

    It is black, it looks like it's big brother, the Sig 556, which does fire an intermediate round, but it still in essence is a .22 plinker the same as the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22.

    "I know it when I see it" type of legislation is idiotic.  There are real answers out there, and until both sides start talking about fundamentals... well, there isn't going to be any useful change of anything.

    Do not get me wrong, I fully support a free wheeling open discussion, I think that once we all get down to brass tacks, some meaningful, long overdue change can be embraced by this country, that we can all be proud of and thankful for.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 06:11:30 PM PST

    •  I know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CA wildwoman

      my proposal is far from perfect and leaves a lot of holes. But I believe that any measure that could modify the current culture is good.

      The core of the problem is that combat weapons are now seen as being cooler than sporting arms. They look a lot like Transformers, the old and still popular children's toys, and they are everywhere in all the popular media.

      Most shooters will never become killers, of anything including game, but the guns go along with the camouflage, night vision goggles, body armor, and all that other cool stuff.

      Something has to be done to reduce the cool factor in a way that does not interfere with the Constitution and all of the gun nut arguments, most of which are exaggerations with a core of truth in them.

      A luxury tax is something these enthusiasts can gripe about, but we already have laws in existence and, as we saw in the Supreme Court decision on Health Care, is something that is less arguable in court. It is something that is a first step, where it seems no first step exists at the moment.

      There will always be plunkers. Let them use traditional sporting arms with .22 shorts, just as they have for many decades.

      Right many are called, and damn few are chosen.

      by Idaho07 on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:46:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is like people who own Pitbulls. (4+ / 0-)

      Why own a pitbull when you can have a coon hound, or a lab, or a retriever?

      It is about image,and the desire to be the meanest Motherfucker in the valley.

      Many pitbulls are adorable pets,but they were bred to be fighters.

      AR15's might be fun to shoot, but they were bred to kill people.

      •  Not quibbling, I have a rescued coonhound (0+ / 0-)

        that due to his upbringing is far more unpredictable and potentially dangerous than any pitbull I've ever met in my life.  I'd never allow him to be in the presence of strangers unless I was personally holding his leash and had him muzzled.  I'm sorry to say, but I have to consider him as I would a loaded gun, and will have to make a tough decision when we decide to have kids.

        I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

        by wretchedhive on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 06:01:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't own a gun but do own a pitbull and I am (0+ / 0-)

        a total wuss.

        I don't fit your stereotype at all.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 08:32:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for the diary. Very illuminating. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA wildwoman

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:32:50 PM PST

  •  I dont have any problem with taxes.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA wildwoman, mindara, BachFan

    ... just remember, that Scotus ruled that REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS were constitutional. Anything too onerous would be ruled an effort to go beyond reasonable.

    Trust me, unlike the forces defending Roe v Wade, the ones defending this point have real muscle.

    However, the price of bullets is already quite high, and the quality has always been an issue, so many gun owners equip themselves with the ability to do their own reloading... aka, making your own bullets. Both cost and quality control have been the driving force for this.

    I'd like to see a multi-tier'd licensing considered. That shotguns and rifles would require a solid first tier background check.... something we DO NOT actually have yet, background checks are pathetically inadequate today... and semi-automatic and "assaulty" looking guns would require a higher much more stringent background check, something akin to a top secret clearance check but with a psyche eval. And finally full-auto machine guns and assault rifles, like actual AK-47's and M4's, would require a much much higher evaluation.

    These are just tiny pieces in a very big system of safety that needs to be built up to prevent seriously mentally ill and violent criminals from legally obtaining firearms. But it is good to discuss and debate each of the myriad elements of the overall system of safety we need to build to put an end, as much as humanly possible, to the insanity of gun violence.

  •  The best thing about this idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA wildwoman, mindara, marina

    It distinguishes among people who have completely different attitudes and actions within what's usually called "the" gun culture.

    This is the kind of conversation we need to have.

  •  Entirely gun nuts will loathe it. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I don't see how this will affect someone who is (0+ / 0-)

    going to commit a gun crime. If your going to murder somone (or a group) the last thing on your mind is how your going to pay your credit card bill for that expensive ammo.

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