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As an engineer, I find myself drawn to taking a systematic approach to solving a lot of our society's problems. Start by laying out requirements, find an option that works, no matter how strange it might seem, and work out the details. In this diary, I will lay out an alternative proposal for managing gun ownership in the United States that might stand a chance of both passing congress and making a difference.

I've already tested this on many of the hardcore gun-nuts at work, and all find it plausible.

In no particular order, here are the attributes that, at least in my opinion, any sensible gun control proposal in the present day should have.

1) It should be simple in scope and easy to understand, even if it has far reaching consequences.

2 It should take into account the reality of gun ownership now, and the framework needs to be effective now and in the future.

3 It should be stable, with a single framework able to adapt and stay relevant even as technology and politics change.

4 It should protect "gun rights" and doesn't need to be more intrusive than the framework for other dangerous hobbies such as private aviaton.

5 It should limit the need for new government expenditures in oversight and criminal enforcement.

6) It should be defensible, preferably in the form of a buzz-phrase that makes it easy to paint opponents of the reform as silly.

First, let's talk about a few concepts on the table that won't work:

1) Restrictions on the features of guns (combination locks integrated into the gun itself) won't limit gun ownership. California has very strict gun laws, and it isn't hard to find clones of modern assault rifles that are "cal-legal", engineered to bypass the restrictions while keeping the guns just as deadly. Can't own an automatic weapon? Try a bump fire stock. Can't carry a million bullets in one magazine? Try a  speed loader .  Human ingenuity will find clever ways around technical restrictions, turning the whole enterprise into a ridiculous game of whack-a-mole.

2) Restrictions imposing specific security measures on guns (suc as keypads or combination locks) won't work for two reasons, one technological and one regulatory:
Is simply impossible to gain security by means of a passive unattended safety device. Those devices may fail just like the mechanical safety of the gun itself. Clever individuals, just like XBox modders and pickers, will find ways to bypass those security features. For the case of standardized measures, tools for the repair of locking systems will be available, and the locks won't be of any use at all against criminals.

The second problem with authorized user locks is more subtle. In general, the more effective the protection measure, the more the protection measure will interfere with timely access to the weapon, and the less "useful" the weapon will be. Reactive target shooting, like Olympic skeet and trap, off duty police and government agents for self defense, and any number of other situations hat require quick access to a weapon will inevitably secure an exception to an authorized user gun. In short, the more effective physical protection measures are, the more guns will be in circulation that do not have the locks.

3) Absolute restrictions on ownership are likely to be struck down by the supreme court, and risk having holes poked in them by courts and lobby groups.

The details of the plan are below the fold.

My proposal is simple:

Explicitly change to US tort law to establish strict liability  for the owner of a firearm regarding any use or transfer of that firearm, with a large cap (in the case of tort reform) of perhaps $500,000. This kind of liability already exists for firearms when one pulls the trigger, so this would be a fairly simple extension of that.

Change [18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30] from "no reason to believe" to "reason to not believe" or a similar legal construct.

The buzz-phrase is simple: "As a responsible gun owner, aren't you responsible for what happens with your gun?"

The idea here is that we establish a collective responsibility for gun owners to prevent guns from being misused by making gun owners responsible for what those guns do, even in someone else's hands. This is identical in concept to existing child protection laws.  If a gun is used in a crime or accident, then the legal gun owner becomes an accessory to civilly culpable for that crime or accident.

How would this help?

Keeping a gun unsecured, selling it to a total stranger, and any of another thousand irresponsible things that a gun owner can do (and if you ask most responsible gun owners, they will insist that they never do) opens the door to a wrongful death lawsuit if your gun is used to kill someone.

Gun owners have only three options to manage that liability. First, option is due diligence. Be strict about access. Keep guns under lock and key, follow recommendations on responsible access, don't advertise them, and sell them through licensed dealers, etc. But even that may not be enough since it only one disagreement between the gun owner and a jury whether a provision was sufficient. So the second option is the same one we use for cars or houses: Insurance. The third option is to stop being the owner of the gun (which removes the liability).

And just like cars or houses, insurance companies are free to ask any questions they wish before providing coverage, and charge rates based on your actual risk of being found culpable. Having to buy insurance on a gun also poses a stark reminder that guns do cause society harm, and that they need to be handled responsibly.

The big key here is the strict liability.  All guns in private hands are sold through a dealer to a private person. If that gun is sold (and the liability with it), it becomes important to establish proof that the liability has gone as well. Since the liability is strict, the legal owner of the gun is automatically culpable regardless of intent without due diligence. That means keeping the records of the sale, following the law to make sure the sale is legal, etc. Otherwise all a gun owner has done is loan a gun out without supervision.

We all know what ways guns need to be kept and owned so that they're not stolen, not misused, not accessed by children, etc. This creates a self enforcing system where the victims or families of victims of gun crime force ALL gun owners in the country to act responsibly, or face financial devastation.

Now we get to the slightly harder piece to manage: private buying and selling of guns.
Current law establishes that a licensed gun dealer who runs a background check on someone has done due diligence that they're not a criminal, and can sell them a gun. Buying guns through mail order and through the internet requires the help of a gun store.

By strengthening the private transfer rule just a little, ignorance is stripped out of the equation. By removing willful ignorance from the liability equation. With every sale scrutinized, due diligence on each transfer of a firearm is just as important to keeping them under control.

In short: If you buy a gun, you are now responsible, in civil court if not criminal, if that gun is used to hurt or kill someone. Period. Being a gun owner means having the personal responsibility to prevent people from using that gun in a crime. The only way to walk away from that responsibility is to destroy the firearm, or transfer it to a responsible individual, and you are personally responsible for making sure that the person who you sell the gun to is legally allowed to receive it. (Federally licensed dealers are automatically allowed to receive guns, so selling a gun to or through a gun store is an example of how, even under a strict system, gun owners aren't left high and dry.)

How does this framework get past classic opposition groups:

Firearms dealers now have an additional source of revenue, as law abiding citizens approach them more frequently to mediate transactions. Gun shops charge a fee to process those transactions.

This system wouldn't actually require any new limitations on ownership, nor would it require any new government intrusion into people's homes. All but the most virulent no-gun-regulation republicans should be able to support such a measure.

Even the NRA should be behind such a proposal, since this idea would create an environment that strengthens the incentives for people to do what the NRA itself even

Bottom Line:

Strict liability would improve the overall responsibility of gun ownership in this country by rendering irresponsible gun owners financially unable to continue being gun owners. Backdoor gun dealers who make money selling guns anonymously (and under current law, their business model is perfectly legal), would find themselves similarly unable to finance their business.

Since the overwhelming majority of legally owned guns are never used in a crime, but a huge proportion of guns used in crimes are or were recently legally owned, finding ways to enforce what most responsible gun owners do anyway would help a lot.

Originally posted to PiRierran on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:49 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (152+ / 0-)
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    Christian Dem in NC, Sailorben, elfling, Superribbie, KateCrashes, blackjackal, xgy2, Eowyn9, Wee Mama, rb608, Joy of Fishes, Dogs are fuzzy, Starbrite, MichaelNY, BusyinCA, NYFM, Angie in WA State, linkage, Aaa T Tudeattack, hungeski, Arabiflora, Wheever, GeorgeXVIII, bread, JMcDonald, prfb, lakehillsliberal, randomfacts, RudiB, Gary of Austin, just another vortex, andontcallmeshirley, StevenD56, Simplify, radarlady, TheMeansAreTheEnd, rustypatina, dot farmer, dadadata, oldpunk, hlsmlane, murrayewv, Yamara, WI Deadhead, zeke7237, Hillbilly Dem, Cartoon Messiah, Iberian, Nance, quadmom, BachFan, BlueMississippi, GDbot, emal, deha, koNko, gzodik, Bisbonian, rapala, kestrel9000, bkamr, cassandracarolina, maskling11, PeterHug, se portland, WearyIdealist, Cintimcmomma, tytalus, Desert Scientist, mamamedusa, Da Rock, Loudoun County Dem, marathon, chrississippi, Texknight, nolagrl, Sychotic1, marleycat, Sharon Wraight, rodentrancher, tonyahky, fixxit, Glen The Plumber, TexasTom, dle2GA, fisheye, Ice Blue, wader, ricklewsive, tegrat, Joieau, cocinero, stormicats, Noodles, eyesoars, LWelsch, Karen Hedwig Backman, peachcreek, End game, Smoh, Ohiodem1, pdknz, 1BQ, rogerdaddy, mofembot, a2nite, offgrid, dotsright, The Pseudorandom Cat, BlueStateRedhead, ogre, john07801, Chi, DefendOurConstitution, mdcalifornia, semiot, OllieGarkey, camlbacker, Alumbrados, Miggles, AdamSelene, Rhysling, petulans, science nerd, jeff in nyc, cassandraX, Davui, jakewaters, Chaddiwicker, Bule Betawi, reflectionsv37, Mathazar, jamess, liz, RunawayRose, Black Maned Pensator, ebohlman, CyberDem, 88kathy, Southern Lib, pino, TxTiger, JerryNA, caul, rlb, redcedar, anana, chicagoblueohio, splashy, madhaus, Oh Mary Oh, kyril
  •  This makes great sense to me. (12+ / 0-)

    How, then, to get it into the current legislative considerations going on right now?

    "THERE IS NO JUSTICE. THERE IS JUST US." spoken by DEATH in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

    by Sailorben on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:10:02 PM PST

    •  Let's see how this works... (12+ / 0-)

      The ideas presented have some merits.  Let's pretend such legislation is on the books and see how it works.

      Under the proposal, Ms. Lamza has strict liability for the use of her guns in the Sandy Hook shootings.  So there are now 20 parents who can sue the snot out of Ms. Lamza.  Which is equally true under current law.  She of course is dead, and will not face economic ruin.  The 20 parents may have a clear path to getting whatever money exists in Ms. Lamza's estate, but what they want is their children alive and healthy.

      Or what about the kid who mishandles a loaded gun and shoots himself or a friend?  Yes, the parents can sue the gun owner, but their child is still dead.  And the majority of Americans are not worth suing: their net worth is less than the costs of hiring a lawyer and filing suit.

      My two complaints about the proposal; 1) it does nothing to decrease a huge tide of preventable deaths; 2) the proposal fails to address the most universal and reliable aspect of any human activity: humans make mistakes (i.e. we don't need a way to assign blame after a mistake has been made, we need a way to prevent mistakes from occurring).  

      In the main, I agree with the idea of holding gun owners strictly liable for their guns, and the idea of asking all gun owners to carry liability insurance or pay into a state-administered compensation fund.

      But I do not see the proposal as effecting a large decrease in gun injuries and deaths.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:48:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the perfect is the (4+ / 0-)

        enemy of the good.

        Jesus died to save you from Yahweh.

        by nolagrl on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:22:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Misspelling (0+ / 0-)

        That's (or rather, that was) Lanza.

      •  I think the notion is that strict liability will (10+ / 0-)

        over time change the gun culture in this country. Without taking away people's guns or adding a long list of restrictions people will themselves divest themselves of guns that are not important to them and take better care of the ones they keep.

        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:11:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And yes, there is a utility to that (3+ / 0-)

          I agree that holding gun owners to stricter liability standards help to change the way Americans view gun ownership and use.

          And I agree that such a change can be a benefit.

          But such a change does little to impact the biggest current problem of guns in America: the number of people injuried or killed by guns.  There may be some small decline in the numbers injuried or killed by guns over time as the "gun culture" changes.  And that would be a good thing.

          We know from empiric research that gun injuries and deaths are highly positively correlated with measures of gun availability.  It follows that decreases in gun availability will be accompanied by decreases in gun injuries and deaths.

          If the goal is a reduction of gun injuries and deaths, we should focus our efforts on reducing gun availability.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:38:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Over time, thank god, maturity will help as well, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          even all else remaining the same. But, as they say "every little bit"...

          There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

          by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:32:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  OTOH, Ms. Lanza presumably didn't expect to (0+ / 0-)

        be killed by her son.  She might have been more careful with them if she had any reason to think he'd go on a shooting spree with her guns and leave her liable for damages.  

        Renewable energy brings national global security.     

        by Calamity Jean on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:20:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree, but... (0+ / 0-)

        The problems PiRierran points out are real, even if some can be argued. In particular, the idea that specific restrictions built into guns during manufacture can be circumvented is true, but so what? The example referenced (the Xbox mod scene) is a good case in point: yes, people can and do circumvent Microsoft's access controls and restrictions. But the number of people who do so is miniscule compared to the people who don't know how or can't be bothered. There's no reason to think that won't also be the case with guns. Reducing a problem by even 50% is still better than not addressing it at all.

        But the other points are, I think, reasonable. Particularly the idea that any absolute restriction on gun ownership is unlikely to pass Constitutional muster. For me, that's a purely practical consideration. I think the idea that gun control legislation should be required to "protect 'gun rights'" is ludicrous, roughly akin to the argument that any clean air legislation should protect the freedom of private industry from any and all environmental regulation. Unfortunately, we're stuck with the reality that, yes, Amendment II to the United States Constitution fairly unequivocally protects the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. We can't really ignore that fact, or any legislation we do manage to pass is almost certainly going to be overturned by the Supreme Court.

        But what does that mean, honestly? Because a group of people from 225 years ago thought something was reasonable doesn't end the debate forever. Simply screaming "second amendment!" doesn't win the argument, any more than screaming "Jim Crow!" justified racial inequality in the 1950s, or screaming "divine right of kings!" saved Louis XVI in 1790s France. We should damn well be having a discussion about whether or not the second amendment is still something we consider inviolate, or whether it's time to get the ball rolling on repealing it.

        Admittedly, that's a much more difficult argument to make, by design. Amending the Constitution is a difficult process, and there's very likely not enough support to make it happen now. So that's a long-term, public relations issue, albeit one we have no excuse to not start working on now. In the interim, proposals like the one suggested PiRierran are reasonable stopgap measures that will hopefully help to mitigate problems while we continue to work on swaying opinion towards a more comprehensive solution.

        •  When the second amendment was written (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy, seancdaug

          military arms were cannons, rifles, muskets, swords, or pikes. The only gun available to a farmer was the same gun available to the military.

          It wasn't until the franco-prussian war, eighty years later, that cannons became decisive against infantry.

          It is only recently, (perhaps since the sixties) that even the  service rifles used by the military have become far and away overkill compared to a bolt action rancher's or hunter's gun.

          Times have changed, and the second amendment has become obsolete as a method of meeting its intent. An armed populace is not a military threat to a sophisticated military force. We proved that in Iraq, and Afghanistan.

          •  Oh, I absolutely agree (0+ / 0-)

            But it is, at present, the law of the land. That should be changed, but the process for doing so is long, involved, and difficult. Which I have to accept, given that I'm not entirely keen on the other 25 amendments currently in force being overturned on a whim.

            But I've been saying for a long time that we need to start having that discussion, as a country, and not act like pointing out the existence of Amendment II is the end of the discussion.

  •  asdf (14+ / 0-)
    Even the NRA should be behind such a proposal, since this idea would create an environment that strengthens the incentives for people to do what the NRA itself even
    You don't really think that do you? The NRA's words and actions are hardly a model of consistency.
    •  I think exactly that (13+ / 0-)

      the NRA SHOULD be behind it. And pointing out that it mirrors the NRA's own words backs them into a corner.

      I don't know that they actually WILL be behind it, but by making common cause it makes it harder for the NRA to sell the opposite to thinking people.

      Of course a small fraction of the public would decry such a proposal, but if a big enough majority get behind it...

      •  Just that easy. Not that simple. (12+ / 0-)

        Kudos on a superb analysis and explanation of the problem and a good solution. Makes me wish devoutly that Congress was composed of a whole bunch of engineers. Your solution is elegant, in my opinion.

        The problem is that Congress is composed of politicians, which are creatures who deal not in facts, numbers, science, or even reason. They deal in graft, power, and greed and they are there above all else to make money and to answer to money.

        An engineer takes up an issue and asks, "What is the most efficient, effective solution?"

        A politician takes up an issue and asks, "How can I get the most out of this for me?"

        We began this great experiment in self-government with a Congress that had managing the country in mind, that turned their attention to governance. It all turned to shit in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

        We got back on track pretty much after that family scrap, but since 1980, it's all gone to shit again. The nation is as divided politically and economically now as it has ever been.

        It doesn't matter how sensible a plan you present to this Congress -- their first response will be to line up on either side of it and start flinging verbal feces at each other, all for the purpose of gaining more votes, more power, more contributions from whomever is backing them. Their first task will be to turn it into a circus and keep it that way as long as it benefits them.

        You need to huddle with some politically savvy cynics and solve the problem of forcing Congress to pass your proposals as written, not watered down to the status quo.

        That, my friend, is as simple as rolling a rock up Mount Everest. It does not benefit the majority of politicians in Congress personally to pass gun control of any kind.

        Quite the opposite is the case.

        •  As another engineer (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Notreadytobenice, offgrid, Alumbrados

          I would construct my own IRBM to escape from a nation governed exclusively by engineers, if that's what it took to get away. ;)

          •  The Technocracy Movement (wiki): (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund, Starbrite


            The technocracy movement is a social movement which arose in the early 20th century. Technocracy was popular in the USA for a brief period in the early 1930s, before it was overshadowed by other proposals for dealing with the crisis of the Great Depression. The technocrats proposed replacing politicians and businesspeople with scientists and engineers who had the technical expertise to manage the economy.
            I can see ya now on top of your intermediate range ballistic missile heading for Vancouver - or will you need to go inter-continenetal? :-)
        •  This is a problem with any gun control ideas. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, TxTiger, JerryNA

          What makes sense to you and me does not necessarily make sense to a upcoming politico. That is precisely why it has been so difficult to get sensible legislation past the congress and why things have not been done that should have been.

          I agree with the liability as a major thrust, but also think you need to require proper safety training, which I'm sure insurance companies would demand.  I realize that banning large capacity clips and assault rifles would not work in our society, but should in a more sane one. We are just insane when it comes to guns (or at least many of us are!)

          I do not believe that we can, or should, ban guns, but I do believe that we should restrict gun ownership and use at least as much as we do that of private airplanes or autos.  The liability idea might accomplish this as there is nothing that strikes fear in the heart as the possibility of lawyers getting involved!

          Good thought.

        •  You'll notice, however, that an engineer dismisses (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          reflectionsv37, JerryNA

          ... controlling guns on engineering terms and puts the problem over on to insurance companies, state-administered funds and lawyers.

          I'm not sanguine about those prospects.

          It is ready availability of guns and ammo that is the problem. Guns are inherently dangerous. The most staunch gun advocate realizes that and the responsible ones take precautions accordingly. It's the amazingly loose laws on the manufacture, sale and trading of guns that are the problem and, unfortunately, only a part of the solution. But some part is better than the NRA's strategy of blaming everything else that's wrong about society and refusing to change.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:34:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  As should be all responsible gun owners. n/t (0+ / 0-)

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

        by DefendOurConstitution on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:09:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong is constant . (0+ / 0-)

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:48:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a fellow inguneer, I commend your (16+ / 0-)

    systematic approach to laying out the issues and proposal !

    Thanks for posting.

    "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

    by New Rule on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:42:05 PM PST

  •  I'm on board. Simple, logical and as far as I can (8+ / 0-)

    see unassailable on constitutional grounds, which should make it more feasible.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:18:28 PM PST

  •  This is a worthy concept, but the Second Amendment (13+ / 0-)

    prohibits "infringement" of the right to keep and bear arms. That one word is probably the prime reason  for the Supreme Court's lenience toward gun-addiction.

    I would advocate for the total non-infringement of an American citizen's right to bear a single-shot, single-use, "disposable" firearm for personal defense. Hell, I'd even grant the right to carry a concealed muzzle-loader without a permit.

    But reloadable, repeating firearm should come with heavy legal accountability, just as you suggest. There would be no "government seizures", just a gradual evolution of attitude.

    Nancy Lanza probably never dreamed that her weapons would one day be used against her by her own son. But she might have been highly motivated by the fear that she could lose her home to a lawsuit, if her son ever got ahold of one and "did something stupid" with it.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:38:11 PM PST

  •  A lawyer's take on an engineer's take (26+ / 0-)

    I'm on board with strict liability, but I think you're too quick to dismiss some of the feature restrictions in #1. The AWB and California's law aren't drafted sufficiently to block variants on designs like the AR-15. That doesn't in any way mean they can't be. It's a problem of statutory construction, not human ingenuity.

    What you're talking about in terms of "Cal-legal" and similar variants aren't inherent aspects of regulation, but basically work-arounds for weak legislation. There are legislative solutions that can restrict weapon type/capacity to enough of a degree that it eliminates many of those work-arounds. For example, you could restrict firearms based on designs originally meant for military purposes, or specifically those based on AK-47 and AR-15 designs. Then empower a state agency to determine which firearms fall under the provision: manufacturers could always sue if they think a determination is incorrect. You could also legislate a maximum magazine capacity that applies to internal/attached and external/detachable magazines. That would have the effect of limiting rate of fire and requiring more regular reloading. (And, as a shooter, speed loaders cannot realistically be looked at as replacements for high-capacity magazines, any more than stripper clips can be viewed like ammunition belts.)

    This isn't to deny engineers and other ingenious people their due, but to say that just because we haven't summoned the political will in the past to legislate with some real teeth, doesn't mean that the task is legislatively impossible to achieve. Technical limitations shouldn't be written off so quickly.

    "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

    by JR on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:53:36 PM PST

    •  Nearly every firearm design in existance.... (7+ / 0-)

      is derived directly from a military design.

      So you're going to have to narrow that some more.  If you can.

      •  Not difficult. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Either specify by type (variants on the AK-47 or AR-15, etc.), or limit by year of design (since 1939, for example).

        But also consider that most revolvers, many target pistols, shotguns, and all manner of rifles would still be exempted, either because they aren't meant or designed for military use, or because they were designed well before being adopted by military forces. If I'm remembering correctly, those with military ties were largely designed without military purpose or military funding, and were later adopted into service: repeater rifles, pump-action shotguns, double-barrel shotguns, single-action revolvers...these were, I believe, all designed without military involvement and were later adopted. Perhaps a better way of phrasing the initial sentence would have been "...based on designs meant initially for military production or created in response to military requests."

        "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

        by JR on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:20:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  arbitrary and capricious (0+ / 0-)

          distinctions are "not difficult" ... ever.

          The 1911 .45 ACP is named after its first year as a standard issue US military sidearm ... so tell me exactly why that pistol is subject to more or less rational regulation than the Glock, which came into service production in 1982?

          And variants?  All semi-automatics are variants ... as all carbines are carbines ... and all removable magazines are removable magazines.  Making a principled qualification as both a technical and policy matter is much harder than some would suggest.

          And a central distinction between military and civilian use for smaller caliber weapons that you suggest is already heavily regulated -- the full automatic capability.

          Early design criteria or history also has little direct rational relation  to whether a particular firearm was or was not adopted for some level of military use.

          A more direct approach to addressing gun violence requires policy focus on underlying socio-demographic factors.  Over broad regulation that ignores truly relevant statistical patterns and frequencies will produce only resentments and little other consequential impact.  

          For example, the AWB which focuses on tactical carbines, black guns, assault weapons or even "nut job killing machines" -- whatever your preferred terminology -- is an entirely misplaced focus, even in rampage or mass murder spree killings, where use of s-a handguns, revolvers and shotguns is far more prevalent by better than a 3:1 ratio.

          The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

          by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:41:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Several faults here: (0+ / 0-)

            First, the full-auto distinction is a red herring: nobody is talking about fully automatic weapons here, and there is no reason to leap to them.

            Second, I fully recognize that "early design criteria or history also has little direct rational relation  to whether a particular firearm was or was not adopted for some level of military use." If you read more closely, you'll notice that's not the distinction I'm making. I'm distinguishing between designs requested/commissioned for military purpose and those that were subsequently adopted for military use. The AR-15 and AK-47 were both designed at the behest of military forces: the Henry repeater was not. That all were used militarily doesn't weigh on the analysis.

            Third, you're falling into the "it isn't perfect so it isn't helpful" trap with your point about the AWB. No, the AWB wouldn't prevent all mass shootings. Not even most of them. But the provisions in that law, properly enforced and absent some of the more prominent loopholes, would have made several recent massacres more difficult (among them Aurora--which featured a hi-cap mag and a rifle not even produced until the AWB expired--and Tucson, where a hi-cap magazine was used, and of course Sandy Hook).

            Fourth, your "all semi-automatics are variants" point (ignoring the tautologies tacked onto the end for some reason--what were you trying to say there, anyway?) is either too abstract to matter (does someone really want to say that the Ruger 22/45 rimfire target pistol should be treated as a variant of the 1911?) or too broad to be relevant to the discussion. It isn't at all unreasonable to trace a design back to a source, a first model from which to work. You clearly know enough about firearms to understand that a S&W M&P15 is based on the designs for the original AR-15, and not to argue that it's actually traceable all the way back to the Remington Model 8. Allowing for the possibility that provisions can be sensibly interpreted is the first step in any legislative process.

            But your point about "arbitrary and capricious" distinctions is well taken, which is why there's always judicial review available for manufacturers who disagree with a regulatory decision that goes against them.

            "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

            by JR on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:25:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  First ... (0+ / 0-)

              It was you raised the military design issue and discussed it at length as a relevant criterion.  The most relevant technical distinction in this respect is the full auto capability.  To deny that and describe it as a red herring when I make that point in response to your assertion is disingenous, at best.

              Second,  I fully understand your effort to draw a distinction between a military commissioned firearm design and its alternatives as a valid regulatory distinction -- which you now seem to assert and deny at the same time.  My point is that in any event it is an irrational and ineffective distinction.

              Third, I'm not falling into any trap.  I am addressing your assertion that "military designed" distinctions are "not difficult" at all.  Under even minimal informed scrutiny, it is difficult to make principled and meaningful distinctions using this approach.  

              The AWB is perfectly relevant to this exchange.  Well crafted regulatory solutions start with a correct identification of the problem and then develop an effective regulatory response.  Tactical carbines -- with a military design history -- are not the primary problem when looking at our national gun violence problem.  Why then should we on the left be advancing these type of solutions that are so disconnected from the real underlying causal factors?  And this is not at all allowing the imperfect to the enemy of the good ... it is about the ineffective and irrational being the enemy of emotive and factually disconnected policy responses.

              Fourth ... a tautology is circular reasoning, not a statement of fact.  All semi-automatics are technical variants of a type of firearm platform ... whether referring to the 10/22, M1911, AR-15 or AK47.  The weakness of your argument is that all semi-automatics have essentially the same functional characteristics -- whether initially designed by military commission or not.  

              Again, I believe you are simply defending an ill-informed and flawed point of distinction based on "military design" and would suggest you recraft your argument to produce a more rational justification as I believe PavePusher upthread also suggested.

              The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

              by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:04:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ping-pong (0+ / 0-)

                First, anyone incapable of recognizing that the AR-15 and its variants can be considered military-style without being fully automatic isn't serious. You're the only one making that claim, and it's weak at best. It's akin to claiming that an AR-variant wouldn't be "military style" if it lacked a burst fire selector. Come off it.

                Second, I don't consider the distinction irrational or arbitrary. If you want to make the argument that it is, go ahead. Bear in mind, however, that a distinction doesn't need to be perfect to pass rational review: it just has to bear a relationship to the legislative objective. In this case, limiting weapons in this regard would pass muster.

                Third, you've once again confused the issues. There is a major gun violence problem in America, we all agree. And nobody is going to seriously argue that an AWB will, by itself, solve that problem. The benefits of the ban come in limiting the harm that an individual bad actor can do in certain situations; nobody should mistake it for a panacea. I'm more than happy to work on solutions to underlying causes of violent crime, but I don't see any reason we can do that while still limiting the lethality of the individual shooter.

                Fourth, the tautologies I referred to were the "all carbines are carbines," which is meaningless and, yeah, pretty circular. As best I can tell, you're just making an absurd semantic point here (ignoring the obvious distinctions between what I wrote and what you're responding to in the process), and it isn't worth further discussion.

                Lastly, I don't think it's unreasonable to throw out a loose phrase like "military design" in the context of an informal blog chat. Rest assured, if I were to craft legislation on this I would use all manner of delicious technical terms, and pepper my comments with more historical tidbits. Whether the regulations are aimed at variants of specific models (please don't pretend you can't comprehend what that means again--the tedium of it all might kill me), or whether they encompass a broader categorization, so long as you can conceive of a formulation that meets your definition of rationality, we have no reason to keep arguing. And if you can't conceive of one, we have even less reason.

                "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

                by JR on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:33:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You resort to pissy far too quickly (0+ / 0-)

                  but I'll try to address the substance as best I can.

                  First ... what is your infatuation with "military style"? Design history is specious and it seems you just don't like the cosmetics.  A semi-automatic is a semi-automatic and a carbine is a carbine ... and no, my friend, these are not tautologies  They are merely self-evident assertions that exposes your effort to make an inapt and empirically irrational distinction.  So what makes "military style" relevant for regulatory purposes? ... short barrel and portable? (yes, that's a carbine) ... high caliber? (uh ... the .223 Remington/5.56 Nato is the same bore diameter as a .22 LR) ... higher velocity? (yup, this includes almost all modern hunting rifles) ... removeable magazines? (this includes effectively every pistol in existence).  If you don't appreciate or understanding these relevant technical points that refute your supposed distinction, thats fine but please reflect again who lacks seriousness and credibility here.

                  Second ... you've berated me for lack of close reading and etc., but you've ignored my specific request for a fact-based rational relationship and not a legal one.  Data matters and prove your point with that, rather than legal jousting which completely shifts the terrain of my objections to your initial comments. These are technical points you raised by a broad and poorly formulated assertion but failed to support with any relevant or principled factual argument.

                  And even regarding "legal" rational basis, you must not have read Heller because that is not the applicable standard of review.  Here's the money quote:

                  Obviously, the same [rational basis] test could not be used to evaluate the extent to which a legislature may regulate a specific, enumerated right, be it the freedom of speech, the guarantee against double jeopardy, the right to counsel, or the right to keep and bear arms. If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.

                  Third.  I am not confused on the issue at all ... sorry to dissappoint you.  The AWB or ban on "military style" firearms does not address the our problem of gun violence except as a phony, feel good palliative.  Urban gun violence (where the real problem lies) involves primarily handguns and less than 2% all cases involve so-called "assault weapons."  Even in rampage or spree killings that occur with much less frequency and aggregate mortality, handguns, rifles and shotguns are the firearms used in 75% of all incidents since 1982.  

                  Fourth.  You dismiss as tautologies and semantics my effort to illustrate -- imperfectly perhaps -- your broad, unfocussed and ill-informed point of distinction.  A"military style" rifle ( to use your imprecise term) is simply a semi-automatic carbine with removable multi-cartidge magazines -- a description that fits a great many more firearms than you apparently appreciate.

                  Lastly, so sorry that you find technical precision a tedium though you feel quite equiped to conjure up delicious litte technical tidbits if necessary.  Do you realize how silly this sounds?  But ... perhaps there is nothing to argue about.  You don't like being exposed as ill-informed and prefer to avoid the substantive points and attack my comprehension skills as a deflection.  

                  Oh well.  Thanks for the conversation ... you are reasonbly articulate and that always helps.

                  The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                  by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:33:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Looking back over this thread... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...reminds me of that time I took too many pills and spent an hour talking Kafka to household furniture.

                    My general rule in life is that, when someone is really passionately arguing that "X is X" isn't a tautology, it's time to find a better conversation. That tends to be a rule more honored in the breach than in the observance, but its merit seems more obvious with each comment.

                    Have fun, and please try to see a proctologist about that stick.

                    "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

                    by JR on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:33:48 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  God, the fatuous ass (0+ / 0-)

                      seems incapable of belching anything but witless insults and completely ill-informed blather.   I think those pills of yours took a greater toll than you realize.  

                      You can't even recognize who's excessivley passionate here, lamb chop. I know its always a surprise to those with no self-awareness ... but it's you who keeps slinging buckets of hyper-emotive shyte hoping something sticks.

                      Your stumbling catwalk display of personal insecurities and analytical ineptitude are sure signs of a clumsy simpleton and self-impressed bore.  

                      The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                      by ancblu on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:33:45 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  A Springfield 1903 is "military style".... n/t (0+ / 0-)
            •  No, the AR was initially designed... (0+ / 0-)

              independently of the military.

              The AK was designed by a serving military member with the intent of being used as a military weapon, but not under government orders, he did it on his own time.

        •  The initial design of the AR-10 was independent... (0+ / 0-)

          of the military.

          Many bolt- and lever-action guns were designed intentionally for military use, by prior-service or active military members, often under government contracts.

          There are whole books on this subject, too many to list.  Check your local library or book store.

    •  What you call a weakly drafted law (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, Chi, DefendOurConstitution

      I call a fundamental problem with a law.

      Consider a set or restrictions as a set of requirements.

      Currently, speed loaders are no match for high capacity magazines. However, if we were to limit magazine size to 3 or 5 rounds, I would find it believable that someone could design a speed loader or magazine change system that simulated a higher magazine capacity. (gave the effective rate-of-fire with reload equivalent to a 10 round magazine)

      Even more important is the why. Why do we want a lower rate of fire? To limit mass shooters? I know that people don't NEED high capacity magazines. The more important question to me is asking how does limiting magazine capacity, in and of itself, actually contribute to the objective of the law?

      •  Do you really need this explained? (7+ / 0-)
        Why do we want a lower rate of fire? To limit mass shooters? ... how does limiting magazine capacity, in and of itself, actually contribute to the objective of the law?
        By limiting the number of bullets which tear through living flesh per unit of time.
        •  Does limiting magazine size actually limit ROF? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If you're asking how large a burst can someone lay down accurately without stopping to reload within a few seconds, yes, then that measure of ROF is lower.

          However, in a 15 minute shooting rampage, how many bullets can someone put out? Faster reloading techniques from a future gun optimized to have 5 rounds loaded into it as quickly as possible may be similar to that of a current AR-15 with a 30 round magazine.

          My point is that there is always a technological solution to regulatory limitations.

          Engineers call them design requirements.

          If someone wants to shoot a lot of bullets, someone else will design a gun for them to do it with.

          •  I dislike the emotive, fact-be-damned (0+ / 0-)

            type of argument you are responding to -- "tearing through flesh per unit of time," for example.  You are correct: the efficacy of regulating magazine capacity should not be considered without addressing various related technical and policy issues it raises included sustained rate of fire.  

            This is clearly a relevant point -- expecially when considering how many revolvers (with no magazines) are used in handgun violence, which is an extremely lethal and reliable shooting platform and for which "speed loaders" abound.

            The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

            by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:06:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Gabby Giffords assailant (0+ / 0-)

            was taken out only afte he had to reload.

            Son't ask readers to be stupid. If I can fire 100 rounds before empty I am a more dangerous threat than someone who can fire off five.

      •  Not just mass shooters, but bad shooters (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, Chi

        A lower rate of fire induces more careful shot placement, and should cause people to become more concerned with accuracy in their personal training. Imagine someone with a 33-round clip who actually needs the 33rd round to effectively defend himself at his current skill level--that means there are 32 rounds moving through space and not hitting their intended target: that's a major concern for others. Rate of fire limitations enable a skilled shooter to effectively defend himself while limiting the risks to the public from the unskilled. (And, of course, mass shootings in recent years have shown the value of the seconds that a reloading provides.) if you want a law to reduce crime, or reduce the likelihood of shootings, that's much harder than a law that will reduce the effects of crime and the scale of shootings, but both are worthwhile.

        Something I think you should also keep in mind, on a related point, is the skill factor. You say that there will inevitably be technological fixes that will effectively produce similar results to high capacity/high rate of fire equipment. I don't think that's inherently correct (really, you can only open, eject spent casings, reload, and close a revolver so fast: if speed loaders--which are more like stripper clips than magazines--could be altered to produce a major increase in the revolver's rate of fire, it would have been done by now). But more importantly, as you well know, each "fix" would introduce a complicating factor to the equation: the need for fast, error-free human operation to replace a mechanical operation. While it is conceivable that someone will become so trained at using a Glock 23 that he can eject and replace his magazine in such a fast time and without having to reorient and reaim his gun, it is also really unlikely that your average criminal or psychopath will take the time to become so fluid. And even if they do, there is no realistic argument, from a technical standpoint, that a human swapping out a magazine can ever be as fast as a magazine just feeding the next round into the chamber. It's a complication I think you've overlooked.

        "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

        by JR on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:53:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, but not what I'm getting at (0+ / 0-)
          in their personal training. Imagine someone with a 33-round clip who actually needs the 33rd round to effectively defend himself at his current skill level--that means there are 32 rounds moving through space and not hitting their intended target: that's a major concern for others.
          I agree with that, but personal defense isn't really the subject of the diary. Personal training goes a lot deeper, is a lot more important, and is a much bigger commitment than most people give credit for. The Army wouldn't spend so much effort figuring out how to train soldiers to be able to kill without hesitation if it wasn't. Your entire comment would be an excellent subject for an entire series of diaries.
          (really, you can only open, eject spent casings, reload, and close a revolver so fast: if speed loaders--which are more like stripper clips than magazines--could be altered to produce a major increase in the revolver's rate of fire, it would have been done by now)
          Actually a "speedloader" is a more general term than just revolvers. An auxiliary loading device that massively speeds reloading could be designed for a variety of firearms. Bump fire stocks were developed to get around fully automatic fire limitations, to the point that they have really rendered a lot of the difference between FA and SA fire moot. I am generalizing that point.
        •  With hi technical skill and firearm enhancements (0+ / 0-)

          a revolver can be fired and reloaded faster than most can do with a semi-automatic.  It is incorrect to suggest any type of "inherent" or fixed distinctions in comparative rates of fire between different types of shooting platforms.

          Here is an outlier example with a world class competition shooter, but it does illustrate the extremely high ROF capablilty of a revolver:

          Because of technical design characteristics and complexities, firearm malfunction (jams/misfires) with semi-automatics are also much more routine than in revolvers, and especially in less experienced hands.

          For these two reasons, I believe there is a "realistic argument" concerning both the "human element" and the sustained rate of fire in different shooting platforms when attempting to craft efficacious policy solutions.  

          The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

          by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:41:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It should also be pointed out (9+ / 0-)

      that California ranks 30th in gun deaths in the States, with a rate of 9.8 per 100,000. Well below the national average of 11.5. In fact Hawaii with the strictest laws, banning

      "automatic firearms, shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long, and rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long are prohibited by state law. Also banned are handgun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and semi-automatic handguns with certain combinations of features that the state has defined as "assault pistols"." [via Wikipedia]
      Ranks 51st.

      There is a correlation between banned designs and gun deaths.

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:58:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correlaton sure, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kickemout, Chi

        What about D.C.? Strict laws, high rate of gun deaths.

        Vermont? Loose gun laws, low rate of gun death.  

        "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

        by Texas Lefty on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:26:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are also other factors of course. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Loge, ancblu

          Blacks tend to be disproportionately the victims and perpetrators of homicides, and DC's population is 50% black.

          I believe the homicide rate among DC blacks is largely an expression of the "culture of honor" that is the legacy of all races in the South. Here is a lovely map.

          Of course Vermont versus DC doesn't account for Alaska, which has a high death rate from guns, a relatively low population density and lax gun laws.

          The commentary along with above referenced map is interesting --- for example, the author asserts that states which vote Republican tend to have higher rates of gun violence. [snark/] Once again, college-educated liberals try to make life better for everyone, and uneducated conservatives refuse to listen to reason [/snark]

          So my idea about reducing gun violence is to build a world-class free K-Phd educational system, with copious opportunities for continuing education.

          •  Yay for a progressive solution to a critical (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            factor that positively correlates to our gun violence problem.  We can also add policies that address joblessness, under-employment, economic marginalization and racially disparate criminalization within our system of "justice" as other factors we can refocus our attention on -- war on poverty, anyone?

            From your link, the book description states: "the increased tendency of white southerners to commit certain kinds of violence is not due to socioeconomic class, population density, the legacy of slavery, or the heat of the South; it is the result of a culture of honor."  Having grown up in the late Jim Crow south, I'm not sure this thesis really applies to southern blacks and I'd look more to other examples of modern inner-city gun violence as better points of comparison.

            Parenthetically, though, I have seen this "culture of honor" argument explain why southern whites tend to have significant over-representation in combat arms in the US military, whereas blacks are over-represented in support and logistics that offer profesional training in civilian cross-over employment.

            The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

            by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:55:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  point taken (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I didn't read that book.  I made the link to it as being representative of the position, after reading an opinion piece about the culture of honor idea.  The opinion piece, I think it was on the Al Jazeera website, I recall as explicitly claiming that black AND white homicide rates in the South -- and areas large numbers of southerners have migrated to --- were attributable to this phenomenon.  

              "Culture of honor" as a factor in violence resonates, perhaps, because we get a lot of that in popular media, whether it's mafia, history channel civil war programs, or gang members, or urban black music, or alien societies on Star Trek.

              I am really out of my depth here, I think I'll have to follow my own link and buy the book.

              There is also the claim that murder is a "communicable disease", or rather, the incidence of homicide in a city can be tracked with the same methods that epidemiologists use to track an outbreak.  As an example:

              article about the research

              which might be a fruitful avenue for finding ways to prevent violence.

              •  This is an interesting (0+ / 0-)

                issue that you've addressed ... and I'm reminded of Senator Jim Webb's book on this same subject of southern culture and arms.


                Oh for enough time to keep up with it all.  :)

                The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:14:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  As a matter of fact (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I am Scots-Irish on my mother's side.  Judging from the blurb, I have a somewhat different view of my legacy from that heritage. Well after I read "Culture of Honor", which I just ordered, maybe I'll take a look at Webb's book.

                  I should point out that I am in favor of using laws and penalties to limit the kinds of weapons, ammunition and modifications/add-ons that can be manufactured, imported, exported or sold, for civilian use.  

                  And I do believe that a well designed and enforced registration system, including for private sales is essential.

                  And I am in favor of a periodic re-certification requirement, perhaps coupled with a municipal buyback program -- if nothing else, an owner who can't be bothered to re-certify, would have a financial incentive to get the never-used weapon out of the house.

                  But I do stand by my earlier assertion that improving education is essential.  We can see already in children under 5 that language and reasoning skills reduce fighting on the playground and it just gets better from there.

                  •  As a gun owning progressive now (0+ / 0-)

                    in a western red state ... I get especially concerned with the political consequences of many gun control suggestions, which I feel will undermine Dr. Dean's 50 state strategy and have little marginal impact on the very real problem of gun violence.

                    My preferred solutions tend less toward gun control per se, but more toward the more clearly associated causal factors underlying the various complexities of the problem -- mental health and health care, alcohol and substance abuse, joblessness and under-employment, living wage, racial disparities in criminal sentencing and education opportunities ... among others relating to under-privilege and disadvantage.

                    Most (99%) of guns in this country are not misused and in fashioning any remedy this point should not be forgotten or under-emphasized.

                    Thanks though for the civil discussion and interesting ideas.

                    The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                    by ancblu on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:30:51 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  you may have some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      vagueness issues with the"designed on military" weapons part.

      •  The original AWB... (0+ / 0-)

        ...simply specified certain models and included "clones", but it was loosely interpreted and enforced. So while everyone knew what post-ban weapons were based on the Colt AR-15 model, those weapons were still produced. That's really all I'm suggesting here: a stricter restriction modeled similarly to the original ban's language.

        "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

        by JR on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:29:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But what is the rational basis (0+ / 0-)

          for identifying and proscribing those types of firearms?  And note that I am using the term not in its legal sense, but rather factually or empirically.

          "Starting somewhere" should not mean starting with a regulation that has no consequence except further governmental encroachment on our Bill of Rights -- that's how we got the Patriot Act.

          The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

          by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:21:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'ed for contributing to conversation (8+ / 0-)

    Let me guess, you're a systems engineer?

    One problem, though, is trying to make technical decisions with low-quality data.

  •  I like this. Thank you. nt (3+ / 0-)

    I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.

    by Joy of Fishes on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:55:26 PM PST

  •  Your propoasal makes sense to me. (6+ / 0-)

    Not as the only measure but definitely as one of a number of measures.

    Thanks for all the thought you put into this and for explaining it in detail.

    Just one question - how would this apply to existing guns in circulation?

    Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

    by Starbrite on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:21:26 PM PST

    •  It doesn't apply to guns specifically, (5+ / 0-)

      It applies to people. Guns currently in circulation would be handled exactly the same way as guns newly sold.

      I admit that there is a problem with poorly documented, anonymously owned guns being in circulation now. It would be an issue for a few years and then disappear.

      If you've anonymously sold a gun before the law took effect, signing an affidavit to that effect or some other grandfather technique might be sufficient. Same with disclosing firearms owned to, say, local police.

      I would envision something like a liability cap imposed at $1000 and increasing by 50% per year until it hits an inflation adjusted $500,000. (which would take about 17 years)

  •  Another Engineer View (6+ / 0-)

    I think the idea has some merit. While my daughter is a criminal prosecutor, I am not...

    I would have assumed that harming or killing someone with a firearm (except in self-defense) would definitely bring liability to the person who fired the gun whether the act was intentional or accidental.

    It would be interesting to know how many firearm incidents result in lawsuits and how they turn out.

    The problem I see: whatever you may think of NRA members or gun club members, how many of them are involved in illegal use of firearms? How many NRA members have killed or injured others? Probably some.

    Contrast that with the gang killings and the horribly evil mass killings that have occurred. Filing a civil lawsuit against a person with assets of a few thousand dollars and a slightly used AR-15 or Bushmaster would not be very cost effective.

    For lawyer readers: does homeowner's liability insurance cover accidental (or intentional) tort claims for firearms misuse?

    •  The flip side? (5+ / 0-)

      If a gang member shoots up a playground, you could use this law to sue the entire gang.

      ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
      My Blog
      My wife's woodblock prints

      by maxomai on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:26:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        In the first place, violent criminal gangs are not often very cooperative with paying civil fines.

        In the second place, violent criminal gangs often do not have much of value, were such assets recoverable. Rich people tend to avoid the violent criminal gang career path.

        In the third place, criminal gangs are not likely to be dissuaded from crime because of some possible financial penalties lumped atop prison.

        In the last place, the dead victim remains dead.

    •  That's not who the law is targeting (8+ / 0-)
      Contrast that with the gang killings and the horribly evil mass killings that have occurred. Filing a civil lawsuit against a person with assets of a few thousand dollars and a slightly used AR-15 or Bushmaster would not be very cost effective.
      shooting up a playground is already a horrific crime, and sends one to death row or life imprisonment.

      The gun control question is "how did that person get their weapon?"

      Whether it was from a weapon stolen during a break in, to a weapon "borrowed" to a weapon sold from the trunk of a car, it doesn't matter. Someone gave or sold a gun to a gang member, or was insufficiently dedicated to preventing the gun from being stolen.

      My proposal targets that second problem. My proposal is to make people less willing to let guns get into the hands of people they don't know.

      •  ever seen a nice safe cut open to get at the guns? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I have....

        The problem is this is back door registration and as such wont fly with most gun owners.....

        Plus making me liable for some crooks actions is wrong as would be making a car owner liable for the actions of a thief....

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:39:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Punishment for shooting up a school (0+ / 0-)

        "shooting up a playground is already a horrific crime, and sends one to death row or life imprisonment"

        I wish. Unfortunately many of the serial killers are able to carry out their goals without ever having to face the consequences. They exit the scene. And without society or the justice system or psychiatrists having a chance to ask any questions.

        I don't apologize for wishing for some sort of vengeance against people who commit these horrors...  and I think all of us would like to know more about the motivation.

        In some cases, these attacks may be a particularly awful form of suicide...  with what the military calls collateral damage.

  •  I like the idea of liability insurance (8+ / 0-)

    on a person's firearms. And yes, I think it would keep gun owners on their toes about keeping their guns safely and relatively secure against theft. And your analysis of the pertinent issues in the first half of the diary is well considered.

    But... (You just knew there was going to be a 'but', didn't you?) Some of the provisions outlined in the second half of the diary are not so well thought out, I think. First and foremost, some of your provisions would apply only to new purchases and to a lesser degree to existing trade. There are by some estimates about 280 million guns in the United States right now.

    First, millions of the guns already existent in the U.S. are in the hands of criminals. No kind of regulation is ever going to affect gun violence among and from armed criminals. Cops confiscate guns from criminals by the hundreds, surprisingly few actually destroy them and far too many find their way right back onto the criminal street. Nobody's keeping track of that trade.

    Second, millions of the guns already existent in the U.S. are not traceable. My gun, for instance, belonged to my grandfather, who was Sheriff of a one-horse town in Oklahoma early in the last century. It's been well-kept and is still a reliable weapon that we have had to use on occasion in the 20 years we've been homesteading land bordered by national forest (some of it honest-to-god wilderness). At no time in its life has it ever been registered in any state (not required), no new registration laws are likely to require it.

    Third, if you carry $500,000 in liability insurance in case somebody gets shot by your gun, you won't be facing financial ruin because you have insurance. I can easily envision a rider on homeowner's policies, and a market for individual insurance as well. It would cost me practically nothing due to where and how I live, and the fact that I've never shot anybody in all the 40 years that I've owned firearms. Don't have a CC permit, don't even own a handgun. It could cost a city dweller - especially a city dweller with multiple guns and a CC permit - quite a lot. That's okay, the risks to the insurer are higher.

    And no insurer is ever going to pay out on a claim that involves a crime by the insured. Maybe you'll get shot by a multi-millionaire, but more likely not. Lawyers don't waste their time suing empty pockets.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking take on the issues.

    •  you say no new registration laws would likely (4+ / 0-)

      require registering your grandpa's gun- you may be right that it would be hard to pass legislation that did require it. I would  require you to register it with your local police. If you couldn't leave your gun in a will or use it it without the risk of fish and game confiscating it it might compel you to comply. I don't want you as a gun owner to face financial ruin unless your keeping your grandpa's gun on loaded on your front porch - and I would be fine with taxes on assault riffles and bullets paying to keep your insurance low. I would support tax credits for gun safes too-
      Guns need to be more traceable- so what if we can't trace them all- trace what we can. Gun owners that don't care what happens after their guns leave their hands need to be held accountable.  

      •  We have no local police. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Chi

        There's a 1.5 officer police department in the nearest town, but their jurisdiction ends at the bottom of the driveway. Which is half a mile long, half of that straight up a mountainside. The Sheriff's department over on the other side of the county does have jurisdiction, response time in hours. Out here people are expected to be able to take care of themselves. So we do. Grandpa's shotgun never leaves the property. Thus it is of no concern to the public.

        As I mentioned, I support liability insurance for gun owners and licensing for concealed carry. The cost in my situation would be negligible, honestly. Likely less than $20 dollars a year. We carry a $2 million liability policy for our [entertainment] business just for the acts that work with fire and it costs less than $100 a year. The risk for that is significantly higher than the risk posed by an old shotgun that never leaves home. An insurance requirement is a form of registration for the purpose of knowing where the guns are, so I see no need for more than that. A requirement to file a copy of the sales receipt/transfer with the state's version of ATF when guns change hands is reasonable as well, or filing a police report if a gun is stolen. That would end the liability of the person who reports.

        Buy-backs would help get guns out of neighborhoods and off the streets, and actually enforcing requirements already on the books to destroy those guns and guns confiscated from criminals would help even more to tame the situation in cities. But it wouldn't hurt in this latest gun control frenzy for people to realize that even in the 21st century not everyone lives in a city or town, and the paranoid screaming in terror of grandpa's shotgun way out here in the boonies just serves to make wannabe gun controllers look darned silly.

        Address the real issues where they live or risk not being able to accomplish much of anything of merit.

    •  Thanks for the feedback, but... (7+ / 0-)
      First, millions of the guns already existent in the U.S. are in the hands of criminals. No kind of regulation is ever going to affect gun violence among and from armed criminals.
      And I respectfully disagree that just because I can't solve the entire problem of gun violence in one fell swoop, that  we should ignore the problem. If we can reduce the number of guns entering the pool of weapons held by criminals, the situation improves.
      Second, millions of the guns already existent in the U.S. are not traceable. My gun, for instance, belonged to my grandfather, who was Sheriff of a one-horse town in Oklahoma early in the last century.
      And if you leave that gun visible in your car, and it is stolen, telling the police that the weapon was stolen becomes a way to trace that weapon.
      Third, if you carry $500,000 in liability insurance in case somebody gets shot by your gun, you won't be facing financial ruin because you have insurance. I can easily envision a rider on homeowner's policies, and a market for individual insurance as well. It would cost me practically nothing due to where and how I live, and the fact that I've never shot anybody in all the 40 years that I've owned firearms.
      That is my point! Reward responsible ownership with low premiums on insurance. We're not trying to punish responsible gun owners here, we're trying to make sure that responsible gun owners are the norm.

      And the insurance rates would take into account the expected payouts. Assuming an insurance loss ratio of 0.5, and 4000 claims per year payable with an average of $250,000, you're talking about 2 Billion in insurance premiums to be paid by gun owners. And that is adjusted by the risk of each gun being used.

      Keep in mind that the new liability stays with the owner of the gun. Current law already has the shooter liable for both civil and criminal penalties.

      •  I didn't say we should do nothing. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kplatv, reflectionsv37, ancblu

        I just mentioned the fact that there are always going to be guns out there (and likely to be used in crimes) no matter what the law says. Because criminals don't care what the law says. For massacres like school/mall/theater shootings by crazy people - most of which end with the shooter offing themselves - I'm not sure any of the proposals I've seen would actually prevent them.

        Sad but true. Still, we can try sane regulations that might prevent some of these tragedies. That's what the discussion is about.

        Just injecting some realism into the discussion because some among the anti-gun crowd are not thinking realistically about the subject. For all those who wish to disarm the public completely, I urge them to get busy right now on efforts to repeal the second amendment. If all goes well that might even happen in a decade or so. It will do nothing about the situation right now, though. For that we need realistic proposals that can pass constitutional muster.

        •  There is a simple way to address... (0+ / 0-)

          those guns and it could be taken care of by simply requiring all firearm owners to be licensed and all guns to be registered.

          If you want to buy a gun, you must first show your license.

          If you want to purchase ammunition for your firearm, you must first show your license and then present a current registration for that type of firearm. This would also apply to items necessary for reloading your own ammunition

          These changes would, over time, ensure that all responsible gun owners are licensed. Keep firearms out of the hands of people who should not own them. And, make it very difficult to obtain ammunition if either the individual was not licensed or did not have a registered firearm for that type of firearm.

          There was a diary about a week ago where one of the RKBA'ers, wrote that gun owners would not comply with new regulations. If they want to purchase ammunition for their current firearms in the future, they will eventually comply.

          Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

          by reflectionsv37 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:25:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yup the usual, lets not regulate anything since (0+ / 0-)

        we could not possibly regulate everything canard.  That one seems to be the one that the fundamentalists that worship at the altar of the NRA's idols are using most these days.

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

        by DefendOurConstitution on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:17:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You always bring more heat than light (0+ / 0-)

          with your typical emotive insults and straw-man assertions against those that respect the limitations on government action against private rights pursuant to the 2nd Amendment -- including fellow progressives here at DK.

          You indicated elsewhere that you are an engineer by training and profession ... and for that I would think you would exercise greater care to identify the problem and craft an appropriate regulatory solution with some marginal effort at precision.

          So who again is the fundamentalist worshiping blindly at an alter ... where factual analysis is studiously avoided and demonization invariably employed when discussing this serious national problem?

          The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

          by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:10:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I forwarded this to my son. (11+ / 0-)

    He's been working (paid) for progressive causes and has been - I think - very effective in promoting gay rights and in helping CO to go for PBO.  Now that the "fiscal cliff" is "behind us" the next cause his employers may put him on is gun control.  As a gun owner (and the one that got me back into shooting after almost 30 years) he's not very happy at the prospect.
    As noted I am also an owner and enthusiast and would very much dislike being told I could no longer own my guns.  As a lifelong progressive though, I see no problem with some sort of control of the sorts of guns we can own and employ.  The proposals in this diary are, to my mind, very reasonable and possibly quite effective.  They have the advantage of making no effective change in the way a gun enthusiast could enjoy his or her hobby.  Only one who wishes to be or advocates gun owners be irresponsible would object.
    Full disclosure though - I play an engineer at work.

    -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

    What is the sound of one hand clapping? Just listen!

    There are no luggage racks on hearses.

    by 84thProblem on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:42:59 PM PST

    •  I don't see them working (13+ / 0-)

      We already have enough liability issues.  The problem is that most of the idiots engaged in firearms violence don't have the cash to make suing them worthwhile.  

      The second issue is that it puts guns right next to dynamite in terms of risk.  There are two different things.  Dynamite is inherently dangerous, it can detonate for no reason.  Modern firearms don't just go off (generally) and are very safe.  The problem is idiots misusing them.  

      There are 4 rules of gun safety:
      1.  Treat all guns as loaded.  
      2.  Never point the gun at something you are not willing to destroy.
      3.  Keep your finger off the trigger/out of the trigger guard.
      4.  Be aware of your target and what is beyond it.  
      As for intentional misuse, I think that ending the war on (some) drugs would be much more effective at pushing down the murder rate.  So would engaging in lead abatement.  Don't try to fix the symptoms, fix the underlying disease.  

      Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

      by DavidMS on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:05:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree, we need to ... (6+ / 0-)

        ... fix underlying causes.  Also, too.  

        Lead abatement - if that does pan out to be the reason for decrease in violence - took a generation for the effect to be seen.  I don't want to wait a generation to see changes.  We absolutely should expand lead abatement efforts, but in addition to other efforts, not instead of.

        I'd also very much like to see smarter approach to fighting the drug scourge.  That should have a much more immediate payback in lives saved as well as stop locking up so many people.    

        But neither of these would prevent a Sandy Hook or Aurora.  And neither of these nor many of the other suggestions being discussed address suicide by gun, which we don't talk about much in these posts, but which is a signficant share of the deaths.    

        I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.

        by Joy of Fishes on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:08:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with you with respect to the rediculous (4+ / 0-)

          "war on drugs".  We've lost a generation or two for this, not to mention the tax burden associated with our immoral incarceration rates.

          -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

          What is the sound of one hand clapping? Just listen!

          There are no luggage racks on hearses.

          by 84thProblem on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:15:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We have ~32K firearms deaths/year (7+ / 0-)

          Of which about half are suicides and the other half homicides.  Mass shootings are (from what I read) ~150 persons/year.  They are also very rare but emotionally effective at focusing attention.  Its like prepers and their concern about very unlikely end of the world scenarios.  I am much more likely to be killed in a mugging gone wrong.

          I'd prefer to concentrate on low hanging fruit of violence reduction.  Things that we can do, are cheap to do (lead abatement has a payback ratio of 10:1 which is a better ROI than anything Mitt Romney ever put a dollar behind).  

          A more humane society will also help with the suicides.  I am not an expert but know that we are underfunding mental health services and failing to make mental health care affordable.  

          Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

          by DavidMS on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:37:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. Nearly two thirds are suicides. (4+ / 0-)

            There is little to no evidence that any realistic gun regulations can have any substantial impact on the overall suicide rate.

            We're going to have to make mental health care and substance abuse treatment available to everyone who needs them if we want suicide numbers to drop.

            The 10,000 or so homocides and the 600 or so accidental deaths we definitely can change through sound legislation - we can make it a lot more dangerous to be a straw purchaser, we can hold people liable if they refuse to take reasonable steps to protect their weapons from theft, ect.

            "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

            by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:07:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  that is false..... (6+ / 0-)

              since firearms are the most fatal form of suicide method and most (90%) of those who survive a suicide attempt do not successfully go on to commit suicide.  The argument that no one can do anything about firearms to prevent suicide flies in the face of reason.  Any competent mental health counselor will tell a client and their family to get rid of firearms.   The problem is no one wants to tell a grieving family they should have gotten rid of their weapons.  I bet most of them blame themselves and the rest tell themselves that their loved one would have commited suicide anyway.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:25:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Most of those who do not successfully kill (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                offred, buddabelly, Kentucky Kid, ancblu

                themselves weren't trying to kill themselves.

                They were making a desperate plea for help.

                People who choose guns know that they are one of the most effective means of suicide available.  That's why they choose them.  Without firearms, they chose other highly effective methods.

                In Japan, fewer than 15% of male suicide attempts fail.  They don't have guns.

                Ignoring the fact that the worlds highest suicide rates are in countries in which firearms are not available to civilians is just willfully obtuse.

                "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

                by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:43:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  BTW - this is just *not* true. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                most (90%) of those who survive a suicide attempt do not successfully go on to commit suicide.
                I don't know where you got this from, but it's not just wrong.  It's a dangerous thing for people to believe as it could very seriously endanger their loved ones who may have previously attempted suicide.
                The greatest predictor of eventual suicide is parasuicide, which, defined broadly (3), includes both suicide attempts and deliberate self-harm inflicted with no intent to die.
                A review by Gunnell and Frankel (4) indicated that 30 to 47 percent of suicide completers had a prior history of parasuicide. Other researchers report similar results

                (bold mine)

                Suicide attempts involving shallow wrist cutting, attempted 'overdose' with non-lethal medications, ect are no laughing matter.  They're desperate cries for help.

                And they can be strongly predictive of more earnest attempts in the future.

                "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

                by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:09:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Two different things here. Both true. (0+ / 0-)

                  1. Most people who kill themselves intentionally have a prior history of non-lethal self-harm.

                  2. Most people who engage in acts of non-lethal self-harm do not go on to acts of lethal self-harm.

                  It's like a lot of other kinds of human behavior. Most murderers have a previous history of interpersonal violence, but the majority of people who commit assaults do not go on to commit murder.

                  In both cases, reducing the lethality of intentional injury can save lives.

              •  To the religious gun people suicides never count, (0+ / 0-)

                they are just not to be counted!  (just like accidental deaths by firearms, those don't count either)

                Since continuing fewer deaths is vital for the survival of their religion, they always stick only to homicides and even those they discount many because they may have been involved in some shady dealing.  To hear the preachers tell it, we have just a handful of gun deaths per year!

                I gave up on organized religion that dictates my faith years ago, as have many other Americans, but the NRA has enlisted many people so that their cult is now very big (and obstinate too).

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

                by DefendOurConstitution on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:24:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  The point is that if one wants to have a weapon (6+ / 0-)

        one is required to have some minimum level of insurance against mishaps or intentional misdeeds.  Does any reasonable person think that they can drive a car without the legally mandated level of insurance? I don't, though I am aware there is some segment of society that feels they are fine driving without insurance.  Should that some DO drive without insurance be enough to do away with this ordinary requirement? Of course not; reasonable people don't dispute this fact.
        Most people in this society are responsible with their cars because the are required to be and for no other reason.  It is not unreasonable to have the same expectations of gun owners.  There will still be tragedies like that in Sandy Hook, but of the firearm-induced tragedies in this country that is a vanishingly small example.  Much bigger is the accidental death or one-off homicide, occuring far more often in each year that could be avoided if every firearm is required to be better controlled.  Maybe you get a better rate on your insurance if you take a gun safety course - driving you to keep your guns better controlled and away from those that could misuse them.  Whatever it takes, let's reduce the majority of firearm deaths in this country.  We can concurrantly address issues like mental health to reduce the high-body-count incidents.

        -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

        What is the sound of one hand clapping? Just listen!

        There are no luggage racks on hearses.

        by 84thProblem on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:12:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Intentional misdeeds" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          or "willful misconductd" represent a time-honored exclusion in general liability insurance.  

          The suggestion that this type of conduct should be included in insurance coverage governing firearm related incidents would represents a wholesale transformation of established insurance law and policy.

          The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

          by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:31:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'd suggest a #7 requirement (12+ / 0-)

    #7) It has to work

    Most gun violence is suicide. How would your plan slow suicide by gun? Most gun suicides are late middle aged males. The sort of person that can legally get a gun easily.

    Most gun homicide is inner city young guys from minorities. They really really don't care about any laws or restrictions, there are tons of guns for them and there always will be. They are unemployed and have no hope for the future. Until we can give those guys a good shake at life we can't do anything about gun homicide.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:57:56 PM PST

    •  Separate question (10+ / 0-)

      Suicide rates are a social issue more than a gun control issue. Private firearms ownership is virtually non-existent in Japan, but their suicide rate is twice ours. Dealing with the underlying causes leading to suicidal behavior is the best way to handle that. Based on this list, the US is number 34, despite our number of guns. I would guess that guns are just a cultural preference for US males (poison is #1 for females). But clearly a lack of guns does not automatically mean a lower suicide rate.

      •  Than why do people keep listing the suicides (13+ / 0-)

        in firearm related deaths?

        Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

        by KVoimakas on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:15:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because it adds FIFTEEN THOUSAND!!!!! (16+ / 0-)

          to the total, and underscores "the epidemic of gun violence".

          I've asked:  how is physician-assisted (overdose) suicide (as on the 2012 Massachusetts ballot) cool, while suicide by gun is teh evil?

          Answer:  Get over yourself and your gun fetish, they're going away, you lose, end of story.  You don't get to kill another 15,000 people with your hobby.

          •  NO, NO, NO! Suicides never count! Not even kids (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            committing suicide.  To the gun cult suicide is just a "life choice."

            There is a big difference between physician assisted suicide (In the case of MA: after you are diagnosed by two separate doctors and deemed to have <6 months to live AND go through 2 counseling sessions AND are deem,ed to be in full use of your mental faculties) for ADULTS and the suicides of young people (probably up to 25 or so).

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

            by DefendOurConstitution on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:28:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  and it's CHEAPER! (0+ / 0-)

              There's no need to pay attention to the youth, no need for counseling programs, no need to do anything other than ban the guns, and hand out pills "which may increase suicidal thoughts"... per the rapid fire product information disclosure.

              I worked EMS for 18 years, dealt with a lot of suicides, and a few attempts.  One was by handgun, several by rifle or shotgun.  One wasn't fatal, it was the second time around.

              Top causes of death:  OD, cutting, hanging, drowning, and my favorite - "catching the train to NY".

              There's no fun like collecting a body strewn over 1/4 mile of rail road tracks in 103 degree heat.

              A gun ban wouldn't have changed that reality.

      •  In country after country, women have more suicide (7+ / 0-)

        attempts and men commit more suicides.

        In the US, more than four times as many men commit suicide, while women are four times as likely to attempt it.

        People who want to kill themselves usually succeed.  If they haven't got access to a firearm, they drink draino or half a liter of pesticide (the common method among farmers in India) or jump from several hundred feet.

        People who are making a cry for help are in genuine need of help...but they aren't necessarily actually trying to kill themselves.  Everyone knows half a bottle of Tylenol probably won't end it all.  

        I'm not mocking those people at all - they need and deserve all the best health care we can offer, and they are very likely to make a more serious attempt in the future if they're not treated.  The right response to a desperate cry for help is to help.

        It's common in some circles to say "But, look, gun suicides are almost always successful, so if we get rid of the guns we'll save lives!!!", missing the point entirely - those who choose a firearm want to succeed and will pick another equally reliable method in the absence of access to a firearm.

        "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

        by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:15:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Prevention of suicide is important..... (6+ / 0-)

          it is terrible for society.  There are cultural parameters.  For example, young black men are much less likely to commit suicide than young white men.  Veterans are mre likely to commit suicide and those with PTSD  

          The military are moving to restrict weapons access for those with PTSD and my spouse, who works with veterans, is there to help counsel those who are suicidal to avoid this consequence.  His biggest nightmare is that one of his vets will commit suicide.  His own PTSD was triggered when his military roommate commited suicide with a service revolver and he was the first to find him.  The saddest thing about this whole gun control discussion is the continual writing off of the real harm cause by gun suicide.  All those people are worth working with and trying to save from suicide.  And he regularly counsels people to limit their access to firearms.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:37:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  More information on gun suicide..... (5+ / 0-)
            The United States is the only country in the world where the primary means of suicide is guns. In 2010, 19,392 Americans killed themselves with guns. That’s twice the number of people murdered by guns that year. Historically, the states with the weakest gun-control laws have had substantially higher suicide rates than those with the strongest laws. Someone who has to look for a gun often has time to think better of using it, while someone who can grab one in a moment of passion does not.

            The whole essay is worth reading.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:13:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've read it. It compares states in which seeking (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ban nock, Shamash, buddabelly, ancblu

              mental health care is considered unthinkable to states in which the stigma is far less.  

              It compares states with plenty of outreach to people suffering from depression to states where the answer is "go talk to the Preacher".

              Of course a much higher percentage of our suicides are committed with guns.  Guns are widely available.   It does not logically follow that those suicides would not happen if not for the guns.

              In rural India, farmers kill themselves with pesticide when they lose their crops and fall into massive debt.  They're not doing it because they have access to pesticide.

              Everyone in America, outside of those housed in institutions, has access to the means to end their own life within a few seconds.  They don't really have to "look for it".

              Whether or not they have access to a firearm.

              "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

              by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:26:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Keeping people who are at high risk of suicide (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, gzodik, ban nock

            away from firearms, poisons, and large quantities of potent medication is a very, very good idea.  It's also highly advisable not to let them drive motor vehicles, and to pay attention if their long walks involve trips over high overpasses.

            The harm isn't caused by "gun suicide".  It's caused by suicide.  No one is "writing it off".

            When we look at similar cultures, from Australia to Canada to the UK, we find that what reduces suicide is access to quality mental health care and drug treatment.

            Fully 60% of suicides take place when a person is in a major depression.  Those are not impulsive acts.

            Someone robbing a liquor store with a pistol is more likely to accidently kill the clerk than someone doing so with a knife.  No one can kill 28 people in 20 minutes with a machete.  

            I'm not arguing against gun regulation - but I am saying that there is no reason to believe that the immediate disappearance of 300 million guns from the US would have much, if any, impact on our suicide rates.

            A person wanting to kill themselves, in earnest, doesn't need a gun.

            South Korea and China and Japan have suicide rates that dwarf ours, and almost no civilian access to firearms.

            "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

            by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:17:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Strong inverse cor. with education (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      States that have a high percentage of people with at least a fourth grade level of writing skills have fewer gun deaths. The higher the level of education, the less gun deaths. Actually that is not entirely true. By the time you look at eighth grade writing skills, the correlation is much weaker.

      So, just basic education could lowers gun deaths. In this case, the pen is mightier than the sword.

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:23:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A difference (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I believe in most of the cases similar to the ones proposed, the burden is on the buyer, not the seller. If I sell a car to a stranger who has had his license revoked, my liability ends when I sign over the title to him. If he gets hammered on the way home and plows into a bus full of nuns and orphans, it is likely not my liability for selling him the car, any more than it is a liquor store's liability for selling him a fifth. It is the buyer's responsibility to register the car in their name. All the seller needs to do is call their insurance company and say they have sold the vehicle.

    However, I do think it would be very useful to have a national toll-free database where a private seller could check on a prospective purchaser and register that verification as a means of demonstrating due diligence in vetting the sale. And having such a mechanism in place might make it harder to avoid civil liability if you failed to use it and sold a gun to someone not allowed to own guns.

    •  not sure that would work.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      offred, DefendOurConstitution

      what would stop me, as a private citizen seeking to spy on my neighbor, from calling in a "firearms"' background check on them?  Lots of people use a gun shop owner as a broker for these background checks for a fee- I like that solution better.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:38:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

        But I can already go to any number of state web sites (like this one) and type in a name to see if that person is a sex offender, or this one for general offenders. So, you could already do it with a smart phone and a data plan.

        Centralizing it and making it voice accessible is no less spying than it is at present.

  •   an engineer (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meagert, 43north, gerrilea, PavePusher

    My GirlFriend or sorts, a gun nut by the way- specialties in autism, autistic children, she sez that the only 100% sure fire cause of autism to 2 engines breeding.

    Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

    by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:16:52 PM PST

  •  Do you have any idea how much insurance (8+ / 0-)

    would cost? $10,000 of simple life insurance is at times $30 a month.  $500,000 of gun liability would be what? 30 times more? I don't know, but Insurance companies have not been known for their low rates. Ownership becomes a means test. Only the rich should own firearms?
      As for liability for stolen weapons. That's just not constitutional. You steal my car, and I'm liable. I don't think so.
      Also probably unconstitutional would be the restrictions on private sales. You might as well eliminate yard sales. Who knows what they're selling there.


    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:32:35 PM PST

    •  quality guns cost more than iPhones (4+ / 0-)

      but that's not stopping anybody from buying them

      Guns + monthly insurance cost more than iPhones + monthly data plans.  But that won't stop anybody from buying them either.  

      Guns are not just for the rich, and with insurance they still won't be. Your point is a straw man.

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:23:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What about the attractive nuisance law? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, mamamedusa, Loge

      They apply it to swimming pools, and yes they also apply it to some extend to automobiles in NYC at least. Leave your car at the curb with engine running and windows down etc and the owner/operator is ticketed and responsible responsible.

      Construction companies have also had issues when their bulldozers were insufficiently secured, ie no removable key just a switch.

      By the hairsplitting that goes on about what other objects could be deadly etc, I would propose that the US Military and the NRC quit wasting billions to secure the weapons dumps. A simple sign and $2.00 padlock is enough.

    •  Really? (3+ / 0-)

      If the kid from next door dies in your pool and you don't have a fence around it you would be liable -
      If you sold him a bottle of booze at your yard sale you would be liable.
      Insurance rates are based on risk- You owning a gun causes my health insurance to go up.

    •  High insurance rates (0+ / 0-)

      that would deter gun ownership on the margin is an argument FOR the proposal.

      One can be constitutionally found liable for stolen weapons if negligent, and the standard for negligence can be imposed by statute, like a finding that keeping it in your house or keeping it within 100 feet of children is prima facie negligent.

      Commerce clause covers the sale of anything.  There's no such thing as a private sale, except possibly between spouses filing taxes jointly.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:12:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If only the rich can reimburse society for the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      harm their privately owned firearms do, is that really so unreasonable?

      NB: I don't think that's actually how it would end up.

  •  great idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And one that goes way back. I first heard about strict liability as a gun measure in the late 80s on a college policy topic on gun control. It was a case some people ran, my coach wanted me to run, though my partner and I went with another plan. The one major difference is that the plans then typically applied the liability to the manufacturer not the owner at any moment in time. One reason was the vastly simpler implementation and the idea that liability would bankrupt the companies and partially collapse the industry.

    •  Given all the weapons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      put on the street since then, it would have been easier to implement a "last legal owner" liability law before LaPierre and others took over in the late 70s.

      Todays NRA will not stand for any kind of record keeping.

    •  Include manufacturers in chain of responsibility (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If the manufacturer is registered as the first "owner" of each firearm, then the obligation to cover liability starts with the company. The manufacturer will build the average cost of that liability into the price of the firearm, which is fine.

      As a second measure, it would also be great if the manufacturer retained some permanent portion of the liability for misuse of the firearm by any of its owners at any time in the future. That would be a bigger cost to build into the price.

      *** All our work toward economic and social justice won't matter the slightest bit unless we start reversing global warming right now. ***

      by CupaJoe on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:14:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about restricting the gun to the home? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Most guns are put away and never used for any purpose at all. So put an electronic band around a gun that will transmit an alert if a gun moves more than 100 feet from the home just like some criminals are kept home today.

    If you wanted to take the gun outside the home, then you would have to call the police and they would come pick it up and take it to the shooting range or wherever.

    All of these safeguards would be paid for by the gun owner.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:53:48 PM PST

    •  Perhaps the police could find ... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, maxomai, annecros, Texas Lefty, kplatv

      the deer you wanted to bag as well?

      •  Cute. But it keeps people at home. (0+ / 0-)

        So, if gun nuts claim that they need guns for self defense at home, then let them keep them at home.

        But, I understand. Creativity is not a universally distributed component of the human mind. Some people have it and some do not.

        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

        by hestal on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:01:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  concealed carry is to make yourself a castle.... (0+ / 0-)

          and millions of people are getting these permits in some states, and only a few thousands in other states.  I would like tighter concealed carry laws and certainly getting concealed carry insurance would be reasonable.  Since those folks rarely are committing crimes, that should make it more affordable.  I double it would cost more than bullets, holsters and firing range fees.  If they buy things to make their weapon more secure, they could get a tax deduction.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:48:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But there is no need to carry concealed (6+ / 0-)

            weapons. People are not getting murdered in shoot outs where concealed weapons would make a difference. Concealed weapons are fantasy objects. Too many of us have this picture, created largely by Hollywood, of the old west in which everybody was a law unto himself. Nonsense. But it strikes a chord in many a male breast and thereby makes guns much more available to murderers and other criminals.

            If the want a gun for protection at home then let them keep it at home.

            Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

            by hestal on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:27:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I generally agree with you.... (0+ / 0-)

              but I can see a very limited approval for some persons.  Millions is ridiculous of course but California is quite limited.  I would note concealed carry license is often quite expensive if they actually do a background check, eliminating the argument that insurance represents a tax on a right.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:54:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  larger liability, and it needs to be transitive (2+ / 0-)

    If a gun is used to kill someone, there should be an immediate penalty of about $5 million dollars per death, assessed against the legal owner and/or their insurance company.

    If they do not have sufficient resources to pay that, the remainder of the fee is assessed against the previous owner, and so on, back to the manufacturer.


    The figure of $5M is not arbitrary -- it is in the range that government agencies use to decide how much should be spent per saved life for guard rails, food inspectors, etc.   The appropriate number could be anywhere up to perhaps $10M, but certainly is far higher than $500K.

    The transitivity is important, to ensure that people think twice or three times about whom they sell a gun to.   Unless you have proof they have insurance (and will keep it up!) you will be on the hook as well.  That makes it self-enforcing.  Otherwise, liability can be evaded by selling the gun to a penniless street person, then borrowing it back.

    •  That makes it even more nasty as you can't (0+ / 0-)

      even destroy the gun because doing so could make your liability unlimited.  As an example, you have an old gun and get rid of it by taking it to a metal recycling place and it is shredded before your eyes.  Well, what if after that the metal from the gun ends up in 10 more new guns?  You would then be liable for anything that happened with those 10 new guns so why would you risk taking your old guns in to be destroyed as part of a buyback program?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:26:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  btw, this is called "cradle to grave" liability (4+ / 0-)

    From the moment a gun is made, until the moment it is destroyed, someone is ALWAYS liable for any damage it does.

  •  How does your proposal stop another Sandy Hook (7+ / 0-)

    from all these gun grabbing diaries no one has ever suggested anything that would have stopped Sandy Hook....absolutely nothing....not even a total outright ban would have stopped that....

    •  an outright ban may have stopped it or lessened it (3+ / 0-)

      Lanza's guns were legally owned so if banned he might not have been able to get off as many shots-
      I think their was a suggestion on better mental health prevention- that may have stopped it.  The NRA has helped Congress stop funding on studies to prevent/lessen gun violence-
      I don't believe we can stop all gun violence - and I do believe that some of the gun grabbing talk is counter productive- but the pry my gun from my cold dead hands doesn't seem to be helpful either.  
      We still don't and may never know how Sandy Hook could have been stopped-we don't have all the facts and most likely never will.  How would do you think we should go about stopping it?  I know it can't be done without ideas from gun owners.

      •  How would a outright ban have stopped or lessoned? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That doesn't make sense to instead of a legal gun he would have used a illegal gun and a illegal gun holds less rounds...I don't follow...

        My stance, there's no need for addititonal gun control...gun control based of what happened here is like sawing off a leg to cure the flu....

        In the 80's reagan disassembled the Mental Health stucture in this country....instead of hiring more ATF agents to collect and count paper about we figure out how to get people the mental healthcare they need...

        It's a mental health issue, it's a economic issue, has nothing to do with guns really....

        Mass Shooting are a very small percentage of overall crime according to the FBI Stats... .14's a situation that happens rarely.

        Yet, I can show you 5 recent home invasion cases where folks needed a gun to save themselves or their children from a home invasion when they were home...the only homeowner that was seriously injured and hospitalized was the one who choose to call the police and go hide in her closet...

        I don't get the fascination that people have with taking away the civil right of folks to legally/lawfully protect themselves by whatever they deem is a necessay measure...

    •  by making the sane gun owner.... (3+ / 0-)

      more aware that they will be responsible if a less sane family member commits a crime with their weapon.  If there is no sane family member, it is less of a deterrent.  

      I see this as addressing gun deaths far more wholistically because it resuces accidental deaths and possibly suicides by locking up guns and it helps close the gun show loopholes, which lead to crime gun sales.  "Stolen" guns could be reduced- folks who buy a lot of guns and if a crime is committed, they claim the gun was stolen.  In reality they are selling to criminals and gangs.  Mandatory reporting of stolen guns is something lots of gun control advocates want, and this would put some teeth in the bill.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:57:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think what you just posted is wishful thinking.. (0+ / 0-)

        Theirs no way that kid with his mental condidtion should have been given a gun....but yet you somehow think that if someone gets a insurance policy...all of sudden things like that won't happen....I wouldn't hold my breath...

        •  People know MADD had an effect.... (0+ / 0-)

          on reducing drunk driving.  So did making bars responsible for not continuing to serve drunks.  But there are still drunk drivers.  I would take some improvement.  It is very hard to prevent the Sandy Hook crimes.  But many other firearms are straw purchases.  Forcing those who buy firearms for others would be helpful.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:49:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually it could have stopped it (5+ / 0-)

      Had this kind of policy already been in place for a decade, let's say, Nancy Lanza might not have taken up gun collecting as a hobby because a) it was expensive and required a deep commitment to personal responsibility and b) our popular culture would have moved further away from guns being the answer to any government policy we didn't like.

      •  She had the dough and was a Prepper... (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think money was the issue....and if she was a prepper as the news reported, she has a deep commitment to personal responsibility....a very deep one....and why would a pieve of paper change that one way or the other...

    •  She would have had a great incentive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to keep her guns secured. Because of the liability she would have been more likely to have had the guns locked up more effectively. Without easy access to the guns, her son would not have been able to act out on an impulse.

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:04:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two issues with Sandy Hook (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      1) You can never save the first victim. China has a problem with multiple killings in schools with knives and gasoline. Asking how a given proposal would have stopped a highly specific, rare, and emotional crime is fallacious on misleading vividness grounds.

      2) If a mentally unstable person's mother were to keep guns secured in a safe, it might have prevented that person from getting access to the weapons, and REDUCED the impact of the crime. You don't target the multiple killing crime, you use the principle that guns must always be stored in a safe, because if the unstable person does something unwise (like injure a neighbor), then the financial losses will be huge. Prevent sandy hook with responsible ownership.

  •  If speed loaders were "just as good" as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland

    spring feed magazines, magazine fed pistols never would have taken off.

    C'mon.  Make credible arguments.

    "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

    by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:01:30 AM PST

  •  One more point about the proposal (5+ / 0-)

    It's a "free market" solution. Minimal government action, private insurance companies set the rates, private gun dealers make money and provide supervision, and so on. It plays very well to the "smaller government" crowd.

    They will have a hard time providing any reasonable argument against this kind of solution. Let's perfect it and push it.

    Less "WAAAAH!", more progress.

    by IndyGlenn on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:13:32 AM PST

    •  Monetizing or commoditizing (0+ / 0-)

      a constitutional right should be anathema to all progressives.

      It also bears mentioning that this "market solution" is extremely regressive in that it operates to limit enjoyment of a constitutional right by wealth, income or means to pay.  

      Given that the Supreme Court recognizes "self-defense" as an essential justification for the right to bear arms, does it not follow that under-privileged communities where gun violence is most rampant should not be improperly restricted for lawful ownership to exercise this consitutionally warranted purpose?

      The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

      by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:01:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A gun sale transfers ownership and responsibility (0+ / 0-)

    Look at the analog with a car. If I sell a car to a complete stranger, I have no further responsibility. It's not my place to make sure the man is not a psychopath, or an alcoholic. And if he then drives drunk and kills people, am I responsible?

    If your requirement is that we discriminate on gun sales, then you need to lay down guidelines for that discrimination. If I refuse to sell to a woman, or a minority who looks like a gang member, I assume you have no issue with that?

    Discrimination or assumed innocence?  They're not compatible.

    •  If you sell a bottle of gin to a child you would (2+ / 0-)

      in a car you would be responsible if he drove it into a school bus.  If you sell your gun to a person legally who can legally own it you are no longer responsible-
      Is A&P liquors discriminating when they don't sell beer to people under 21?

      •  That's why I said guidelines are needed (0+ / 0-)

        No alcohol to those under 21 is a valid regulation. So is selling cars to only those over 16 with a license. I'm not suggesting that guns be sold to children. The issue is how do we decide which adults can be trusted?  How do we discriminate among ADULTS?

        Perhaps a firearm owner identification card can be used?  That would tell the seller that the buyer is legal. Or everyone is presumed guilty. Is that what you want?

    •  When you sell a car to a complete stranger it is (0+ / 0-)

      registered in that strangers name and, if you have a brain, you make sure the sale is notified to the DMV so you are not liable.

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

      by DefendOurConstitution on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:37:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But it is the protection obligation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago

        Right now we have a law that controls the sale of guns. People have an obligation to avoid selling guns to people who are prohibited from having them.

        I am suggesting that we strengthen that obligation a little to make it meaningful.

        With a car, we have no obligation that says "may not knowingly transfer a motor vehicle to anyone with a history of drunk driving or a revoked license" If we did for cars it would be perfectly sensible to hold the previous owner of a car culpable for the actions of the next owner if they didn't check them out.

  •  Interesting proposal, but ... (12+ / 0-)

    1. Given the number of irresponsible parents and car owners in society at large, many of whom are also gun owners, how are we to believe this will actually work? What will make them suddenly rational and responsible when they are not?

    2. It's not enough. There has to be banning of semi-automatic weapons and large capacity ammo clips and drums, since the potential harm done in an instant would far exceed even the high tort limit you propose and contradicts any logical notion of "REASON" so why would we suppose any person wanting such weapons is reasonable?

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:01:23 AM PST

    •  We wouldn't suppose. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky Kid, jeff in nyc, ancblu, caul

      I agree with what you say with one exception.   semi-automatic is way too broad a label.   I own a 22 semi-automatic browning rifle that holds 13 bullets.   I bought it for target practice.    To load it, I must twist and remove a long rod that resides in the stock of the rifle.   I put 13 bullets in it, insert it back into the stock and twist it to secure it in place.  

      Under "semi-automatic" my rifle would be banned.  That's just plain ridiculous.

      What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

      by dkmich on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:38:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So shoot a bolt-action (6+ / 0-)

        I did all through my high school rirle team career and I didn't grow warts.

        •  NO. I love my little Browning rifle. (0+ / 0-)

          There has to be a distinction between military style assault rifles and small caliber rifles and hand guns.  

          What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

          by dkmich on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:12:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you are committing the same sin (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            that you objected to upthread -- being overbroad with the scope of any policy solution.

            Why single out "military style assault rifles" from handguns -- when in fact handguns are far and away the most frequent firearm used in gun violence?

            As far as caliber, the "military style assault rifle" is typically chambered for the .223 Remington or 5.56 Nato cartridges -- effectively the same bore diameter as your Browning.  This is "small caliber" but the larger case capacity of the .223/5.56 provides for very high velocities and certainly much higher than with handguns.

            The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

            by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:49:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was trying to make a point (0+ / 0-)

              Giving up a .22 semi-auto plinker seems a small price to pay for sane gun laws. I am not trying to say the proposed law is iron-clad. I am saying - assume for a moment it is - would that not be worth the cost of giving up a .22?

              •  I think you might have intended to reply (0+ / 0-)

                to dkmich ... but giving up all semi-automatics is a seriously overbroad proposal, especially considering that the liklihood of any of the 250+ million guns in this country account for less than one-tenth of one percent of annual criminal gun violence.  

                Something other than massive over-regulation and that focuses instead on the underying factors with a postive correlation to gun violence seems a much better approach.

                The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:54:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  If (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Your little Browning had to be sacrificed for functional, life-saving laws, wouldn't you make that trade?

      •  That also includes almost every pistol out there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dkmich, ancblu, caul

        They would now be banned.

        "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

        by Texas Lefty on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:03:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Semiautomatics of any kind and the legal automatic (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cocinero, Gary in NY, Mathazar, caul

          Should be registered, and proof of "sound mind" would include a) doctor's notarized affirmation after standardized evaluation, b) statements from three unrelated citizens who do not own firearms that this person is of "sound mind", and the affirmation by the local chief of police that this person is an "upstanding citizen".  
          Failure to register such firearms would include a heavy fine, say $5000 and a mandatory sentence of 12 months in prison.  This would be in addition to the liability insurance the author proposes.

          •  Being of "sound mind" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, caul

            would exclude those who claim "if we did not have an armed populace, an armed tyrant could take over America."

            •  This is exactly why it wouldn't pass (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Who determines what "sound mind" means?

              "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

              by Texas Lefty on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:12:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And who writes the "standardized test" ? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                And if there WERE one ... why isn't the Military using it when mustering out their combat veterans?

              •  I volunteer ... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko, Texas Lefty

                I'll do it.  And Peter Tosh fans will always get a pass. :)

                The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:52:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  There's a reasonable argument (0+ / 0-)

                That anyone wanting a high capacity semi-automatic weapon for hunting or "target practice" is not of "sound mind", and in any case, the mere possession of such weapons is a danger to society, so that is why some people advocate unconditional banning of such weapons.

                Simple, clear, fair. No arguments about criteria or qualifications.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:35:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Not gonna happen (0+ / 0-)

            No way this proposal would pass Congress.

            "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

            by Texas Lefty on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:11:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Doesn't need to pass congress (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              You get a few big stats like NY, and CA to do this, along with a number of smaller ones and you get the ball rolling.  At some point, if it works, you can build support for a national law, or push for more states to follow the model.

              •  States with lots of hunting, woods, and rural (0+ / 0-)

                areas would never agree to this.     If people can't tell the difference between  guns and killing machines, they obviously never owned a gun.

                People are just fucking nuts.   I don't get all the violence.      The daily carnage of one/two people everyday is mind boggling.   Add in the massacres, and it is beyond comprehension.

                What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

                by dkmich on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:22:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  We'll see. (0+ / 0-)

              Sounds almost like you are completely against any type of gun control and projecting a bit.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:37:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Where are we going to put the millions of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DarthMeow504, suspiciousmind

            people who refuse to register their guns and become newly minted felons. We would have to build concentration camps by the hundreds to hold them.
            But look on the bright side. It would be a jobs program

            •  your comment is unreasonable (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              No one is proposing mass arrests or camps, kickemout.  It is unreasonable comments like yours which makes a discussion about sane gun laws much more difficult.  You can be a part of the discussion or you can keep making these kinds of unreasonable comments.  Either way, people who care about the country and other people's lives will write new laws, with or without your input.

            •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

              The way these things work in the real world is:

              1. Amnesty/turn-in period.
              2. Confiscation of weapons and fine on first offense.
              3. Criminal prosecution on multiple offense.

              Countries that have done this have found it effective. You can never totally eliminate all such weapons but the majority can be recovered.

              Lots of gun owners go off the deep end with these concentration camp fantasies, which raises some serious questions about their connection to reality, but experience suggests these are more reactionary wet dreams than actual outcomes.

              So when people come at you with such nonsense I suggest you talk sense to them (after checking if they are armed and a danger to yourself).

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:50:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Which suggests why (0+ / 0-)

        It is necessary for regulations to be a bit more clearly specified than the diarist suggests.

        Another possible restriction would be on trigger action since some assault type weapons have what amounts to nearly automatic action since the range of release before re-firing is close to zero. While most such weapons would probably be classified already under any "assault weapons" ban it's possible to modify other semi-automatics (particularly pistols) to function in similar fashion (albeit with a limited number of shots).

        Probably other rules could be helpful to focus restriction where they need to be.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:52:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Looks like you misunderstand the diary (3+ / 0-)

      The liability isn't on the person who used the gun. That already exists. The liability appears on the person who made the gun available. What we would be doing, is, as a society, imposing a responsibility on gun owners to protect those guns from falling into the hands of those who would misuse them.

      Imagine if you were liable if you sold a car to someone who then went out, got drunk, and killed someone. You'd be a lot more careful about who you sold or loaned your car to. dealers would run background checks, and buying and selling cars person to person would become much more rare.

      The same logic applies here. It is a persistent liability that would make the reform work.

      •  You should research (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the legal principle of superseding intervening cause.  It's a long-established concept in tort law and liability and poses substantial problems for your proposal -- criminal behavior by others is not typically seen as foreseeable and therefore the causation link would be severed and no liability for third party conduct would or should arise.

        The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

        by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:59:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are misreading it, ancblu. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ancblu, AdamSelene

          No one can eliminate criminal behavior after a legal sale, and the suggestion above is not attempting to do so.  A proper background check eliminates the liability by showing due diligence by the seller.  The problem right now is that it is possible to sell a gun privately without doing a background check.  Straw gun buyers and mass purchasers in lax states who illegally re-sell to criminals in states with strong gun laws do not right now incur any liability.  States which have weak laws and do not have a monthly limit on gun purchases (such as Virginia) act as exporters (i.e. to DC and NYC), and the gun manufacturers & gun stores know it.  This is why the NRA (paid by the gun makers) blocks stronger laws.  Requiring legal liability of the intermediaries would stop these kind of sales.

          •  I agree that (0+ / 0-)

            some regulatory change needs to be made with respect to the private sale exemption.  A local practice of many responsible firearm owners here in Alaska is to obtain a written bill of sale that positively identifies the buyer and contains representations that the buyer is not disqualified from owning or purchasing the gun.

            This is certainly short of requiring that all private transaction be routed through a local FFL dealer or even an obligation that private sellers be required to conduct a formal federal background check.  I don't want to be an LE arm of the federal government, but this is a problem area where improved regulatory action could be taken.

            Straw buyers are prosecuted when identified and they are prosecuted under federal law not state -- which is a big difference.  An arrest on this exact charge just occurred with the recent Christmas Eve sniper attack on firefighters in upstate NY.

            As to misreading the post, I don't believe I actually have.  The suggestion is to impose

            a persistent liability
            , but this directly raises the issue of superseding cause under long-established tort principles.  Similar regulatory suggestions regarding imposition of "strict liability" really don't understand the nature of the doctrine -- which is generally applied in a commercial context where a dangerous instrumentality has been introduced into the stream of commerce and it was intended to shift liablity to the party in the best position to limit the risk.  This particular legal argument has been repeatedly asserted against gun manufacturers for a long time now ... and they invariably fail.

            The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

            by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:20:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The biggest flaw in your argument is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      While at one time (50 years ago) DID habitually leave their keys in their cars,  inviting "joy rides" by underage family and perfect strangers -- that hasn't been going on for at least a generation.

      Why?  Aggressive policing almost guarantees that cars used in crimes or involved in accidents get traced back to their registered owners ... then civil courts, criminal courts, and insurance agencies mete out punishments.

      Everyone knows "report your stolen car to the police ASAP  -- or else"

      Yet, in the "gun friendly" States ... owners often seem to procrastinate about reporting their missing firearms -- until the weapons turn up as evidence in a criminal case in a more "restrictive" jurisdiction.  (Not saying ALL these owners sell their guns to ineligible buyers for quick cash -- but where there's no legal requirement to report the sale or theft of one's guns, and no consequence when those guns wind up a crime scenes ...well, "why would they."

      If guns were as well-regulated and responsibly used as automobiles ... we probably wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

      (Just try to imagine an automotive environment in which it was actually illegal for governments to keep records of sales, VINS, or issue license plates.  That's pretty much the current situation vis a vis guns.)

      As for the necessity of "banning Ugly Guns"  yeah,, that's the same sort of thinking that has 80 year old grandmothers taking off their orthopedic shoes in airports and why they can't transport jars of peanut butter in their checked luggage.

      (Hey, one guy DID have explosives in his shoe, and another WAS  e-mailing about disguising homebrew explosives as foodstuffs.  QED.) ''

      Based on sales the AR15 design is the second most successful in the world, out-sold only by the the Soviet subsidized AK47.  Between the two, there are more than enough "military style" weapons in private hands in the United States to supply every ill-intentioned individual for centuries to come.

      The remarkable thing probably is how SELDOM these designs are used for mayhem ... especially as compared to more conservatively designed rifles and pistols.

      We've got 30,000 or so firearms death each year ... 18,000 or so being suicides.  Of these, how  many involved "Ugly Guns?"   A hundred?  More like 50?  Every other year?  

      And every time a "ban" or regulation is proposed ... the sales go up -- as does the suggestion that these are the weapons of choice that any self respecting crazy person ought to get to act out his apocalyptic. vision/suicide by cop.

      •  The 2nd amendment says 'keep' (0+ / 0-)

        I think the keep interpretation goes far.

        If you don't have your deadly weapon in you hand, the responsibility cannot be severed.  In other, words, a lost or stolen gun makes you liable.  Period.

        Maybe not exactly as I propose.  But I would like to see this in the gun control laws.

        Please sign my petition.

        •  Where is your petition ... ? And what's it for ? (0+ / 0-)

          If the idea is to impose something like the "owner liability" concept that already exists in regard to high explosives and automobiles ...  absolutely!

          If the idea is to simulate a vast grass roots movement to "ban semi-automatic weapons " -- not so much.

          The question is "does an Honest Man" NEED a follow up shot.   Any number of deer hunters have voted "no" by buying single shot muzzle loaders for bringing home their Bambi Braten.

          On the other hand, any number of target and tactical sport shooters have found  the autoloading feature of semi-autos an enormous convenience.

  •  Love it. Actions have consequences, and... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution, Mathazar

    folks who demand 'rights' must also bear the associated responsibilities. This just codifies it.

  •  And if someone breaks into my home, steals (0+ / 0-)

    my gun, and kills someone with it - then what?   If someone steals my car, I am not liable for what they do with it.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:35:17 AM PST

    •  Swimming pool (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you left  it on your table while your on vacation your liable -Just like if you don't have a fence around your pool.  If you have it in a safe your not -Or better yet leave it with the cops when your on Vacation - I don't want to see you go to jail if make an honest effort to keep your gun safe when your not using it.

    •  We also don't have a protection obligation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DefendOurConstitution, Mathazar

      on your car. If you own a car, society hasn't decided that you have an obligation to protect a car from misuse.

      The pool example below is perfect. Have a pool? A child may drown and you might be liable if you didn't protect it.

      I am suggesting we create a new protection obligation.

      •  It already exists ... (0+ / 0-)

        negligent handling of a firearm can lead to both civil and criminal sanctions.

        There are many examples, but here is a fairly recent one involving a police officer's conduct no less and with very tragic consequences:


        There is no need to create a new liability obligation.

        The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

        by ancblu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:05:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Seems all these have been proposed many times (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty

    Even simple things like trigger locks are rejected with bubbling passion. Expecting every owner to have trigger locks, gun safes, separate ammo lockers, or so forth ... how is that going to get passed into law? I'm just saying it seems everything suggested here has been tried and failed  repeatedly.

    •  I've been saying the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What can actually get passed into law considering the makeup of the Congress?

      There are far too many suggestions on this site that will never see the light of day as a federal law.  

      "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

      by Texas Lefty on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:01:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This isn't going to do much for (0+ / 0-)

    people who use guns and end up killing themselves and possibly others with them (suicides, or any of the recent mass killings where the shooter ends up killing themself).

    Financial liability also won't mean much for the poor and destitute who don't have much to take.

  •  When there was a new mandate (5+ / 0-)

    that every car owner must carry insurance, there were those who still chose not to pay.  There was much crying and rending of cloth by those who were upset that they were following the law, but there were still those who didn't.  Over the years the mandate has reduced the number of those not carrying insurance because it was required you show proof of insurance when licensing the car, driving the car or if something bad happened with penalties being imposed for those who didn't.  If someone didn't carry insurance and did cause damage the law allows them to still be sued.  Those that do carry insurance and still pose a high risk through bad driving, accidents, and unsafe equipment are charged a higher rate accordingly.  Insurance companies also price the risk based on age and the type of car you drive.  I wouldn't be surprised if they access other information about you (credit rating, health records) to determine your reliability before issuing you insurance so they can price your risk factor.

    One aspect of the mandate is that insurance companies who sell car insurance become a regulator of sorts alongside the government.  They require the person purchasing their insurance to follow specific rules, get additional training, and they add incentives for those who are safe drivers.  Insurance company lobbyists over the years have also probably had some affect on new safety features in cars and new laws implemented over the years that reduces their risk.  This is the same type of thinking behind the mandate for health insurance (ACA).  It is a 'free market' sort of system, if you will, because it forces the market to price out bad apples and to regulate behavior where government can't.

    Would this work for guns?  Well, my guess is that corporate America hates risk and would price accordingly.  We might, in effect, 'free market' the majority of guns out of existence since the liability insurance would be so high, few could afford it.  Or, the insurance companies would have a significant stake in making sure only responsible gun owners were the ones purchasing and using guns and that manufacturers were selling a safer product.  Think of it in terms of the cost of insurance for a Ford Focus (single shot hunting rifle) to the cost of a Ferrari (Assault Rifle with high capacity clip).  Let the Insurance Actuaries loose!

    I'm in.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:32:14 AM PST

  •  Though I agree with most ifnotall your solutions, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, DefendOurConstitution

    I must point out THIS engineer's experience of your methods, after ten years of management work in cabinet/administrator level HQ's -

    "Start by laying out requirements, find an option that works, no matter how strange it might seem, and work out the details."

     - That's not engineering, it's "Project Management"- the mistaking of which for actual science (rather than budget-, power- profit- or capitalism-) based Engineering, is what dooms most projects and agencies to failure. "Cost cutting," while paying government AND a contractor to spend most of their time reporting on, and to each other, wastes all the money and ends in hasty ,cheap systems built by the lowest bidder and best politicians, and the end product is demonstrably dead astronauts falling from the skies.

    What an Engineer would (and this one does) say is, get rid of "contracting," stop serving PROFIT, and DO YOUR JOB, government.  

    And yes, charge the taxes you really NEED to DO IT RIGHT- but only from those who actually HAVE that kind of money. Their profits all CAME from what YOU(we) do.

    Privatization (PROFIT-based "engineering" -and especially PM-) doubles costs, while HALVING efficiency and even functionality.

    You may claim this has nothing to do with the thread topic, but until this -ROOT CAUSE- is fixed, government is so owned by capitalism (the DEFINITION of Fascism) it will never go against the NRA -the arms and war industry, which the other capitalists(esp. energy speculators) know, as the MIC, are crucial to their world energy monopoly.
    And no solutions - especially ones that might substitute results for maximum profitability- will ever be inplemented.

  •  Change legal age of ownership to 25 (4+ / 0-)

    Two things we know about brain development and first onset schizophrenia are that by age 25 the normal brain development that supports the ability to estimate the future consequences of our actions is fully mature and that most first breaks in a life beset by Schizophrenia happen by 25.

    Assault weapon bans, even if poorly written, seem to have a beneficial affect. This can be seen based on the natural results of the lapsing of the assault weapon ban and the generally lower death rates by firearm in states that have some form of limitation on the killing power of weapons.

    Hold manufacturers and sellers to a higher standard of responsibility. The principal is similar to what the diarist is proposing for gun owners. If a gun manufacturer or a seller makes and sells more weapons that end up being used to kill humans (excluding self defense and suicide) they should bear the cost. The principal here is similar to holding polluters accountable for the externalized cost (damage to others and the environment) of their economic activity. Presumably a manufacturer or seller that makes guns of high killing capacity will pay a greater price than companies that focus on weapons more suitable for hunting and home defense but less suitable for efficient mass killing.

    Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

    by Bob Guyer on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:37:03 AM PST

  •  thanks (3+ / 0-)

    An interesting proposal; thanks for sharing it.  As others have noted, this would not necessarily prevent some killings, especially mass shootings. But I think that it could have a genuine impact overall on the number of killings, whether accidental or purposeful.  

    And it may be that there is no real solution for some of the more heinous shootings.   Some problems don't have solutions.

    But ideas that might work are certainly worth considering.

  •  It seems that an insurance program, based upon (2+ / 0-)

    sound actuarial and underwriting principles, should be able to rate the risk of each major weapons group, which would then be used to properly price the risk.  It doesn't intefere with the right to keep and bear arms, just to take financal responsibility for their misuse.

    We need to bear in mind that auto insurance statistics, even though most states mandate minimum liability coverage, and lenders mandate minimum collision coverage, insurance industry statistics still say 1 in 7 (14 per cent) of cars do not carry liability insurance, which places a burden on those who do in the form of un-and-underinsured coverage riders.

    Of course risk mitigation measures such as storage of most weapons in gun safes, separation of weapons and ammunition, adequate and documented weapons training can be used to improve the rating, similar to the analogus good driver, multiple vehicle, good student and other discounting methods used in auto insurance.  The actuaries have the means to rate this kind of risk, and pricing can be adjusted down accordingly based on these factors.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:17:39 AM PST

  •  How about strict liability for bullets instead? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution, liz

    This is really Chris Rock's idea:

    When you think about it, legally classifying all bullets as bombs or fragmentation devices might go quite a ways as far as this would go.

    You hear a lot about how everyone in Switzerland has to own a gun. They also have to own a box of bullets that they may not open until the order to do so comes.

    Anybody who ever had a gun and kids in the house knows that bullet or shell control is even more important than gun control.

    Radioactive tagging of bullets and tracking sales by tags would be a practical way of tracking down any harm that comes by way of ammunition purchases.

  •  From an ex-attorney point of view, (2+ / 0-)

    this is a reasonable approach.  I have advocated such an approach in comments to other diaries. Tort law is one of the primary ways we have always established public policy. One, of reasons is that it allows economic incentives to work.  You will have a lot of people who will determine that it is not economically viable to own a weapon any longer and will get rid of them.  For those who do not give up their weapons, they will pay economic consequences when they have not complied with the law. This will not bring back someone who has died or make someone whole who has been injured.  However, it will provide some form of relief (a legal concept, not a moral or emotional concept).

    One piece of advice, don't conflate your terms like you do here:

    If a gun is used in a crime, then the legal gun owner becomes an accessory to that crime.
    First, strict liability will cast a net much bigger than occasions where a crime has been committed. Negligent situations will and should be covered as well.

    Second, if you are actually saying criminal liability would exist, you are changing hundreds of yeas of criminal law.  This would be legally and politically a big can of worms you don't need to open.

    Sorry if someone else has already said something similar.

  •  State Laws Going in Complete Opposite Direction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In Stand Your Ground states like Florida, a gun owner isn't automatically liable for their gun being used, even when they are the ones pulling the trigger and killing somebody. They can claim immunity because they feared for their life even it turns out that there judgement was poor and they killed somebody unnecessarily. If in many states you can't even get legislation passed that makes the gun owner responsible for how they directly use their own gun, how on earth would you ever convince them that gun owners should be responsible for what somebody else does with their guns?

    There is only one real solution and that is to start laying the groundwork to repeal the Second Amendment. It may never get done, and will likely take more then a generation to get close, but on the march towards it we can start changing public opinion about guns and their place in American society and hopefully back away from the insane direction the NRA has dragged us in their quest to sell as many guns as possible.

    •  Because the NRA bishops that lead this religion (0+ / 0-)

      are not just busy reciting their sacred texts all the time - they are also actively buying the politicians and writing/pushing these laws (while at the same time suing every state that still has reasonable gun laws to get rid of those).  Make no mistake, this is a very fundamentalist religion, but it is run like the mafia.

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

      by DefendOurConstitution on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:09:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Owner Liability works like a charm for cars .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As does the elaborate set of laws and regulations, plus the bureaucracies, police, and courts which  apply them.

    Thirty-odd years ago, Sen. Ted Kennedy had a reasonably useful idea ... a Federal permit that would facilitate legal sales and purchases of small numbers of weapons and their ammunition by ordinary citizens.  Since these citizen-dealers would come under the same regulations as the bricks-and-mortar kind ... at least all NEWLY sold weapons would be registers in permanent record books.

    Advances in technology since then would make it even more convenient to document legal sales AND create a federal data base of which guns are where -- more or less in real time.

    (Of course we know where the NRA, it's constituency, and the politicians it dictates to stand on registering and keeping track of guns or their owners, at all.  So ...)

  •  A two step process wherein both a permit and proof (4+ / 0-)

    of insurance are required to make a purchase may add another layer of protection.  

    Prohibitively high rates could be justified for ownership of certain types of arms that are kept in an individuals home and not in a licensed and inspected facility for gun storage such as a range, a store, a law enforcement department, etc.

    No it wouldn't solve all problems but it may decrease the future  incidence and probabality of mass shootings.

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:32:10 PM PST

  •  Disposable handguns. Just like disposable lighters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Good for five or six shots, then it's a paperweight.
    Surely a talented engineer could invent that.

    The used guns could be recycled to reduce the cost per unit.

    you don't believe in evolution, you understand it. you believe in the FSM.

    by Mathazar on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:32:42 PM PST

  •  Wouldn't ammo regulation be simpler? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz, 88kathy, DefendOurConstitution

    Without ammo, guns, no matter how bad-assed they appear, are no more dangerous than hammers, or baseball bats. It seems like limits on ammo sales would be a much easier sell to the American people than all sorts of complicated regulations about classes of weapons, types of safes and locks, liability insurance, etc...

    Here's a rough first pass at some sane potential limits.

    1. Recreational shooters may own assault weapons and may even own high capacity magazines, but they can only purchase the ammo,  load the magazines and use the weapons at licensed shooting ranges.

    2. Hunting laws in every state already limit how many animals hunters may take. Restrict hunting ammo sales to a reasonable multiple of these limits per year.

    3. Ammo for weapons of personal defense should be limited to a certain number of rounds per year. Unless someone is living in a war zone, there's no earthly reason why they should be allowed to own more a few rounds. When they need to practice shooting, they can buy their ammo at licensed ranges.

    4. For those who like to make their own ammo, similar limits could be applied to gunpowder sales.

    These are obviously a bit too simplistic, but as a general starting point, I believe these rules would significantly reduce gun deaths and drastically reduce the possibility of mass shootings.

    •  Could work in theory, but I have issues (0+ / 0-)

      1) Ammo, including massive stocks of legally owned ammo now, is impossible to trace. Guns have serial numbers by law, ammunition does not.

      2) Ammunition is easily concealable. A 50 caliber shell is as large as the smallest of derrigners.

      The firearm is the more sophisticated piece by far, and are uniquely identifiable by owner in general. if you restrict ammunition sales, I think the regulations would be heavy handed enough to get real resistance that would kill it.

  •  Kudos... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ....I could not agree more.....

    Now how do we get this enacted?  

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke ...I am not the NRA and I vote too..... - ME

    by CyberDem on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:17:39 PM PST

  •  Yes! Enforce the KEEP in the 2nd Amendment. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You are responsible for your deadly weapon, in your hand or for any other hand.

    The process to sever that responsibility, detailed and mandatory.

    If your gun is lost or stolen, your responsibility can never be severed.  

    It is a deadly weapon, it has permanent consequences.  Part of the permanent consequences is deadly weapon ownership.

    Please sign my petition.  I think many are coming to the same conclusion here.

    •  That's not what “keep” meant in the 2nd. /nt (0+ / 0-)

      The 2nd Amendment was written to protect the right of the states to continue to have their own militias after the Constitution's mandate for a permanent national army. In spite of Scalia's obfuscation, the most relevant statutory context was this phrase from the Articles of Confederation:

      every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage
      It is interesting to note that without doubt the strongest impetus for the People in certain states to insist on the retention of militias was to protect against the very real threat that abolitionists would gain control of the national government and seek forcibly to emancipate their slaves.
  •  If only that Sandy Hook shooter had insurance... (0+ / 0-)

    Those 20 babies would still be alive!!!

  •  I don't see (0+ / 0-) any of this slows down the velocity of a bullet enough to prevent it from penetrating a childs' skull.

  •  Not so sure about this (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not an engineer, but I have written software and I play online video games.  The first thing that pops into my mind at all times when looking at any system is this: "How will people exploit it?"  Gamers in particular always look for loopholes to ruthlessly exploit for their own advantage.

    In this case, the flaw seems to be that people will simply purchase firearms that are not easily traceable back to themselves.  They will fight against registries or else simply will not accurately register their weapons if they even register them at all.  Many dealers--legal and illegal--may be very accomodating with this.  Too many gun owners would see little or no advantages and only potential liabilities with having ownership of a weapon linking back to themselves, and so they will try very, very hard to avoid it.  Look at all the resistance to something as simple as a gun registry.

    •  The exploit is smaller than you think (0+ / 0-)
      people will simply purchase firearms that are not easily traceable back to themselves
      Well, first of all, bear in mind that avoiding owner liability on a gun only protects you from someone else misusing your gun. You'd still be liable under current law if you yourself misuse it.

      Under the proposed system, someone is always liable for the gun's actions (or at least, is legally responsible for absolutely preventing the gun from being mishandled or misused).

      That means that if the gun isn't easily traceable to me, it leaves the previous owner holding the bag for any misdeeds you, or anyone who steals it from you might commit. That is a powerful disincentive for anyone to leave themselves holding the bag for your liability.

      Any good private investigator checking a gun against licensed gunsmiths, purchase and salve records in various counties, etc, would be able to trace the provenance of a surprising number of guns.

      Yes, a small number of guns would end up with broken documentation. Stolen weapons, very old weapons, and a few others, but just as many guns are confiscated or become useless every year, and a small number of illegal guns in circulation would be comparable in problems to Britain.

  •  I think this is wrong-headed (0+ / 0-)

    It doesn't take human nature sufficiently into account.

    As it is now, if you are sloppy about keeping track of your gun, someone could take it and kill someone with it. Every gun owner already knows that. The consequences of being responsible, morally even if not legally, for someone's death as the result of your own lack of responsibility “should” create an enormous disincentive for gun carelessness. And in fact, this is the case for many gun owners: they already do feel responsible, morally, exactly in the ways outlined in the diary's proposal.

    Yet, as we see, many gun owners are careless and guns get into large numbers of the wrong hands, and people do get killed. This is probably due in large part to the perfectly valid perception that the odds of something like that happening to “me” are very small.

    I assert that if in addition to the already terribly strong common-sense and moral elements constraining gun owners to be responsible we added new legal and criminal elements, there would be little change, either in the real odds or in the human perception of them. Certainly not a degree of change that would solve our problem with gun (and other) violence.

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