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This is a proposal for a new approach to firearm regulation in the United States.

It is proposed that mutual consent within a small cooperative group be required for any member to possess a firearm.

The consenting members are liable if the firearm is used in a crime.

The groups are registered with their local law enforcement agency, must meet minimum regulatory standards and are periodically reviewed for compliance.

Without being compelled by law, groups seeking to minimize the risk of liability are free to impose extra mutually approved requirements on their membership.

Details follow.

Laws to regulate firearm ownership and use have historically focused on the relationship between the individual owner and various levels of government.

Regardless of the wording of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, the US Supreme Court has ruled (in McDonald and Heller) that individuals have the right to own firearms. This right is subject to regulation. This proposal is intended to be consistent with the US Constitution, as interpreted. Nine votes in this proposal title refers not to the number of the Supreme Court justices, but to the number of other members in a particular cooperative group.

Individuals jealously guard their right to keep the weapons of their choice. Many are convinced that this right protects them from tyranny – not necessarily from the current government, but from a future government with access to their records. Background checks are useful, but probably not sufficient, to keep weapons away from dangerous individuals. Responsible users of firearms chafe at the prospect of government intrusion required to assess the qualifications of the individual in sufficient detail to exclude the dangerous ones. Background checks may be the most intrusion which is constitutionally permitted, and which is politically achievable. But are they enough?

This proposal stipulates that the vast majority of firearm owners use them legally and responsibly.

The very people who most want widespread ownership of firearms must take personal responsibility for the behavior of other owners. There is currently no consequence for the gun owners who resist restrictive laws and allow the mentally ill to use guns maliciously. They can at no cost blame the government, society, and tangential factors for these events. Yet their own efforts to loosen regulations for their own benefit are the major reason that these weapons are available for inappropriate uses.

Government officials or mental health workers, in respect of individual rights, will bar individuals from firearm possession only in the most obvious cases. In any case, cause for such a bar requires a prior event to have come the their attention. Often, only people close to a person can really have sufficient knowledge of past and present behavior to predict future firearms related problems. It is rare for government or medical institutions to have that exposure to the individual in question.

This proposal restricts firearm possession to individuals who have a permit signed by a set number of members of a special type of firearm cooperative. Each and every signer will be subject to fines, imprisonment, or both if the permit holder uses the weapon in violation of any law.

The firearm cooperative will have its own bylaws, subject to minimum Federal requirements. The customized bylaws will be established by mutual consent of the members. The bylaws can and are likely to be far more restrictive than any government would contemplate. With such a high personal cost for misjudgment, members will wish to ensure that they are not signing for a reckless individual. They are motivated to sign so that they themselves can get signatures from the other members.

Many possible custom restrictions can be imagined, for example:
(1)    Arms storage in the home must follow rules established and verified by the cooperative.
(2)    Arms must be stored in a cooperative controlled area.
(3)    Some types of arms and ammunition are excluded from the permit.
(4)    Visits to the owners home are required, including interviews with all household members. Children in the household may reach an age or exhibit aspects of behavior which cause adults in the household to lose their permits.
(5)    Permit holders are evaluated more frequently than the law requires.

The permits must be reviewed at least annually. The number of cooperative members can vary above a minimum, perhaps 10, established by law. Signatures are required by all other members of the minimum size group. If there is a larger membership, the law will establish what larger number of signatures are required, if any. In the example 10 member group, nine signatures are required on a valid permit.

By requiring multiple signatures, the public will have greater assurance that the permit holder has been approved by at least a small number of close associates, each highly motivated to make a conservative evaluation of the character of the permit holder. While individual character judgments might be too lax, the number of signatures required makes it more probable that at least some members of the cooperative will spot a problem and resist signing.

Signatures can be revoked at any time.

The permit, renewal, and any changes to the list of signers, must be promptly recorded with local law enforcement. Permits are temporarily suspended if the signature count drops below the lawful requirement. Signature revocation empowers law enforcement to investigate the circumstances. Under normal circumstances, the privacy of the membership is protected, including details of their personal lives and their gun ownership. Government intrusion is a rare event.

Cooperatives may lose members for various reasons. Permit suspension provides time for the remaining members to get back to the legal minimum roster while retaining possession but not use of their firearms. While the temporary situation exists, the loss of signatures is not considered revocation. Cooperatives may disband and merge with other cooperatives. In most cases, this need not disrupt the status of currently valid permits.

If permits are revoked, this could legally empower law enforcement to compel the cooperative to provide normally confidential records, or assist with the impounding of the regulated firearms. The actual list of firearms being regulated by the cooperative, and the location of the firearms, and to what extent these lists are made available to law enforcement, are all independently subject to government regulation. The intent of this proposal is to restrict who has access to firearms, independently of what those firearms are.

Individuals are free to pick the cooperative with bylaws and safeguards which they find to provide the level of benefits, intrusion, and exposure to liability which they can accept.

Revised from original version created on 20 December 2012.

Your comments will be appreciated.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (0+ / 0-)

    The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

    by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:23:47 AM PST

  •  Tips on how to get it done /nt (0+ / 0-)

    The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

    by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:24:48 AM PST

  •  I don't get it (6+ / 0-)


    In order to exercise my Constitutional right to free speech, I have to join a cooperative?   I can't just exercise my right to free speech as an individual?    I have to be responsible for other people's exercise of their free speech?

    Not buying it.  

    •  Can we just stop this (0+ / 0-)

      sanctimonious, perpetually aggrieved whining about "my constitutional rights"?

      Your so-called constitutional right was hallucinated out of whole cloth by one Antonin Scalia against a century of precedent. Its origins lie in slave-hunting militias. Let's try to remember that on a Democratic web site.

      Can we do that? Thanks.

      Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

      by MBNYC on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:10:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dear sanctimonious, perpetually aggrieved whiner (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fuzzyguy, stori, PSWaterspirit

        I do remember the I'm on a Democratic web site.  We are also on a fact-based, rational web site.

        It is a fact that the Supreme Court did decide it is a Constitutional right.   Until or unless that decision changes, it is a Constitutional right, and your sanctimonious, perpetually aggrieved whining does not change that fact.    

        The hallucinations and fantasies that you enjoy that certain Constitutional rights don't exist just because you don't want them to,  are no doubt pleasurable to you, but they are not based in reality.

        Since you introduced this language, I have followed your lead, and used terms like "sanctimonious", "aggrieved", "whining", "hallucinated", because I felt that it would make you more comfortable, as it is the language that  introduced into the conversation and that you seem to prefer.       I hope that it helps you to feel at home here.  

        I find this language to be very disrespectful and rude, and not conducive to civil discourse, but felt that good manners required me to set aside my own discomfort in order to make you feel more at home here.

        Best Wishes.

        •  Oh, I'm so sorry. (0+ / 0-)

          Well, actually, I'm not.

          You don't have an argument. What you have are assertions based entirely on a court decision that most of us believe to be bad law, much as were other decisions issuing from the same body. Unless you contend that one must never question the Court, that is.

          And it is precisely you realize the vacuity of your position that you conflate it with freedom of speech. Which is a bit of an easier sell, isn't it, not to mention considerably better founded in precedent.

          Lastly, respect is not given, it is earned, as is disrespect. You might want to consider that small fact the next time you confuse Amendments One and Two.

          Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

          by MBNYC on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:10:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fuzzyguy

            Disrespect is most definitely earned.  You would know.

          •  Checkmate (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fuzzyguy, stori

            My facts trump your opinions.    I've got law on my side.   :)

            •  Not really, though. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Agathena

              What you have is bad law at odds with something called stare decisis. My guess would be that Heller will be overturned as soon as we have a liberal majority on SCOTUS again.

              You do serve a purpose, though; to illustrate just how rightwing and juvenile the pro-gun position here really is. Which I suppose has some scant value :-)

              Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

              by MBNYC on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:33:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If, if, if... (0+ / 0-)

                If Heller is overturned, then the nature of our Constitutional Right will change, factually, and I will refer to them, factually, based on their new status.

                In the meantime, the fact of law remains the fact of law.  It is juvenile of you to insult someone for speaking in terms of the facts, rather than joining you in your fantasy world where the facts don't exist because you don't like them to.  

                Your insulting behavior undercuts any rational argument you might make.   It gives your entire argument a  juvenile character, such that one is predisposed to dismiss it as entirely lacking in substance or fact.

                You have a great many opinions and guesses and insults, and are quite hostile to actual facts.   This behavior is much more out of place here on Democratic DKOS than my references to fact.

                You aren't helping your position.  If anything, you are doing harm to it.

      •  You misread me. It is not about my rights. (0+ / 0-)

        I do not own a firearm. But those who do so have rights, and will vote for legislators who they think will protect those rights. I was merely attempting to describe the legal status of those rights. This is an effort to get support from reasonable gun owners, and in turn, legislative support.
        It is not a whine.

        The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

        by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:53:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh. You are from New York City!! (0+ / 0-)

        No wonder you are so rude.   Is it something in the water, there?

      •  New York City (0+ / 0-)

        It also explains your inability to comprehend how other citizens of this country, who don't live in New York City, might have different perspectives, different lifestyles, different issues than yours.   I can see where there might not be much place for a gun in a loft apartment in Manhattan.   It's a very different lifestyle from that of a Mississippi farmer, or a rancher in Southern Arizona dealing with trespassers crossing the border from Mexico.    

        Ignorance is no excuse, though.

        •  ... (0+ / 0-)
          Ignorance is no excuse, though.
          You are from New York City!! (0+ / 0-)
          No wonder you are so rude.
          Actually, I'm from California. But I also grew up in the military, and people like me have little tolerance for stupid people putting their lives, our lives, and other lives in danger because they have equally stupid ideas on what a gun can and cannot be used for or compared to.

          I hope that clarifies things somewhat.

          Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

          by MBNYC on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:17:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Any comments on the proposal? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Agathena

            That would be appreciated.

            The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

            by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:25:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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

              I doubt it would pass constitutional muster, because that document does not recognize groups in the way you envision.

              Something like this might be organized in a way similar to an incorporation, like an LLC. But LLCs are governed by applicable state law, while this is clearly Federal. One thing you don't integrate in your proposal is a standard of law that would govern these associations, or what recourse exists if party A has a grievance against party B over the terms or execution of the association, e.g. if party A suffers a material loss by the actions of party B, for which A can't be held culpable.

              There's more, obviously, but your proposal is very much a solution in search of a problem.

              Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

              by MBNYC on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:48:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Constitutional muster, solution in search... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MBNYC

                I think, as a form of regulation, a coop has no inherent constitutional obstacle. It is up to the legislators to say what forms of organization are acceptable. Certainly there are federal tax laws which discuss various forms of business and non-profit group organization, even though these are state chartered.

                There is no federal law for a 55 MPH speed limit. States did it to avoid certain sticks, or to get certain carrots.

                As for being a solution in search of a problem -- there is a very obvious existing problem. I responded to a public call for solutions, including new ones. Most of what I have heard so far has not been unreasonable, but also not particularly new.

                The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

                by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:54:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Again. The facts. (0+ / 0-)

            MBNYC's Profile

            It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), Il Principe
            Gender:     Queer
            Location:     New York City

            Dude,  it's from your profile.  If you don't want it to say "New York City", don't write "New York City"  in your profile.  And, you added "NYC" to your pen name, too, to make your point.   So, it's understandable why a person might think "New York City" instead of "California".  

            And, your motto, "It is better to be feared than loved" does explain a bit more about your tendency to rudeness.

    •  The right can be regulated. (0+ / 0-)

      The question is how to do so effectively.

      The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

      by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:56:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's too complicated, it would be preferable (0+ / 0-)

    for the person seeking a permit to have at least two recommendations from people who know him/her on his application. Imo

    I would also like to see each gun registered by serial number in a national gun registry.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:49:27 AM PST

    •  oh, like your country's long arms registry (0+ / 0-)

      which they abandoned because it was too unwieldy and ineffective?

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:50:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No handguns are still being registered in Canada (0+ / 0-)

        and those are what I was referring to. Most murders are committed with handguns.

        Long guns are unrestricted so they dropped the registration of them.

        I guess you didn't read that far.

        http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/...

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:22:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i did read that far (0+ / 0-)

          hence the specification of "long gun registry," hey?

          but here is what you said:

          I would also like to see each gun registered by serial number in a national gun registry.
          you didn't limit that to "restricted" guns.  so which u.s. guns should be in this registry and why would it work any better than canada's, especially since canada never had a second amendment?

           

          Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

          by Cedwyn on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:03:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you have a comment on the original diary? (0+ / 0-)

            I would appreciate it.

            The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

            by FightersFate on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:08:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No comment from C. on your diary, just a drive by (0+ / 0-)

              comment to defend guns and try to insult. Lately the gun enthusiasts have been checking the gun control advocates' profiles to see what they can use against them.

              ❧To thine ownself be true

              by Agathena on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:24:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  "I would also like to see each gun registered by (0+ / 0-)

            serial number in a national gun registry." I stand by my wish.

            Long guns are no longer registered in Canada which is a mistake, a right-wing government overturned that regulation.

            It's a mistake in memory of four young police officers who were shot to death with a long gun on an Alberta farm in 2005.

            ❧To thine ownself be true

            by Agathena on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:47:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The mistake... (0+ / 0-)

              ... is to say that James Roszko used a long gun that would have been covered by the Registry -- when he actually used a Heckler & Koch 91, a variant of the G3 military rifle.

              The G3 and derivatives are prohibited by an order-in-council that predated the introduction of the long-gun registry by a few years.  

              The gun that Roszko used to kill those RCMP officers was effectively banned in Canada from civilian ownership, with very few exceptions.  Roszko smuggled his rifle into Canada from the United States several years before the massacre.

              There be no shelter, here. The front line is everywhere.

              by Wisewood on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 11:37:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Two recommendations vs nine signatures. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena

      A signature commits the signer to liability and ongoing responsibility. A recommendation does not.

      Whether two or nine, or some other number is ideal is of course subject to debate.

      Gun registration is another matter, which this proposal does nothing to oppose or support.

      The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

      by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:59:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gun license in NYS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FightersFate, Agathena

      If memory serves, in order to get a firearm license in NY state, one has to fill out the application, send in the fee, and send two written and signed recommendations from persons who know the applicant personally.

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

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:00:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that is useful as a one time hurdle (0+ / 0-)

        This sort of gating requirement is useful at the time of application. But does the person making the recommendation have an ongoing responsibility? Is there any liability if they just rubber stamp the request from a friend?

        The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

        by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:18:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No further responsibilities (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FightersFate, Agathena

          I am not an expert, but I believe who write a recommendation to accompany a gun license application have no further responsibilities once the recommendation is written.

          The recommendation is supposed to attest to the applicant's good character and sound mind.  It's a small hurdle to prevent fraudulant licensing applications.

          In some gun stores, they will offer to write your two recommendations right on the spot if you wish to buy a gun and are not already licensed.

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

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:48:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why would gun enthusiasts agree to this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FightersFate

    Your proposal has some merit, but I can see no reason why gun enthusiasts would agree to such a system.

    As things stand today, a gun enthusiasts who wants to own and use a gun needs do little more than go out and get a gun and some bullets, and apply to the state for a license.  There is no requirement to seek permission or allowance from a group, nor any committment to be accoutable for the behavior of others.

    What's in it for the gun enthusiasts?

    And of course the gun enthusiasts will be happy to tell us that such a proposal violates the "shall not be infringed" part of the 2nd Amend.

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

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:55:23 AM PST

    •  To get signatures you must provide yours. (0+ / 0-)

      It is a mutual coop. You join it to get the signatures for yourself.

      The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

      by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:02:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Status quo is better (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FightersFate

        But to the gun owners, today's status quo is vastly preferable.

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

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:11:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even owners do not prefer all of the status quo (0+ / 0-)

          My impression is that a large majority of current gun owners know the status quo permitted the recent mass shootings. They support effective measures to prevent such things, without unduly restricting what they can do. The discussion is about what is effective.

          The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

          by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:23:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, and.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FightersFate

            I think you are correct that many gun owners are now coming around to seeing how the current lax gun policies are problemactic.  And while I think some gun owners are willing to see changes in gun policy, I highly doubt that many gun owners are looking forward to more hassle and effort and expense to legally use guns.

            Imagine there was some considered change in automobile regs that required dirves to spend another hour or two at the DMV and pay an additional $50.  We would all be complaining and seekng to oppose such a change.

            And while I think there are many merits to your porposal, I doubt gun owners will widely support these ideas.  

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

            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:55:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wide support vs some support (0+ / 0-)

              Enough support is needed to get legislation passed.

              The proposal is about trade offs, on two levels.

              I do not think back ground checks go far enough to keep guns from dangerous people. Sure, in the current national mood it might get implemented. That is progress. But I think in time, it would be apparent that it is insufficient. Mainly since it relies on badness to be officially recognized in advance in some way.

              If the next step were then to ratchet up government intrusion into the gun owners life, versus signing for all of his well known friends at the shooting range, which would he find preferable?

              Trade off 1 is increased official oversight vs private oversight.
              Trade off 2 is picking the private coop with a level of oversight you like vs the risk you take.

              Some gun owners may realize that the coop is more palatable. They tend to favor DIY approaches.

              The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

              by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:29:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FightersFate

                I agree that getting some support from gun owners will be helpful and getting wide support is not a requirement.

                I agree that background checks do not go far enough.  Particularly given that around 40% of guns sales are done privately or at swap meets, etc., where no background checking is done.

                For all of my criticisms, I would love to have a policy that makes a group of gun owners resonsible for the actions of each individual.  But I highly doubt it could ever be enacted.

                Here: I will go you one better.  My suggestion:  You are allowed all the guns and ammo you want, but all guns and ammo must be stored at the local armory.  You can go to the armory anytime to use your gun, and even receive training and instruction.  When you want to go hunting you sign out your weapon and ammo, and sign it back in when you return.  All services provided by the armory for free, with the agreement that all gun owners make themselves available to local authorities in times of emergency.  No one is allowed to carry around a gun that is not registered at an armory.  

                This is also a great idea that will never happen.

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

                by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:03:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  A coop could enable this for their membership (0+ / 0-)

                  This is exactly the problem solved by the coop idea.
                  If you, the gun owner, think that this is a reasonable way to use your guns, you start or join a coop with these kinds of restrictions.

                  The level of popularity of certain kinds of restrictions would be directly reflected in the choices made in the bylaws of various coops. All a matter of public record.

                  None of it required by law, so other coops are not restricted. And the coop members can change the bylaws themselves when the find something too lax or too restrictive, and members are willing to sign up again under the new terms.

                  The only winning move is not to play. - Joshua

                  by FightersFate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:46:13 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  And hey, if there's anything we hippies learned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldSoldier99, fuzzyguy

    from the Seventies, it's the wisdom and accountability of the collective......

    (/snark, for those of you who didn't live through it.)

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