I’ve been thinking a lot about the sorts of gun control measures that I could support. I’ll probably be posting about this in more detail at some point, but here is a quick list of ideas that I think might be helpful, and might find wide popular support, even among people who keep guns.
- increased liability for gun manufacturers
- restrictions (or an outright ban) on certain types of gun advertising
- mandatory insurance requirements for gun owners
- a national registry
- required training and/or proficiency testing
- age requirement for gun ownership (21)
- waiting period for purchase
Some of these ideas are modeled on how we deal with alcohol, tobacco, etc. Some on how we approach automobile safety. All of them are aimed at being an effective deterrent to the sorts of tragedies that we see so often of late, while avoiding the most odious concerns expressed by those of us (on both the left and right) who care about the rights of oppressed people, self-defense, liberty, tradition, or what have you.
National registration and the age requirement are probably the most controversial of these ideas.
In the area where I grew up, people often start hunting as teenagers. This would still be possible, in that guns for hunting, range shooting, etc., could be allowed to be in the possession of someone under 21, so long as they have had adequate safety training, proficiency testing, and are under the supervision of a qualified adult. Again, this is not much different than what we do with drivers’ permits (although obviously the age I suggest for ownership is more advanced).
As to a national registry, I know that this suggestion sets in motion all sorts of paranoia, and (anti-historical) visions of Hitler confiscating guns so as to reduce people to sheep. I’ll have more to say about this later after more extensive research, but for now, let me just note that my shotgun purchase was registered with the State of Illinois when I bought it decades ago. No one has yet come to my house to take it. Even in Australia, where they have adopted strict licensing requirements, established a national registry, and instituted a 28-day waiting period to buy guns, they didn’t *confiscate* guns. With all of the precedents for gun registration in the world, so far I haven’t been able to find an example of widespread confiscation as a result. And, frankly, if the people with all the tanks and other advanced weaponry decided to turn them on the broader American populace, I doubt that a registry would make much difference. They certainly haven’t needed a gun registry to wreak havoc and death all over the Middle East, or on the streets of our own cities.
I may eventually be persuaded that some of these ideas are flawed for one reason or another, but they are at least a starting point.