Why does the United States have more civilian gun deaths than the entire rest of the world combined? Is it because people in the US are more violent? NO.
Is it because people in the US are more unstable, have more mental problems, and we have more sociopaths? NO.
Is it because more people in the US are mean, vicious, deadly? NO.
There is only one thing that the US has more of than any other country – guns. Easy and simple. We have more guns, a lot more guns, and far more deadly guns. And they are often easily attainable and accessible.
It is not the intent of this commentary to debate the merits of the Second Amendment, which states:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
However, it should be noted that most constitutional experts argue that the Second Amendment protects the right of State militias to bear arms. Not private militias or individuals. Be that as it may, exactly what “well regulated Militias” did Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold; Adam Lanza; and Salvador Ramos belong to (and precisely what “security” were they “necessary” for?)?
They are, of course, the killers of Columbine, Sandy Hook, and now Uvalde. After these and so many other mass shootings, it is abundantly clear that Congress will not pass meaningful gun control in the near future.
However, the State legislatures can and should take an aggressive position passing gun legislation. State legislatures could pass some or all of the following proposals. (The exact wording of each proposition could be revised by experts.)
Some or all of these proposed laws might eventually be struck down by the US Supreme Court. But some will survive. The Court process could take years, giving the US Congress time to finally take meaningful action.
Each of the following would be a separate law:
- All gun sales require a background check.
- Eliminate the gun show exemption.
- Registration of all guns with the state and payment of a registration fee on a sliding scale. For example: shotguns and hunting rifles might be exempt or cost $5 per year; handguns might cost a minimum of $20 per year; assault rifles might cost $2,000 yearly; any automatic or semiautomatic rifle or pistol might cost $1,500; any magazine holding more than nine bullets might cost $1,000; etc. (We register vehicles. We license hunters. License and limit the sale of alcohol. License and inspect restaurants. Why not guns?)
- A license shall be required to own, possess, or transport guns. Licensees shall demonstrate competence in the use, handling, and safety of the gun he/she is licensed for. (We require a license to operate a car. Why not a gun?)
- All gun owners (except perhaps shotguns and hunting rifles) would have to show proof that they have a locked safe for their guns. (We require vehicles to have brakes, mirrors, bumpers. Buildings must have fire escapes, elevator safety shutoffs, safe electrical connections, gas shutoff valves. Why not safes for gun?)
- All gun owners (except shotguns and hunting rifles) would have to show proof that they have insurance for harm caused by their guns, in a minimum amount of perhaps $1 million. (Drivers must have insurance. Businesses must have insurance. Employers must provide insurance. Why not gunowners?)
- Institute a compulsory gun training program for younger gun owners.
- Impose an excise tax on the sale of guns, on a sliding scale depending on the type of gun. Shotguns and hunting rifles would be either exempt or taxed at a very low rate. (Utilities charge more as your usage goes up. Jewelry has excise taxes. Gas guzzlers have a special tax. The transfer of real property is taxed. Why not guns?)
- Ban all magazines that hold more than eight shots.
- Ban the sale of all assault guns, automatic and semiautomatic weapons, as well as large clips. (We ban the sale of certain poisons, switchblades, explosives, child pornography. We prohibit the possession and importation of many types of animals and snakes. Why not guns?)
- Once and for all, ban ownership, possession, and transportation of all assault guns, and automatic and semiautomatic guns.
There could be many proposals for banning guns. First might be an absolute ban on sales. Next the state might offer to purchase guns at a given price, for a short period of time. However, after a given date, possession or transportation of a banned gun would be subject to steep fines or even prison time.
Enough is enough, the states must act now!!!!