Virtually every aspect of American life is regulated. You can’t cut hair or sell insurance without a license. You can’t own or drive a car without a license, registration and insurance. Most places, you need to get a license to build an extension on your house, change the wiring, or even put up a new roof. You need a license for your dogs and cats.
So what is such a big deal about requiring gun licensing and registration? We control and limit citizens’ access to all kind of things, from drugs to explosives. What makes guns sacred? Don’t tell me about the Constitution. We have reinterpreted many aspects of the constitution to align with the realities of modern life. There is no reason guns can’t be treated the same way as anything else.
The arguments against sensible gun control are specious. If we control who can drive a car and how that car can be driven, and there exists a staggering number of traffic regulations — enforced with considerable vigor — at least an equivalent level of regulation seems appropriate for weapons.
I would never want to limit my right — or yours — to own a car, unless there’s a good reason. Such as eyesight so poor you are not able to safely operate a vehicle. Or your having been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or being unable to pay for at least minimal insurance and registration. Or you can’t pass the driver’s test.
It would be irresponsible to give licenses to blind, drunk, or incapable drivers, wouldn’t it? How could equivalent oversight not be appropriate for guns?
My Easy Peasy Plan
To own a gun, you have to pass a test to make sure you know how to shoot and care for a weapon, as well as keep it out of the hands of anyone but you. You need to be able to see well enough to properly aim a gun and be able to hit the target. You need to be pass a background check so we know you aren’t a felon or a dangerous wacko.
You need to register your guns. All of them. You must know where they are and you may not lend it to anyone. If a gun is lost or stolen, you are responsible for reporting its disappearance. You are required to have gun liability insurance on any weapon you own that contains a firing pin. If any weapon registered to you is used in an illegal act, causes harm to others, with or without your consent, you are responsible for damages. If you don’t go to jail, you may still wind up in court.
The nation, as well as individual states and counties can tax your weapons and refuse to license weapons deemed inappropriate for private owners. If you want a weapon that is considered unsuitable, you will have to get a different license, not to mention provide an explanation.
Simple, isn’t it? We license cars because cars are potentially dangerous; you can kill someone with a car. All this regulation doesn’t mean we don’t own cars. Obviously we own a lot of cars. We simply try to control who is allowed to drive and keep track of who owns what. It doesn’t mean we can keep every drunk off the road, prevent all accidents or stop joy-riding kids, but we do the best we can.
I have yet to hear a coherent argument against this plan — probably because there isn’t any. Guns should be regulated like every other dangerous thing.