Monday, January 14, 2013

A Modest Proposal to Curb Gun Violence without Violating Gun Rights

All guns start out life being registered to the manufacturer. As the weapons are sold to a merchant, that registration is transferred to that merchant, and so on down the line. So far, not much different from the current system, but here's where it changes. If any weapon is used in a criminal act, the most recent registrant is responsible as an accessory to that crime.

What? Wait a minute; do I mean to say that you are responsible for the safe operation of that gun even after it is no longer in my possession? Yes. Gun ownership is an extraordinary right and with extraordinary rights come extraordinary responsibilities. If you choose exercise your right to own a gun, one of your responsibilities is to keep it out of the hands of irresponsible people. You can shed this responsibility by selling your weapon to another person who will then register it in his or her own name. And yes, registration requires a background check similar to the one you endured when you bought the gun in the first place.

What about theft? In the event your gun is stolen, you will have to prove that you took all reasonable precautions against that theft. Was it in a gun safe or was it in your car's glove compartment? If it was on your person, you had better have been wounded in the exchange. After all, you've got a gun. I have little problem with making it a crime to not only steal a gun, but to have it stolen from you under some circumstances as well.

The purpose of this type of approach is to impress upon would be gun owners that they are responsible for their actions even if they attempt to rid themselves of that responsibility. You take on the responsibility until you pass it on legally.
I couldn't agree more, in fact I've suggested as much myself. What's your opinion?

Please leave a comment.


  1. We shouldn't confuse the collective interest in civilian disarmament with obscure notions of "individual responsibility". I doubt that most members of society who arm themselves possess the cognitive ability to understand why they would be charged for their irresponsible behavior. It is foolish to punish that which does not understand it's crime.

    1. E.N., sadly, character assassination, whether of the individual or or a group is a poor substitute for a substantive argument. Demonizing the opposition is an old tactic, but it remains as intellectually dishonest as ever. My understanding of your beliefs regarding civilian disarmament comes solely from reading your comments on this blog. Your belief that the State or its designees should have a monopoly on the lawful use of deadly force flies in the face of what it means to be a member of a democratic republic. Each freedom lost, each liberty surrendered, is one that is unlikely to be regained. Each time it happens, it makes the loss of the next a little easier to accept. Much like moving from free speech to increasing restrictions on it (the supposed "right" to not be offended, "free speech zones" on college and university campuses and like) after a while one more just seems so right, so just, so reasonable. "After all, the argument goes, doesn't this just make sense"? And liberty is lost, not by the tyrannical use of brute force, but through the desire to do what seems to make so much sense at the time. For many pro-gun people then, regardless of attempts to cast them as otherwise and regardless of their sometimes inelegant speech, their refusal to accept more gun control comes not from a desire for civil unrest or intellectual incapacity. It comes from the understanding that liberty, all liberty, is precious almost beyond compare and must be preserved.

      The Star Wars movies provide a science fiction treatment of Rome (and Nazi Germany in some ways). In Episode III-Revenge of the Sith there is a line from Natalie Portman's character: "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause". Virtually every time a liberty in this country has been lost, every time a freedom has been taken away, it has been to thunderous applause. And after a while, there are none left who remember things being any other way. This, too, is why so many gun rights people are saying "no more".

      Enough is enough.

  2. Interesting choice of title--modest proposal. Is this intended to be satire of the position taken much like Mr. Swift's opus?

    Sadly, no; I understand that you intend this as a serious suggestion. Any reason and reasonableness of this proposal flies out the window when you begin to talk about charging people with a crime if their gun is taken from them without them being wounded.

    Spare me the repetition of the line about Extraordinary rights bearing extraordinary responsibilities. That holds up a certain distance, but when someone has a gun pointed at them by a criminal who got the jump on them and you say that they are now a criminal for handing over their gun along with their wallet, you have joined forces with the robber.

    The inclusion of such a suggestion in this proposal makes it the most unjust and wicked suggestion I've seen yet.

    1. I suppose that you are not capable of understanding that the ownership, possession, or carrying of a firearm is a prerequisite for the act of handing over a firearm under duress. For one to provide a firearm for criminal use, one must have a firearm in their possession.

      Hence my recommendation that State actors (and other appropriate entities) be given a monopoly on the lawful use of deadly force, and such be enforced by the legislated disarmament of the general populace.

    2. And real criminals who are willing to get the drop on someone and kill them in order to acquire their firearms will simply apply that technique to armed law enforcement officers.

      Monopolies of anything are never good. Beyond the potential for abuse of the monopoly position, a monopoly is also vulnerable to calamity.

      Distributed systems -- whether government, electricity, banks, schools, farming, food supply, etc. are always desirable over monopolies. Any disturbance to any location only affects that location, and not the entire region or country. The same applies to the distribution and potential to use firearms.

  3. Yup, this proposal is as modest as Mr. Swift's suggestion that the British people eat Irish children. It's the same old crap--registration and punishment for good gun owners. How about we punish any victim of theft? How about we register blogs and books? When the government has a list, the government can remove the items on the list much more efficiently.

    No deals.

  4. My opinion of the suggestion? It is worded in such a way as to make one who opposes it look unreasonable. I accept that I should not leave my firearms lying about for anyone and everyone to pick up if they so choose. I refuse to accept that if I choose to leave my weapon in my house or vehicle, I have some extraordinary responsibility to ensure it is not stolen. That flies in the face of what it means to be free. You can steal my video equipment and computer and use them to publish defamatory speech that leads a young man or woman to commit suicide or homicide. Or, you could use it to publish something that incites a large group to engage in criminal activity. I am not responsible for any of those.

    Someone might argue that I don't see the difference between freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. Allow me to respectfully suggest that person doesn't see the underlying similarity. Contrary to what many seem to believe, there are no rights listed in the Bill of Rights that are of less value than others. The loss or infringement of any of them endanger the others.

    Here is a simple idea. We must do a better job of teaching both our children and those adults who seem to have missed it that if it is not yours...don't touch it. People disagree as to the effectiveness of increasingly severe punishment for different crimes. What we do know of human psychology and behavior is this: Swift, sure response is an effective deterrent. So, for those adults who refuse to accept that idea that other peoples belongings are to be left alone, I propose the following: If you are convicted of a crime involving a firearm (including stealing one from its lawful owner), regardless of the jurisdiction, you will go to prison and never (and I do mean never) get out. Ever. Period.

  5. You might have yourself a noble cause there if in the title if you did away with the adjectives before the words "violence" & "rights"

    orlin sellers

  6. I don't see that this policy would stop transfer of firearms to criminals. Here is why. Let us say that John Doe, who has no criminal record, legally purchases a firearm. Then he wants to illegally transfer/sell it to his friend who has a felony criminal record. All he has to do is report an armed robbery to police. The police arrive and John Doe tells them that an armed criminal wearing a ski mask threatened to kill him if he didn't open the gun safe for the criminal. So John Doe opened the gun safe, the criminal took the guns, and left without harming John Doe. There is absolutely nothing the police can do in that situation.

    1. You're right but that's not gonna happen millions of times. Who wants to go through all that trouble. Most will do the right and legal thing.

    2. Bull. Money motivates people to do all sorts of things. The higher risk from these dealings with police would mean the person could demand a higher price. This in turn would mean that more people would be drawn to this as a way to make a buck.

  7. " the event your gun is stolen, you will have to prove that you took all reasonable precautions against that theft. Was it in a gun safe or was it in your car's glove compartment? If it was on your person, you had better have been wounded in the exchange. After all, you've got a gun. I have little problem with making it a crime to not only steal a gun, but to have it stolen from you under some circumstances as well."

    It's a crime to be the victim of a crime.

    Here's what I say to that: Go to hell