(As opposed to the former Gun Control).
Updated February 21, 2011.
Rationale: Why this Page?
In late April 1996, I reacted to the horror of another massacre of people by a
gun-toting maniac in Tasmania by putting a page on my site against guns.
Reaction was swift and negative (unsurprisingly), which forced me to rethink
and rewrite the page into something more rational, which has been sitting
pretty much untouched since late November, 2001. Needless (and sadly) to say,
the massacre that started it all was not the last 8-(.
After giving the page a long, long overdue review, I decided that it was
still too verbose and emotional, and figured that I could take a step back and
make my arguments more concise. For those who are interested, I have kept the
old page and you can see it here.
Guns and automobiles can be treated the same as far as licensing is concerned.
Some people should not be allowed to drive; some people should not be allowed
to legally own firearms. Some (albeit not many) vehicles should not be owned by
the average person on the street; some types of firearms should not be owned by
the average person on the street. Of course, rules won't stop anyone from
driving or owning firearms illegally, but the basic purpose of regulation is to
ensure that the people are properly trained to use their vehicles or firearms.
My Philosophy on Gun Control
I define "gun control" as the regulation of the sale and ownership of
. Gun control is required for two reasons:
- Guns are created for one specific purpose: to kill. It is obvious
that not everyone should be allowed to own one, so a process must be in place
to ensure those who should not have one be unable to own one legally.
(Unfortunately, this doesn't mean they won't be able to own one illegally,
but that's another rant...)
- Certain guns are not meant to be owned by John and/or Jane Q. Public.
No matter what one might try to argue, there simply isn't any reason for
anybody to own fully automatic weapons (or those that can be made into such)
or any specifically designed for military use. The above process must also
include restrictions on the types of weapons that can be legally owned.
The primary difficulty with establishing a policy of gun control is defining
the process to make it fair, accessible, inexpensive and efficient. Since such
a policy must be administered by a state or federal level government, the
latter two qualifiers are unlikely, and the highly political and often
emotional nature of the debate makes the former two difficult to achieve.
Gun regulation legislation cannot control the presence of illegal guns on the
street. This is a matter for the police at the various levels, and one I have
no doubt they take very seriously, since it's their lives as often as not that
are on the line. No matter what laws are enacted, they have an uphill battle,
and unfortunately always will.
Some people view gun "control" as meaning "abolition". In a perfect world,
this view would not exist because people wouldn't want to own guns for
"self-protection" because they wouldn't need to. It is not about abolition, it
is about regulation, nothing different than what we do with motor vehicles.
Regulating the People
Certain classes of people should never be allowed to (legally) own guns.
- A frightening number of people are, in various ways, irresponsible
and/or idiots. I refer you to the
News of the Weird site and
America's Funniest Home Videos for many examples.
- Unfortunately, there are also a frightening number of people out
there who fall under the general category of "sociopath". Murderers, robbers,
rapists, pedophiles, assault (including domestic assault), you name it, these
people do it, with little or no regard for the harm that they do to
- Some people have the misfortune to be afflicted by one or more
mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. For
their safety as well as everyone else's, they should not be allowed to own
Those not falling under those categories, and who are of "legal age", fall
into the category of Potential Gun Owners.
As with driving (and medicine, engineering, and most other occupations),
specific training is required in order to be able to use a gun safely and
responsibly. As with driving (but, I hope, not medicine, engineering and the
other occupations), many choose to learn outside of "approved" educational
facilities. Ultimately, however, in order to make the transition from Potential
Gun Owner to Gun Owner, the individual must be able to prove to the authorities
- is fully aware of all safety procedures and laws related to the use
and ownership of firearms, including safe storage of arms and ammuntion at home
to keep them out of the hands of those who shouldn't have access to them (i.e.
burglars and children);
- has had a certain number of hours of hands-on training at a
registered gun range for the firearm of choice, including target practice and
basic maintenance, safety and storage procedures;
- realizes that the primary mantra of gun ownership is safety
Persons wishing to become firearm owners must be in possession of a valid
license, just as with motor vehicles. The same technology, and the same cost
structure, should apply to gun license registries as to motor vehicle
registries. It should not have to be a big deal.
As with motor vehicles, various levels of licensing can be created, ranging
from "basic" small (pistols) and long (rifles, shotguns) gun ownership, through
to transportation of firearms in a secure
manner and "concealed-carry" permits.
Regulating the Firearms
Just as there are certain people who should not be legally allowed to own
firearms, there are certain firarms that should not be allowed to be legally
owned by people. These are weapons meant specifically for the military or
para-military forces, primarily automatic (or those that can be easily made
automatic) weapons, such as assault rifles, submachine guns, and machine guns,
and portable heavy weapons like anti-tank guns and rocket launchers. There is
absolutely no need for Joe or Jane Citizen to own one of these, especially
since there is such a wide range of "less dangerous" firearms available to meet
his / her needs.
Records of all firearm sales should be (and, for the most part, are) kept by
stores that sell them, as well as the manufacturers that make them. As with
cars, all transactions (both private and through stores) should also be recored
in a database maintained by the government entity responsible for firearms
regulation. Some people believe that firearms registries will be "used to take
away" their guns. In my humble opinion, unless the gun is one that can be
modified into a more dangerous form, the owner shouldn't have to worry about
its being confiscated.
The same computer technology that is used by the government entities
responsible for regulating automobiles can be used to register firearms, since
the principle is exactly the same. It shouldn't cost any more than motor
vehicle registration to set up and administer, at least in theory. (But you
never can tell with governments...) A central database is necessary in order
for police to be able to quickly track down the history of a firearm that comes
to their attention. Otherwise, a great deal of time and effort of already
overworked police forces will be wasted that could be spent on more important
parts of an investigation.
The same set of rules should be in force throughout an entire nation, and not
vary too much from region to region.
In theory, the regulation of firearms is no more complex than that of motor
vehicles. The database technology that can be used for registration of owners
and of firearms is no different than that used for cars. Most, if not all, of
my proposals are already in force in most places in the world. Unfortunately,
implementation of the proposals is not consistently applied throughout the
geographically larger countries. Political wrangling makes things worse, with
restrictions ranging from the annoying to the draconian being applied to the
This is the most serious part of my site. Now it's time to lighten up
and see something funny! Return to my home page