Joe at Joe’s Dartblog expounded on how he thinks gun laws can be improved. It shows how well meaning but inexperienced young people can miss important issues when trying to craft public policy.
Here are his proposed gun law revisions (remember his school is in NH ahnd borders Vermont. In NH any suitable person may obtain a concealed carry license and in Vermont any law abiding citizen can carry concealed with no license required).
The key is to properly manipulate incentives. Here is my proposal.
1. Any citizen of at least 25 years of age (the cutoff is debatable) who passes a basic psychological evaluation may obtain a gun permit, which allows him or her to own any number of guns and carry them anywhere, concealed or not as the carrier chooses.
As my good friend Sam Cohen points out the US Constitution guarantees me the right to own weapons and does not require a permit.
The Soviets routinely locked up in “psychological” facilities people who politically dissented against the government policies. Psychology is not an exact science and some practitioners might well see a desire to carry a gun as evidence of a psychological imbalance.
New Hampshire law already allows unconcealed carry.
2. Keep a national computer registry of all guns and their owners. Mandate that the government be notified whenever a gun changes hands from one permit-carrying citizen to another. This notification carries no monetary cost to the two citizens involved.
The Constitutional right to bear arms is grounded in the ability of the people to resist an out of control tyrannical government. The first thing a tyrant would do is use whatever list of gun owners available to remove as many weapons as possible. There are extremely good reasons why no national registry of firearms should exist.
3. All lost guns must be reported immediately to the gun registry. Loss of a gun results in a suspension of the owner’s gun permit—one year for the first loss, three years for the second, and a total lifetime revocation for the third.
OK so a draconian penalty is imposed on someone who voluntarily reports that a gun has disappeared. That makes lots of sense, will surely encourage someone to report. more likely will result in more unreported thefts and fewer voluntary registrations to begin with.
4. Non-reporting of a gun loss is a crime with an extremely harsh punishment.
As if losing your constitutional right to self defense for a year for reporting a loss is not in itself extremely harsh?
5. Owning or using a gun not listed in the registry is a crime with an extremely harsh punishment.
When all guns are registered only criminals will not register guns?
6. Here’s the crux of it. If a gun that belongs to you according to the gun registry kills anyone in any way other than out of self-defense, accident or not, you suffer an extraordinarily harsh punishment no matter who fired the gun. The only exception if someone stole the gun immediately prior to the killing, giving you insufficient time to notify the registry of your loss.
So criminals with guns don’t kill people – people who lose their guns do?
Maybe with a few more years to think these things through and some experience in life Joe will see the error of his suggestions. Experience matters. Which is why, as much as I disagree with him on lots of matters, John McCain needs to be the next president. Hillary and Obama would both be privately ecstatic if Joe’s policies were enacted, but even with their limited experience they would never propose this.