A Simple Boilerplate Gun Law – Overview
Here is a proposal for a simple gun law for the U.S. It respects the Second Amendment while attempting to limit violent gun crimes (specifically mass shootings).
Background: Some countries like Switzerland have mature gun laws, other countries like the US have scattered laws that have led to mass shootings like the June 2016 Orlando shooting. Below is a version of Switzerland’s law that could work in the US on a national level with a little tweaking.
The Gist: Three classes of guns and ammo. One with no licensing requirement: Hunting weapons (single shot, weapons considered to be designed for hunting but can be used for self defense). One class with licensing and training requirements and reasonable background checks: Non-assault weapons. One class banned except in special circumstances: Assault weapons and automatic weapons. People are generally taught more about respecting guns and the meaning of the second amendment in regards to history and defense of “the state” (meaning not just your state, but your country, and of course your family).
What does this have to do with healthcare or ObamaCare? Aside the obvious (gun violence costs people’s lives and over $200 billion a year) this has nothing to do with the President, “ObamaCare”, or healthcare (we have no affiliation with the Federal Government).
Comments welcome below!
A Simple 10 point Boilerplate Gun Law – Proposal
Introduction: With “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”, the Second Amendment to the Constitution as found in the Bill of Rights ensures that, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.
Given the clear and simple language of the Second, there should be a class of guns that doesn’t require a permit (thus ensuring “the right to bear Arms”), while all other classes of firearms and ammo must be operated by today’s equivalent of “a well regulated militia”.
This means certain ranks of police and military would have proper training to be well regulated and defend the free state (implying state and federal government, i.e. the United States), they would then just need background checks as noted below.
Civilians wanting to exercise their right should be required to participate in at least basic training (equivalent to something involving bootcamp and public service), this would train not only proper use of firearms, but what it means to secure a free state and protect its people (HINT: its about protecting your country, not protecting yourself from your country).
- An acquisition license is required for handguns and non-automatic non-assault weapons that aren’t considered “hunting weapons”. The same applies to ammo. License should be renewed every 12 months, like your boating license. Fees should be very minimal.
- Hunting weapons are exempt from the licensing requirements (Rifles and semiautomatic long arms that are customarily used by recreational hunters). This class includes things like hunting knives.
- “Low powered” “non-Assault weapon” Semi-automatic weapons require training and permit; and a background check per purchase (if purchasing multiple arms at once only one background check is needed at that time, exemptions can apply for those with proper training and recent background checks). This class includes other non-hunting weapons.
- Automatic weapons and “Assault weapons” are banned as a general rule, those with the proper background and training can acquire a special permit. This class includes things including but not limited to grenades, rocket launchers, and other like-weapons.
- Background checks and permits required for ammunition for non-hunting weapons and bulk ammunition. Ammunition for automatic weapons is typically banned without special permit.
- Appeals can be made, but also permits can be revoked.
- Carrying non-hunting weapons in public requires a displayable acquisition license. Carrying weapons in urban areas and crowded public places should require an extra permit and be generally prohibited. A place where a mass shootings could occur, proper permits are needed.
- Semi-automatic and automatic weapons should not be kept loaded. Ammo should be kept in a separate locked box.
- X year ban on immigrants, felons, etc. All above are up for discretion based on background (this is all implied by “background check”). It should be stated that this is not meant to keep law abiding citizens from owning the type of firearms they are qualified to own.
- The fee for not complying with the law should not be jail time. Rather it should be mandatory classes on the history of gun violence in America, the Second Amendment, and why we have gun laws.
NOTE: I’m not a gun expert. I tried to differentiate between guns capable of mass murder and not by labeling ones capable (and/or designed for) mass killing as “Assault weapons”. The idea is that every family should be able to have a weapon for self defense and the right to bear arms, but that only those who earn it should have the right to bear more complex weapons designed for non-hunting purposes.
NOTE: I wasn’t sure how to handle private trades. In Switzerland no acquisition license is required for transactions between private individuals. This makes sense. However, in America a big sticking point is loopholes at gun shows and via private trades. Given this I will simply state the intent: There should be no loophole for getting guns outside the class one is permitted to own… but this should ideally be done in a way that doesn’t hurt responsible gun owners and collectors. In other words, the law shouldn’t be used to make private trades so bureaucratic that it essentially stops them.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: Laws should be specifically designed to give those who would consider themselves collectors the leeway to collect, same thing for sellers of firearms. The law should seek minimal mutilation of the rights and privileges of current responsible gun owners. In other words the many responsible American gun owners should feel an increase in patriotism and pride for their country and gun ownership, and not a restriction of their rights. It should be assumed that those who can legally obtain a gun can use their own discretion on securing their gun at home. This means keeping weapons secured in a way that doesn’t endanger family and guests. In other words, the overall goal is to take seriously the Second Amendment in 2016, avoid mass shootings, and avoid any draconian law that attempts to “ban guns”.
More reading: I essentially stole Switzerland’s gun law and modified it for America, so I suggest reading more on Switzerland’s gun laws. Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Switzerland. The Swiss Difference: A Gun Culture That Works. Gun Ownership is Relatively High in Switzerland.A video about the gun rules and regulations in Switzerland. Here is a trained Swiss citizen speaking candidly about his country and their view on guns.