If you want my nuanced and deeply personal opinion on guns, you can read this: www.rifuture.org/guns-our-uniquely-american-inheritance
Note: In that post I say I love guns; I do. Ever so rarely they are used to kill a really, really tragically deranged and dangerous human being who probably also has a firearm. In some dubious but worthy theory, an armed populace is Dictator Insurance. I subscribe to that theory: despite knowing I would far rather have a crew-served Mk-19 fully automatic 40mm grenade launcher, Afghanistan-style IEDs, an underground printing press and poison 4-star cuisine if I was to conduct myself as a serious member of an effective anti-dictator resistance movement. I digress.
In this post I will say I hate guns; I just did and I do. Welcome to the paradox of being a rights-loving American citizen.
I am going to keep this brief because I am conflicted. I sit on the fence on this one. I am terrible at being a Progressive and even more terrible at being a Constitutional originalist. Nothing makes my blood boil more than bureaucracy, except maybe 50 dead people and a Facebook feed full of rage, CAPS LOCK, hate, fear and discord.
People don’t want to register or surrender their guns because that is a step towards tyranny. Check.
People don’t want to see other people shot, so they do not want guns easily accessible.. or accessible at all! Check.
Here is the solution nobody wants: Gun insurance. Insurance that would be paid by the responsible gun owners, and not the illegal ones. It would be another hurdle towards getting a gun: a clear financial disincentive for holding onto them. It would bring in some monetary and bureaucratic blocks to high-risk individuals getting them and especially in keeping them. It would be another liberty-reducing and paperwork-spawning law that would stand between us and the infinitely tricky task of having to learn not to hate each other to the point of murder. No apologies for the snark. I am not the guy who thinks fear gets anything accomplished ever, regardless of the appearances of progress.
Also there is always the whole purpose for human existence thing. There is the nagging question about what our relationship to our fellow human beings is, and what it portends to be standing next to an alien stranger. There is the individual mandate given to us all at birth to discover the answer to what some recognize as the first big question: are we are supposed to be each other’s keeper? In answering that, maybe we can figure out what, if anything, can be done about our deranged fellows who are consistently and rapidly being pressed into the lunatic fringes of society and choosing to repeat a rather ancient and disgusting act.
I hate to tip my hand. This is truth for me; we are not safe and we never will be. We are not safe with the guns, and we are not safe without them. We can hedge against violence with violence, with law, with love especially. However we will never be entirely safe. We have to confront this whole ugly mess courageously. I find myself yelling at the mirror on that one, so I can understand why everyone is stomping and freaking out and demanding some change.
Back to the bad idea:
Insurance would be paid out to victim’s families, a rather small consolation at best, yet the insurance procurement process itself would add to the paper-shuffle necessary to get one’s hands on a gun. According to some, there is evidence to show that hurdles to ownership reduces total deaths in shootings. I am not going to bother to get you a link, because I get a headache just thinking about all my gun-toting friends having to pay additional insurance because they have a few flags on their demographic. Insurance would also be a de facto gun-registry without that registry being necessarily in the hands of the government, though I have no reason to believe the government would not easily get its paws on the insurance rolls if necessary. A simple enforcement-check provision would instantly create that opportunity. So there is your gun registry.
Another fun fact about insurance: it doesn’t give a damn about equality, and can be used to discriminate against people without repercussion! For instance, if it is statistically true that such-and-such are better drivers, you can oppress people with a bigger bill!
Implementation would be messy. Some non-empirical hunch of mine says that the gun insurance would pass Constitutional tests easier than a ban on particular weapons, magazines, etc., and more importantly has a reason going for it other than plain fear. Naturally there are numerous readers here whose prefered solution is to elect a Democratic President in order to appoint judges who would dilute the Second Amendment. That is one way to go. Fire away!
There is an old tradition in this nation to pass laws and set policy that makes nobody happy. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Affordable Care Act and Clinton/Gingrich’s Welfare Reform all come to mind. I despise all three, but the consensus seems to be that bad ideas are better than no ideas, so I offer here another half-measure that stands a slight chance of getting progressive readers what they want: less killing, and more aggravation for gun owners.
Here are your links for some discussion on this topic: