Sunday, June 28, 2009

More thoughts on gun control

When I was researching the last post to make sure my comments about HR-45 were accurate, I stumbled across this from an anti-gun control website:

The bill looks particularly nasty. Some bits:
3. Would require passage of a test that covers:

(A) the safe storage of firearms, particularly in the vicinity of persons who have not attained 18 years of age;

(B) the safe handling of firearms;

(C) the use of firearms in the home and the risks associated with such use

WTF?!? Yes, that is indeed "particularly nasty" that lawmakers would expect people to be knowledegable about the safe handling of firearms before they could own one. I mean, what's next? Making sure people know the rules of the road and some principles of safe driving before they can be licensed drive a car?! That would be "particularly nasty" anti-automobile legislation, and you know that Congress would never stand for i-- Oh. Yeah, right.

Now, I want to make it clear here that I am not particularly anti-gun. In fact, I think that anybody, license or no, should be allowed to shoot whatever they want at a properly-licensed shooting range. Want to fire an RPG? Well, if there's a range that has government certification to make it safe and you've got the bucks, go for it! I don't really see the harm. I suppose there is the risk of a person going postal at the shooting range... but they aren't going to make it very far at place where, by definition, everybody else is carrying a gun, so the potential for violence is confined to the range where everyone has made an affirmative decision to accept the risk.

In NYS, you must have a pistol permit to even fire a pistol at a range, which makes no sense to me... On the other hand, in Utah, my sister and I went shooting at cans in the rock quarry across the highway from her house with nary a whit of documentation required, which also makes no sense to me.

I think the ideal is somewhere in between, and the exact right thing varies depending on the locale. First of all, you should need to have a license to possess a firearm, period. As far as types of weapons, I think the federal restrictions on automatic weapons are pretty sensible. You can still fire one at a range if you are hobbyist or just curious (and I'd love to try that some day, to tell you the truth), but you don't really need a freaking AK for hunting, or even for self-defense unless maybe the zombies attack again.

In urban areas, it may even make sense to outlaw personal possession of handguns altogether. The only thing that makes me hesitant at all is that it's unclear how effective that kind of legislation is at cutting down on gun crime. But if it does reduce gun crime, then I think in major urban areas, the cost-benefit is clearly in favor of a ban. (Remember once again that anybody who wants to pop off a few shots at a range is welcome to...)

In rural areas, restrictions can be a lot looser.. but I still think it makes a lot of sense to get people licensed first and to make sure all guns are registered. Licensing is just common sense, the same way it's common sense to require a driver's license. And making sure guns are registered means people need to be responsible with what happens to their gun, which I think is needed to prevent the easing of restrictions in rural areas to translate into more availability of illicit guns in areas that have a real gun crime issue.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Jay. This is one of my biggest gripes. I have no desire to own or shoot a gun myself. But I have never understood WHY I must take a licensing exam and a road test to be able to drive a car in ANY state, but any one can get a gun and go out shooting. (In fact, one daughter did just that with friends.)

    I have many friends and family who own guns and use them safely and store them safely. That's just fine. They also have taken gun safety classes whether required by law or not. Even those members who had hunted all their lives found the classes useful.

    I agree with you that registration and licensing should be a requirement for legal gun owners, just like it is for legal car drivers. Yes, we all know that there are unlicensed, uninsured people out there driving. But, we all benefit, I think, by a little more control.