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Andrew’s Proposed Gun Laws

By Andrew Pollack on 02/15/2018 at 11:55 AM EST

These are my current thoughts on gun laws that would radically change the culture and safety of gun ownership in the United States without removing the rights of gun owners or compromising their privacy rights.

* Please feel free to link to, or just copy, these ideas. It would be wonderful to see them spread widely and eventually become the basis for something to rally around and become legislation. *

Update: 3/3/2018 I added #7, increasing the age to purchase.

Update: 4/27/2018 Please be aware that I am not the person who lost a daughter in the shooting in Florida. That person has the same name, but he and I do not know each other, are not related as far as I know, and do not share any communication. I have great sympathy for those families, but do not speak with them or for them in any way.

1. Background Check Process

Anyone who wishes to be a gun owner can obtain a “gun owner id” card. These cards do not indicate that someone does own a gun, or if so how many guns they own. They only indicate that they have passed any necessary background checks. The ID would feature a photo and description of the owner and an ID number. At the time of sale or transfer, the seller calls the phone number on the card and verifies that the ID number remains valid. If the ID is valid, the sale can take place. This process is already in use in some states for people who have concealed carry permits and works very efficiently. A firearms class indication on the ID could indicate whether the holder can purchase “general” firearms, or a higher level of licensed firearm as defined by the Firearms Act of 1934 (e.g. fully automatic).

Mental illness is not automatically considered grounds for the loss of the right to own firearms. General illnesses like depression and anxiety should be treated rather than used as ways to remove firearms or to discourage owners from seeking treatment. Mental health providers should be responsible for reporting those cases which they determine may make someone an unsafe owner, in which case a court will be required to made the determination to invalidate a person’s right to own and purchase.

2. Gun Registration through licensed, private, escrow companies

The serial number of every firearm you own must be registered with the private escrow company of your choice. The escrow company updates a federal database containing only the gun’s serial number and their company as the current escrow holder. Your personal information is stored securely by the escrow company you have chosen and is only released to the government with a valid court order. If you chose to pay for it, you may request that the escrow company uses every legal recourse to appeal the court order and until such a process is exhausted no information is released. You can choose an escrow company that you consider trustworthy. The NRA itself could easily be a licensed escrow company for that information. Most current gun retailers could be escrow agents as well, however the penalties for failure to keep accurate records and to secure those records would be steep. More likely, smaller gun stores would act as agents for one or more dedicated escrow companies.

This is a one-way method of tracking guns used in crimes back to their owners, while making it impossible to start with someone’s name or ID and determine if they own a gun or if so how many and what kind they own. If a court does remove someone’s right to own firearms after due process, the person is responsible for selling or transferring them to someone else. The assumption is that once ordered, the gun owner will comply with the law. If some agency believes it is necessary to search and confiscate firearms in that case, they will need a court order to do so.

3. Changes to the classification of semi-automatic firearms

The Firearms Act of 1934 already classifies some firearms as much more restricted than others. Shortened barrel shotguns, fully automatic weapons, and carbines (shortened barrel rifles) are all much more restricted now than other types of firearms. This classification has withstood decades of scrutiny in the courts. A single change should be made to that list, adding semi-automatic weapons capable of firing more than “N” rounds per minute, where “N” is defined somewhere above a common revolver and below current large capacity semi-automatic rifles and handguns. This change would make these kinds of firearms more difficult to purchase, own, and carry in the same way automatic weapons are today.

4. Tracking the Sale and Transfer of Ammunition

Sales of ammunition not used on-site at licensed gun practice ranges would require showing the same purchase ID card as buying a firearm. Volume purchases beyond “N” rounds in a given time period would reported. Ammunition purchased and used at licensed gun ranges would be exempt from such limits and reporting provided it was not taken off site. In this way, gun owners could practice at ranges while remaining untracked by any government agency.

5. Loaning of firearms or sharing firearms

Any gun owner may share or loan a firearm to someone known to the owner, provided the person also has a valid purchaser ID card that covers firearms of that license level. If a firearm is found to be in the hands of someone who does not have a purchaser ID or is not licensed to have that type of gun, the licensed owner is subject to civil or criminal penalties which can include the loss of the right to own or purchase firearms.

If a firearm is stolen, the owner has a limited time in which to report the theft. Failure to do so, or repeated reports of theft, can be considered evidence that the owner cannot properly secure and track their firearms and penalties can include the loss of the right to purchase and own firearms.

6. Public Carry Laws

For regulation on carrying general use firearms which includes revolvers, bolt action rifles, and other firearms not capable of firing more than “N” rounds per minute, local laws should apply. This includes both open and concealed carry. Laws may be state, county, or even city based. A community should be able to make its own determination on what firearms are allowed in public among them.

Private homeowners and businesses should be allowed to prohibit all types of carry simply by using signage indicating that preference. Similarly, private homes or businesses should be reasonably able to obtain licenses to allow firearms practice, display, or use subject to public safety needs being met.

Semi-automatic weapons capable of firing more than “N” rounds per minute, fully automatic weapons, carbines, shortened barrel shotguns, and other weapons as defined in the Firearms Act of 1934 which require additional licenses should be either kept secure in the home on private property, or be kept unloaded in a locked storage container while being transported directly to or from a licensed range.

7. Raising the purchase age to 21 years old

Minimum age for the purchase of most firearms including all semiautomatic weapons and ammunition should be 21 years old. Most of the more dangerous psychiatric issues that are severe enough to be related to mass shootings tend to manifest in late teens and early twenties. The most serious of these can usually be spotted and diagnosed by this age. Those that aren't are very likely to have had serious legal trouble by that time as well. Further, by 21 most of them are no longer focused on high school problems.

I welcome THOUGHTFUL and CONSIDERED comments. Any trolling, links to propaganda or videos are not welcome and will be deleted. Repeated trolling may result in being tracked and reported.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy Alex Wilson on 02/15/2018 at 01:08 PM EST
Andrew, overall I like what you propose. For the most part I find them sensible
and they do not appear to restrict freedoms / rights in any manner. They simply
implement common sense into a right that was written over 200 years ago.

The only one I do not fully agree on is the local control. Here is why using a
real life example - I have a CCP that is valid in over 30 states. If I am
driving across the country and leave PA to head to AZ while carrying, as soon
as I cross into MD I am in violation of their laws. When I pass into WV, VA,
TN, AR, and TX I am fine. When I pass through NM I am in violation of their
laws. I now have to be able find valid information on which states are legal
for me to carry... and as you know, the Internet is full of misinformation.
Each state also has different rules right now for how I have to secure my
weapon. According to MD law, I cannot have any access to the weapon or the
ammo. I drive a truck which means my only real option for securing is in the
truck bed - that to me is not a responsible storage location.

I actually ran into this in VA years ago. I was transporting my muzzle-loader
to PA to hunt. I placed it on the back seat of my truck in the open. VA law at
the time required separating the weapon from the ammo. My powder, patch, and
balls were in a box next to it. I got stopped by a VA State Trooper for
speeding. When she saw the weapon on the back seat she questioned me and
reminded me of the law. I acknowledged the law but also pointed out I was
trying to be responsible by not placing in an unsecured truck bed. She
concurred with me and thanked me for using my head. Would that happen
everywhere? What if it had been a traditional hunting rifle or an AR-15? I
don't know. The law was clear but was not written to take all situations into
consideration.

With a few exceptions, I don't think most responsible folks carrying are
intentionally trying to break the law. They just get jammed up legally because
they don't know they myriad of different laws. If you push the law down lower
and lower it will get more confusing.

I would prefer to see firearms managed and controlled at the federal level with
a nationally recognized CCP. As for regulating where I can or cannot carry,
that cannot be a legal matter. If a business wants to say they are a gun-free
zone, they can, and if I am in there with my firearm, they have the right to
ask me to leave on that basis but they cannot have me charged with any crime or
misdemeanor. Same goes for a private residence, school, church, hospital, etc.
The federal law should protect the carrying by a sworn LEO on or off duty. I do
not agree with schools banning a sworn LEO from carrying on property (we have
that issue right now in our school system). They recently told an off-duty
officer responding to deal with an issue with their child to take their weapon
off property.

re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy Andrew Pollack on 02/15/2018 at 01:15 PM EST
There should be no reason to need a concealed firearm driving through states on
your way to somewhere. You're carrying a deadly weapon, making knowledge of
laws your responsibility. You should lock it in a locked box in the trunk
unless you need have it on your person. If states want to vote to allow
reciprocal rights to each other, that's their business. As the carry owner,
knowing which falls to you.

I have little sympathy for the people who demand national reciprocal carry laws
which essentially put all states at the mercy of whichever state has the least
restrictions.
re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy Alex Wilson on 02/15/2018 at 04:41 PM EST
Just to clarify, I do not support lowest common denominator reciprocity which
is what we have now essentially. I would like to see the entire process made
tougher across the board. Most states only check their state criminal database.
Very few do any level of finger printing. I had to go through more to work
around children than to carry concealed.

I would throw my weight behind the following:
1. Nationalized standard for a CCP that involves a full background check
including finger printing and a medical exam. A reasonable time limit on making
a decision with an option for extension due to extenuating circumstances (maybe
12 weeks from date of application with option for another 4 weeks). A path to
appeal in case of screwed up records.

2. Nationalized standard for training required to apply for a CCP with a need
for continuing education for renewal. I don't think military service is the
proper training. It should be a nationally recognized safety program that also
covers the general law of your state.

3. A national clearinghouse that is kept current with the laws pertaining to
each state. This would ensure everyone had the right information and would not
put an undue burden on anyone to figure it out.

4. Eliminate open carry laws nationwide except when engaged in appropriate
licensed activities (aka hunting). This would prevent some potential issues at
large gatherings.


I liked everything else you had in your original post Andrew. I thought they
were well thought out. Some of them probably need to become a Constitutional
Amendment to prevent them from easily being dumped during a change of power in
the House or Senate.
re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy Steve on 02/21/2018 at 06:07 AM EST
* This comment has been removed at the request of the person who made it *
re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy Andrew Pollack on 02/15/2018 at 01:34 PM EST
If anyone should have a gun in a school, it must be an on-duty LEO (Law
Enforcement Officer) qualified to carry that weapon as party of his regular
duties. By this I specifically exclude retired, auxiliary, and off-duty
personnel. If we really need armed security, we pay for it. If we can't
afford it, we don't need it.
re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy David Bailey on 02/16/2018 at 08:37 AM EST
What about insurance? Shouldn't gun owners be required to carry liability
insurance?
re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy David Lepro on 02/16/2018 at 08:07 AM EST
Andrew's post is a very good discussion plan offering ... I believe that the
NRA itself should take the lead in seeking updates to current gun laws that
take into consideration the views of folks who have NO interests in guns and/or
who are outright against all private gun ownerships. The NRA is missing a
golden opportunity to position itself as the lead advocate for ALL participants
in this discussion and thereby strengthen its position for the long term. If
gun owners can be convinced that a solution does not seek to remove use and
ownership, they may be able to more easily participate in updating language to
help prevent the awful violence that they certainly do not want to visit their
own family.
I also feel that there needs to be a limit as to the capacity of magazines
... surely that would not impact a person's enjoyment of any gun use at a range
or other proper firing area but would help to limit the firepower of any mass
shooter. I also believe that we should study carefully the recently updated gun
laws of other countries such as U.K., Australia, Japan, and others similar to
our own society in order to extract proven benefits from their experiences with
"in-place" laws/results.
re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy Philip Conrad on 03/10/2018 at 02:29 PM EST
Dear Sir:
Overall, your views are sensible and well thought out. This being said though,
you seem only concerned with lawful means of purchase. As you know, guns of
all categories are manufactured in many foreign countries. Many are sold
legally. Many are not. There is a huge black market where car trunks on
dark back alley streets provide access to anything and everything to anyone
with enough cash. And of course, ammunition in huge amounts is available at
the same source. I see no means whatsoever to control this at this time.

As regards semi- automatic weapons and their potential to accept high capacity
magazines. ANY such firearm, rifle or pistol, can be fitted with magazines
modified in someoneu2019s garage to contain any number of rounds. Such
manufacturers such as Remington, Browning, Ruger, and others, have semi-
automatic rifles used mainly by hunters that are capable of being converted to
u201C assault rifleu201D capabilities. True, these rifles fire a much more
powerful cartridge than the AR15 or AK47, but a mentally imbalanced person
would likely find the increased recoil a non issue.

Many Americans feel at present banning one specific type of semi- automatic
firearm will lead to the banning of ALL such firearms for the reasons I
previously stated. That to me is not necessarily such an outlandish belief.

Lastly Sir, I have absolutely no objection to raising the age limit to 21 for
the purchase of any firearm, in opposition to the NRAu2019s viewpoint. And
yes, Iu2019m a member. Perhaps you feel as I do though, there are likely many
18 year old persons out there who could safely be trusted to own any firearm on
the planet, but other 21 year oldu2019s who shouldnu2019t be trusted with a
B.B. gun.

Iu2019m a senior citizen now, a native Texan, and have enjoyed plinking tin
cans since I was 12, but am horrified by all the tragic gun violence we
endure. Certainly we must put into play every sensible thing we can to control
it. In the early 60u2019s, a 20 year old like myself, could walk into a
Montgomery Ward department store, pick up a gun openly displayed on a shelf,
pick it up and carry it to the nearest cash register. No identification, no
papers to fill out- just pay for it. No shootings of any kind ever occurred.
Today? All sorts of paperwork and background checks. Mass shootings. Why do
we have this insanity now? I do not have a clear cut idea, but somehow, some
way- it is the insanity in people that is our greatest problem.

With respect Sir.


re: Andrewu2019s Proposed Gun LawsBy Andrew Pollack on 03/10/2018 at 04:51 PM EST
Thank you for the respectful response.

My only quibbles with you are on the black market availability. I would
suggest a few things.

1. The vast majority of those guns sold to US Citizens, whether made in the US
or in other countries, exist only because there is US market for them. These
models aren't sold to the general population anywhere else large enough to
justify their manufacture.

2. A huge portion of that world wide black market for such arms, come from
being purchased in the US and smuggled to other places. In Mexico, US guns
are considered as big a problem as drugs from there are here. It is our guns
being brought across borders that are the weapons of their drug wars.

3. While it will take decades for the majority of currently untracked guns to
trickle out of circulation in the US market, I have no problem with starting
that now. They will become increasingly difficult to find and increasingly
expensive. Further, the penalty of losing your right to buy and own guns if
you are caught giving them to other people should make it extremely difficult
for strangers to find people willing to take that chance on high quality
products.

4. My list includes tracking ammunition sold with the exception of that being
purchased and completely used or turned back in at licensed practice ranges.
Sure, people can manually reload. Again, let that be a limiting factor.


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