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My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.

By Andrew Pollack on 12/15/2012 at 01:08 PM EST

Keep in mind, I'm speaking here of what I think is needed in the U.S.A., based on where we are now and our culture. I am not saying these should be the laws in other places.

Here's what I want for gun control laws:

#1. No gun ownership if you are under the age of 18. Period. Your parents own it, and you can use it. When you turn 18 you can study for an obtain a license and the gun can be transferred.

#2. License requirements for ownership, for carry outside the home, and for concealed carry. Three different license levels -- just like with driving (cars, commercial, large trucks). No handgun ownership without a training course and a license exam, no handgun public carry without a psychological examination (the exception being in a locked storage box between the home and a licensed target range or gun store), and no concealed carry without all of the above plus a bond process. I know that last two will make many people scream, but deal with it. Most psychosis doesn't become manifest until the late teens and early twenties -- absolutely the wrong time to make gun ownership first easily available.

#3. Absolutely NO transfer of gun ownership under any circumstances without following the federal background check process and validation of the licensee according to the requirements above. If you fail to follow the right process for transfer, you are still the gun owner and subject to liability (see below) for its misuse.

#4. A strong liability law for owning the handgun. A law should be in place that makes it a crime to "Fail to secure and protect a firearm to prevent its misuse". If someone else uses a gun you own to commit a crime, you are liable in a real sense -- including (at least) the loss of your license to own firearms. You also should be potentially at risk for negligence or in the case of someone being killed, negligent manslaughter. Obviously a theft reporting process would need to be in place, but even that should have specific time limits in which to report the theft, and multiple theft claims would leave you subject to license review.

#5. The ability to carry both openly and concealed handguns, in addition to the federal requirement above, should be subject to limitation at the local level based on popular vote. A city or town should have the right to say "we don't want you carrying a firearm in our midst". It makes some sense to have a firearm handy in very rural locations, but far less so in most urban ones (we can argue over defense of home in urban locations, but that's a matter for the people who live in the town to decide).

#6. Any private business, or homeowner (we can discuss renters and landlords) should have the right to prohibit firearms on their property.

Put these in place and enforce them seriously, and I'm ok with the remaining legal ownership of the firearms.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Mike Brown on 12/16/2012 at 05:50 AM EST
As an alternative, how about this?

#1 - Nobody is alowed to carry guns.

#2 - See #1
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Erik Brooks on 12/16/2012 at 10:22 PM EST
Without injecting my own viewpoints into what is already a very heated
discussion taking place around the Internet, I do want to point out a fact for
those (perhaps outside the US) that are not very familiar with the shooting
incident that happened on Friday:

It was already the case that nobody was allowed to carry guns at that school.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By David Bailey on 12/16/2012 at 11:27 AM EST
I really like the 'Bonding' idea. It's good to have an independent stakeholder
involved on an on-going basis.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Mike McP on 12/17/2012 at 11:06 AM EST
#1: That's already a law in the US. Nobody under 18 can buy/own a long, and
nobody under 21 can buy/own a pistol in their name.

#2: Already somewhat there for some states. Many require you to go to training
for a CCW. Though, I don't see how training would have helped much in any of
the recent tragedies. Psych evals? You just created a nightmare of
tracking/verification. Would be useful, but we can probably both agree that
this isn't really reasonable. The US can't even figure out how to get states
to vote correctly, they're never going to be able to pull off an entire
infrastructure of mental health experts and form tracking.

#3 I can probably agree with this one (and it's already a law for handguns),
but long-term tracking of gun ownership is an issue, due to historic abuse of
that policy in other countries. I'd compromise and allow a background check
during the transfer of all guns, but then the records must be destroyed (see 4).

#4 I agree on criminal use of a firearm once owned and not transferred properly
leading to no further ownership (assuming your #3 would pass). Making them
liable is another story, because any gun safe is breakable given proper force,
so we'd need to clearly define what proper storage is. Still, it's easy enough
to break your safe if you lose a gun that was under your bed and claim someone
stole it under proper storage.

#5 I disagree completely. Popular vote doesn't allow the freedoms the US was
built upon. Are you from the US? I mean no disrespect by that question.
Majority rule means that up to 49% of the population is having their personal
freedoms stripped. If 51% of the population doesn't like alcohol, we don't ban
it for that cause (though we did try, and it failed and created more problems
that it solved). The US has long tolerated fringe beliefs. In some states
(CA), 'propositions' are on the ballot which allow popular vote to ban/enact
things. This is a misguided idea, but when majority rules, you basically have
a state run by committee, where it's a mess of ill-informed voting.

#6. This law already exists.

You do realize that none of these would have prevented Columbine or the recent
tragedy, right? In a nutshell, this may make you feel like you made a
difference, but if someone wants to commit mass murder, they will (see Oklahoma
Federal Bombing). We're probably better off finding the cause of these recent
issues. Prior to 1934, you could buy a machine gun at Sears, and we didn't
have these issues. My father-in-law would bring his shotgun TO SCHOOL on the
bus, store it in the back of the classroom, and then get dropped off at his
buddies house on the bus to shoot squirrels. The laws, if anything, are much
more strict than they are now, yet we still see issues. Why?
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Andrew Pollack on 12/17/2012 at 11:40 AM EST
WRT #4 - part of the liability I'm calling for is the loss of future license to
own guns. I'm not saying you hold the owner responsible as a murderer, but you
do hold them accountable for losing control of the firearm. That should,
frankly, open them to civil suit as well -- if they took reasonable precautions
and someone broke into a gun safe and used the guns so soon that no reasonable
owner could be expected to notice them missing and report it, they'd be off the
hook in almost any court.

So, it seems we only disagree on #5. Lets call it the New York City law. I
say NYC has the right to say no guns here, and that it's a small enough
locality (even as big as it is) that you could reasonable live outside it.
let me support that a bit. Would you agree that NYC, with a population
density of 27,500 people per square mile is a very different place than say,
the state of New Hampshire with a population density of 145 people per square
mile? The circumstances are different. In NYC the availability of help is far
closer, etc. Their permitting process for concealed carry is likely more
stringent -- and the general open carry rule is very different for their
environment. AND, it works. Despite its 200 times greater density, it has
the lowest city murder rate. It works for them. It may not work as well in
rural New Hampshire or Wyoming. That's why it should be local.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Mike McP on 12/17/2012 at 01:13 PM EST
I think we are also pretty far apart on #2 #3 also. In a land of unicorns
and rainbows with a competent, efficient government and unlimited financial
resources, that might work, but not in the US. In a land where you can leave a
teenager at home with the possibility of stealing secured firearms from their
parents, that law has little benefit.

I don't agree with NYC's position on banning guns for law abiding citizens, or
that it worked. Murder rate trends are much more complicated than you're
making it. It has things to do with budget spent on police, density of
population, increased mental health programs, crackdowns on illicit drug use
post-Koch, personal financial health, etc. The year after the Supreme Court
struck down the DCu2019s handgun ban, the capital cityu2019s murder rate
plummeted 25 percent. Another good case study would be the Chicago 1982 ban.
I'm not saying the bans CAUSED increases in violent crime in those two cities,
but I am saying it's not a simple cause and effect as you're implying in NYC.

I don't mean this to be harsh, but these are complicated issues, and best
studied holistically. Folks like to come up with a simple suggestion to make
them feel better about future situations, and outlining it in 5 bullet points
is convenient. It's not particularly nice to think that right now you could be
blown up by a terrorist or shot through the window with a hunting rifle.
Unfortunately, these are generally the risks you assume to give others the
personal freedoms that our country was based upon.

I'm still looking for help on what changed between my father-in-law's time and
today. Or, what changed between 20years ago and today if you want to look a
bit more recently. I think when you find THAT catalyst, we'll be more likely
to come to an agreeable solution.

re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Stephen Hood on 12/17/2012 at 02:17 PM EST
You might be interested in some of these thoughts about what has changed. The
pharmaceutical industry for example.

"But I wasn't stuffed full of drugs.

Today, far too many of our kids are, and the correlation is clear.

Correlation doesn't show causation but it damn well ought to make you sit up
and take notice. Especially when the notice comes in the form of a label on
the bottle itself.

And in this case it does.

Simply put I assert that we need to stop drugging kids, except in extreme
cases, and in those extreme cases we need to do it under strict supervision.

What is strict supervision? It's not what we're doing now. And if you think
this is some sort of rant, well, how about if you argue with the label instead
of with me?"

re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Andrew Pollack on 12/17/2012 at 02:26 PM EST
I find this comment incomprehensible and can'd decide if it should be deleted
as some kind of weird spam or if you're making a point.

I also find your views on treating children with ADHD offensive in the
extreme. On that particular subject I am extremely well versed and can tell
you that you know nothing at all about what you're saying.

For now, I'm letting your post stand while I consider it and try to figure out
if there is anything worthwhile you're adding to the discussion.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Stephen Hood on 12/18/2012 at 02:10 AM EST
They were someone else's thoughts hence the quotes.

Mike asked the question what has changed over the last generation.

Feeding kids drugs as the goto solution wether appropriate/safe or not is but
one of many things. Family breakdown another etc. Addressing some of those
issues before implementing more rules and regulations around what other people
can and can't do in regards to guns would perhaps be a better use of energy.
Perhaps the ever increasing state burden of rules and regulations is stripping
people of personal responsibility for example.

Even though the links weren't my thoughts - as far as ADHD you somewhat
ironically presumed too much. My son has some severe disabilities and pushing
all sorts of pills on him was "suggested" as the solution. It is and was the
LAST thing he needed. There is no shortage of "doctors" that push drugs in
exchange for 2 weeks in club med from the pharmaceutical companies whose drugs
they "recommend". Inappropriate treatment is an issue regardless wether you
agree with the specifics of his particular view.

Again addressing the question what has changed.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Stephen Hood on 12/18/2012 at 04:53 AM EST
whether not wether.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Andrew Pollack on 12/18/2012 at 07:45 AM EST
Well, since you came back and further discussed things, it's safe to say it
wasn't spam. I do allow dissenting opinions on my blog as long as they are
not given in an offensive manner or are just impossible to understand. Your
first post comes close to the second, but I appreciate that you came back to

I'd rather see YOUR thoughts in your own words on issues than someone else's
repeated talking points, but I'll let them stand.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By David Vasta on 03/18/2013 at 01:35 PM EDT
I can already sense this is not going to go well but here goes....

All of the rules or laws exist in some respect in some states, but not all. I
would prefer this argument be tackled at the state level. The Federal
Government has no place in these matters according to the Constitution. Plus
chances are they are going to screw this up and end up taxing us more to do it
and I don't like taxes....

That said all the laws in the world do nothing to stop people from using guns
to kill people. You look at every case in the past 20 or even 100 years and
none of the laws that are being suggested on either side stops people from
using guns to kill people.

The problem is not the gun, rather the depravity of humanity to kill one
another. People do not value life anymore.

That is all.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Andrew Pollack on 03/18/2013 at 07:12 PM EDT
Hi David - I hope we can keep this civil this time.

Noting that you're responding to a fairly old post, you may not get much other
response. I will also say that my views have of course continued to evolve
since this one, however I'll try to address just what you say:

The problem isn't guns, it's people..with guns. The gun ownership community
has utterly failed to engender a rich cultural imperative to lock up firearms
and keep them from people who shouldn't have them. If that were not the case,
none of these kinds of laws or even discussions would be necessary.

Gun sales and ownership transfer must be federal, or it's simply too easy to
skirt the laws in one state. I believe you're in Colorado, where it's several
hours to the next state, and many hours to a state that would likely have
significantly different laws. Where I live, in three hours I can cross four
states so this is more an issue.

Gun laws about right to carry, concealed carry, stand your ground, etc.. can
and should be as local as possible. I believe this because both political
opinions as well as circumstances vary very widely.

It is true we'll never stop people killing people with guns -- that is not at
all an excuse to do nothing. We have drastically reduced drunk driving
fatalities without taking away cars or alcohol from responsible people.

The next argument is of course "should we ban hammers" -- and of course the
answer is also simple "you can't kill 30 people with a hammer without someone
having a chance to fight back, as is the case with rapid fire semiautomatic
firearms with large capacity magazines."

The same day as the Newtown, CT shooting, a deranged man in China attacked a
school with a knife. He stabbed more than 20 people, most were children. All
but four lived, and will go on with the chance for healthy and productive lives.

If the gun owner community had continued to act as responsibly as it used to, I
would not care what kind of firearms people wanted to stockpile. It hasn't.
Despite many -- even a majority of -- responsible gun owners (of which I am
technically one), overall the result has been insufficient. The manufacturers
in particular have been very strident about gun rights, but not strident at all
about taking responsibility for what's right. Instead, they make crazy
headline stealing statements about how the bad socialist President is coming to
take away the guns -- so you'd better line up and get your today! They've made
record profits since the recent mass shootings. Imagine that.
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By ken on 04/05/2013 at 12:07 PM EDT
I'm disappointed, Andrew.
I would have expected someone out in Maine to be more of a Constitutionalist...

Since you brought up alcohol, there are 11K people killed in alcohol related
deaths per year, yet the media doesn't call for registering all alcohol
buyers. There's no outcry for all the families killed. And drinking it not an
Individual Right.

We have far more serious societal there was a story about 10yr
old kids who planned to rape, knife and shoot a 9yr old girl they found
"annoying". And that's not the least of it the weirdness as I've got a set of
stories just as weird the past few years. These people grow up and walk the
streets next to innocents. And the rules as you propose (besides a violation
of the Bill of Individual Rightrs) will be used by politicians to make the
innocents who choose to defend themselves more vulnerable (yet another
government layer always makes things uglier for abuse/waste)-: There have been
examples of confiscation in NYC/Chicago politicians who are
megalomaniacs who have ignored their oath of office.

p.s., I am not a gun owner but I am a Libertarian (Libertarians believe in
personal responsibility).
I should blog my involves farely brutal and swift public
punishment of the nutjobs because all they understand is death. ;-)
re: My views on gun control have been varied - but are now codifed. Here what I think is needed in the U.S.By Andrew Pollack on 04/05/2013 at 12:14 PM EDT
Please do not confuse my being in favor of reasonable gun control with being
anti-constitutional. While we do not register alcohol sales, we do register
alcohol distribution and regulate it very carefully. We have done a great
many reasonable things and been very successful in reducing the number of
alcohol related deaths as a result. Perfect, no, but I'm not arguing for

The Supreme Court has made a number of strange judgements on this issue as to
what is "meant" in the 2nd Amendment. I believe it is written in its vague
was on purpose, because the issue was contentious at the time -- having a great
deal to do with the rights of Southern states to continue to raise their own
local militias to put down slave uprisings as was the practice at that time.
In any case, in almost the same breath, SCOTUS has said that because of the
comma after the "well regulated militias" phrase, that it is not valid to
require participation in a militia to own firearms -- yet has also said that it
is within the constitution to limit the type of weapons allowed.
Unfortunately, it did not go on to attempt to describe where those limits might
be. Most people believe somewhere beyond single shot, black powder weapons but
not quite to the level of "Squad Automatic Weapon" carried by modern military
unit mounted on a vehicle. That leaves quite a range. I prefer to hold
people accountable for what they do with their firearms, including locking them
up. To do that, you have to be able to trace the sale of the weapons.

As to Libertarian beliefs - I looked into that at one time and decided it was
every bit as idealistic and unworkable as communism and for very much the same
reason. It doesn't take into account human nature sufficiently. Libertarian
systems, if allowed to run unfettered, result in hyper concentration of wealth
(what economists call toxic inequality) which leads to a host of bad things for
society -- from civil revolution on one had to feudalism on the other. None
are good for the long term. Libertarianism, just like communism, confuses
concept of "fairness" and "equality" (albeit in different ways) with what works
for long term stable and healthy societies. The truth is, perfect individual
fairness has virtually nothing to do with long term societal stability.
2nd amendment meaning and LibertariansBy ken on 04/08/2013 at 09:30 AM EDT
No clue where you got that Libertarian systems lead to toxic inequality. It's
basically: govt is responsible for infrastructure only and should be massively
smaller than it is now, Constitution rights should not be infringed
(Dems/Repubs mouth that now but both have made a mockery of it), and you are
responsible for your actions (no blaming objects, bad envionment etc.), and you
should have freedom unless it screws up someone else's. Organizations like the
Red Cross, etc. are the vehicle for what I think you mean rather than the
government being the vehicle.

For the 2nd Amendment, there was a clear statement by the SJC that a sawed off
shotgun wasn't a typical carry weapon of infrantry. Ironically enough, this
means their standard weapon is covered, which is the AR-15 (the equivalent of
the musket in the days of old) and Switzerland is following the 2nd Amendment
more than we are (including training/practice).
Believe it or not, I agree w/ you about tracing sales, but don't trust that a
politician won't use the data for evil (and before you say it's paranoid, look
up the cases that have happened already in NYC/Chicago); then there's the Fast
And Furious cases where the BATF deliberately let straw purchases smuggle
weapons into Mexico and told the gun shops it was ok to do it, then came down
on the gun shops later to make an "example" out of them :-P

And not sure if you saw the bit of news this weekend about the CO Joker
threatening his shrink and the shrink reported it to campus police but nothing
was done? Would have been arrested and it all could have been stopped under
existing laws.

And this story again this weekend prompted lots of questions:
- what were the charges against the shop which should be on public record?
- if there were enough charges to take away their FFL, why wasn't it done
sooner when they could have prevented the kid from going postal?
- why wasn't it appealed?
- why was this information revealed sooner instead of after all their new laws
(which BTW wouldn't have prevented the shooting) were passed?
- why are they pushing for laws based on this shooting that would not have
stopped it if they existed at the time?

If you apply similar rules to alcohol, they'd go and shut down a liquor store
every time a DUI crash/killing happened...but DUI drivers get slapped on the
wrist and let go because driving is a "right" :-P Even if you made molatov
cocktails out of a few bottles, you'd probably just get slapped on the wrist :-P

But regardless, I just view their 2nd Amendment attack as an early warning
system. They've gotten a lot more flagrant at ignoring the BOR. SOPA. CISPA
(which apparently the SOPA people don't care about but is just as ugly). Drone
attacks which bypass due process and would be viewed as a declaration of war if
any other country did that to us. The abomination known as the "Patriot Act".
It only gets worse from here on out if this is any indication...
re: 2nd amendment meaning and LibertariansBy Andrew Pollack on 04/08/2013 at 09:54 AM EDT
re: Gun Sales & Transfer Database --
Definitely should be accessible with search warrant only.

re: Use of the Patriot Act to "get around" habeas corpus, privacy laws, search
and seizure laws --
-- Also agree completely. It disgusts me.

re: Libertarian Views and toxic inequality
-- "Government is responsible for infrastructure" is not part of a true
libertarian platform. Not in a centralized, federal government kind of system
in any case. Under the definition of that system, if you and your neighbors
want a new road or sewer system, you and your neighbors get together and have
one built. Of course, that begs the question "at how many combined neighbors
does managing that sewer become a government?" but ignore that for a minute as
it's not really discussed by idealists anyway. If you want protection, hire
guards. Someone does something wrong to you, sue them. Ok, so you sue
me.... in what court? Using what laws and standards? What if you win and I
don't pay -- especially if I'm wealthier than you, or wealthy enough to be
independent? How about wealthy enough to have my own armed serfs (er.. I mean
employees who depend on me for their income/food/health/shelter)? As soon as
you have wider standards, enforcement of judgements, democratic rules on trial
"fairness", and so on -- you have government supported by taxes. Under
libertarian ideals, nothing prevents a monopoly. A monopoly on available
local water supply, food, land, employment... Once I reach a certain level of
success, there's no such thing as anti-trust to prevent me and a few other
"super successful business people" from stacking the deck to the extent that
you can never compete. Me and my little "business group" can set local wages,
establish "company stores" with set prices to keep employees indebted, raise
our own police forces. We can divide up an area and determine among us
wealthy landowners which of us controls which area. We can give ourselves
titles, like "duke of the west side" and so on. We can agree that one of us in
our group should speak for the rest to those in other regions... we can give
him the title of "King" if we like.

Most of the libertarians I've met agree that there is some compromise on things
which must be more centrally governed. For some it's roads and
infrastructure. For some its police protection. What it really comes down to
is, the more independently wealthy the "libertarian" I'm talking to is, the
more of those compromises to the ideal platform they agree are needed. It
really comes down to "we need just enough government to protect me and my
stuff, and absolutely no more."

We could talk about that a great deal more, I'm sure -- but lets do that some
time over a beer. This isn't a good venue for it.

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