I know the gun control debate has fired up once again in the wake of Sandy Hook and other tragedies. I know it has been bandied about by everyone on the left and the right, tempers have flared, etc. Hell, I've taken a load of flak from all corners for either not being anti-gun enough or for being too pro-gun. I figure I should be able to catch the same amount of flak for this article, so here we go.
The fact of the matter is that here in America, guns are here to stay. Guns are too ingrained into our society, media and everything else to be eliminated. We probably have a gun for every person living within our borders and despite the wishes of some of the far left, confiscating all guns is just not feasible. In addition to that, outright bans have been overturned in decisions like District of Columbia vs Heller and President Obama has even signed legislation that allows people to carry weapons in federal parks. So for those of you on the left, let's walk back from that ideologically pure idea, it's just not going to happen.
In the previously mentioned Supreme Court decision, Justice Antonin Scalia stated in the majority opinion: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapons whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose". Yet, there are people who believe that they should be able to own without any oversight any weapon they chose.
Personally, I have no need for an AR-15. I personally do not foresee a zombie apocalypse or obsessively entertain a Red Dawn (the original happens to be one of my favorite movies) fantasy in which I somehow single-handly take on an oppressive government that can eliminate me with a missile launched far beyond the range of 5.56mm round. Yet, there are people who do and guess what? As the Constitution has been interpreted, they have been granted the right to own those weapons and personally, I don't have a problem with that. You can stock your Doomsday shelter with as many weapons as you want, so long as you keep them away from myself and my family.
Here's the catch as I see it, the "keep and bear arms" phrase of the 2nd Amendment states nothing about where you can keep and bear these arms. We have restrictions on what you can do in public, such as something as harmless as an open containers or nudity laws, and none of those have been challenged successfully in a court of law to the best of my knowledge as an infringement of personal liberty as guaranteed under the Constitution. There also restrictions on owning anything over .50 caliber except for muzzleloaders which obviously excludes rocket launchers, 20mm Gatling guns and other military weaponry.
In addition to that, many states have laws that ban the open carry of weapons and others have a variety of requirements in order to have a concealed weapon (which I personally have a permit for) when you're out in public. Some also prohibit these concealed carry permit holders from taking their weapons into sporting events, bars, churches, and so on. Again, I don't think any of those laws have been successfully challenged.
So here is my proposition. Buy all the guns you want, just keep them on your property. If you want to carry one in public, you can have that privilege. Just like a car, you can take it out in public but there's requirements. To drive a car on your own property, you don't need a license, insurance, registration, etc. Why do you need that in public? Because having untrained and uninsured drivers on the road is a potential danger to others. Same thing with guns. Most states require a license to hunt and many also have legislation stating that you need to attend a hunter safety course in order to obtain that license. Why can't we do that with guns? We require different levels of clearance for truck drivers and people who work offshore (TWIC cards, I own one), so why not something similar for those who want to take guns out in public?
It won't stop every instance of gun violence, it won't satisfy some on the left, and it certainly won't cure our society's fascination with violence but it is a start.
It will also severely piss off those on the right who believe that this is taking away their rights and giving the government a list of who owns what. Not to mention the "police state" they claim this will bring about, all while they call for a real police state that they envision which involves armed volunteers in every school.
Coupled with the current background check system and perhaps a ban on internet sales of weapons and ammo, it would be a a step in the right direction. I think it is a very reasonable and common sense solution to our problem with guns and gun violence. To quote Rage Against The Machine, "what better place than here, what better time than now"?