The DC v Heller decision of 2008 established 3 things, according to the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia. (See https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/2nd-amendment-and-gun-control-part-1/ for details.)
First, individual citizens, not part of a militia, have the right to own weapons.
Second, the government has the right to regulate who can have weapons.
Third, the government has the right to determine the legality of specific weapons.
So, any attempt by any member of Congress to suggest that any gun control violates the 2nd Amendment should be referrred to the Scalia opinion. Gun control is constitutional.
So, what kind of gun control , which does minimal damage to the desire (not right) of gun owners to certain weapons, are possible? Here are some possible gun control measures which Congress could take.
- A mandatory background check for any gun purchaser. Using a nationwide data base that identifies felons out on parole, individuals convicted of spousal abuse, individuals convicted of any violent crime, individuals currently charged with a violent offense pending trial.
- A ban on the ownership and sale of military-style assault weapons and any devices that can be used to enhance the firing capacity of weapons, including bumpstocks. (Except in licensed shooting ranges).
- A ban on the sale and/or transportation of weapons across state lines.
- Mandatory written and field and safety tests for anyone purchasing a weapon, including a screening for emotional and mental stability.
- A ban on any sale of guns other than that of a registered gun seller. This includes the ban on trading, swap meets or other gun sales not taking place in an established, permanent location.
- The registration of all weapons with the local authorities. Including the free transfer of weapons to immediate famiy members, which would be legal.
- Establishment of shooting ranges for those who wish to fire military style weapons. These establishments would be able to legally rent military style weapons to shooters to be used only at the shooting ranges.
- The ban on any bullet or projectile designed to explode on entering the body or designed to pierce armor.
- The licensing of any gun owner, renewable every five years, to determine that the person keeps up with the skill, visual acuity, mental capacity to handle a weapon safely and understands the law relating to weapons.
- Establishment of free clinics and classes to teach and train gun owners as to the proper and safe use of firearms.
- A Right To Know Law which gives parents the right to know which households have guns in them. A parent could then decide for themselves if they want to expose their child to a household which has a weapon. (Many children die playing with guns each year).
- A yearly weapons licensing tax to help defray the costs of gun safety programs.
- A health care premium Gun Violence Tax for gun owners. This would help defray the massive costs to hospitals,police, courts, jails and the insurance industry for costs related to the care of victims and perpetrators of gun violence nationwide. Hang on to your six-shooter. The annual estimated cost of gun violence in the USA is $8,600,000,000 (billion) in direct medical care. And the overall cost of gun violence to the economy is $229,000,000,000. See references at the end of this blog for details.
I am confident that many or all of these solutions, taken as a whole, would significantly reduce both intentional and accidental gun mortality. All of these ideas are constitutional and easily implemented. I am also sure that people more astute and informed than I have even more and better solutions.
We license people to drive cars. We renew auto license plates every year or two. We tax vehicles and gas used in those vehicles. We let people know if there is a sex offender living in the neighborhood so parents can protect their children. We heavily tax tobacco to reduce usage and pay for the costs of medical care caused by tobacco. So, none of the ideas above, if applied to weapons , is radical or unusual.
Would these solutions stop ALL gun violence? Of course not. Even places with strict gun control laws have some gun violence. But the likelyhood of desth by gun in these nations is minimal compared to the USA.
In Austria you are as likely to drown in a swimming pool as be killed by a gun. In New Zealand, your chances of death by gun are the same as falling from a ladder. In Poland, the chance is the same as being killed on your bicycle. And in Japan you are just as likely to be hit by lightening as killed by a gun.
Think about that last statistic the next time you watch a thunderstorm brewing.