It may be that the gunmen who killed blacks in Buffalo and children in Texas feel alone, deeply alone. But there is no such thing as ”acting alone” when we are raised to consider violence a normal response, and granted the right to carry tools created for the purpose of inflicting devastating violence.
My thoughts and prayers are with those killed today, and last week. But we need policy change,and we need it now.
Here is my proposal:
- All firearms for sale carry a clip limited to eight bullets. Period.
- Modifying firearms to increase clip size is illegal. Period.
- All firearm owners must attend a class on safe usage, storage, transportation of firearms. This class must be taken every 3 years.
- All firearm owners must have a license which is granted only upon completion of the class, and must be renewed every three years.
- No one with a history of violence of any kind (not just gun violence) May receive a license. Any reported threat of violence results in the immediate revoking of a license, which cannot then be renewed for three years.
- All firearms are stored in a central location: a registered firing range; hunting storage facility.
- Firearms must be checked out for use only by those with a license.
- The intended use must be recorded. If use is for more than a six hour block, the location and purpose can be for seasonal hunting only.
- If the purpose is destination hunting, proof of scheduled travel must be provided.
- Ammunition is recorded, and every bullet expended must be explained upon return of the firearm.
- Registered exemptions have a firearm outside of a registered gun control facility are granted ONLY for those who live in rural areas and who need a firearm for regular use (bear country, to scare them away; livestock protection). They must report all firearm usage within one week of firing, and also record all ammunition usage.
- Police may carry in uniform only; police may carry weapons only when there is an identified threat of violence.
This proposal allows people to use firearms at gun ranges, enjoying the thrill of shooting a powerful weapon. It allows hunters to hunt, and ranchers to protect their livestock. If a hunter can’t hit their kill with the first few bullets, they shouldn’t be hunting, much less with something that can spew dozens of bullets in seconds.
It does not allow open carry. It doesn’t allow for unplanned use. It means that their are no spontaneous suicides by gun. Or children accidentally shooting a playmate with a poorly stored loaded gun.
It does not allow police to carry guns unless there is an identified threat. I.e., police in the street don’t have a gun to use against anyone ‘driving while black.’ Police will need to develop deescalation skills.
For those who believe that they have a right to bear arms as a part of a well-ordered militia to exercise their constitutional right to revolution, when they are ready to revolt, they may check out their firearms, fail to return them on time, and use the six-hour head start (or more if they were smart enough to check out the weapons for a week during deer-hunting season) to start their revolution.
Owning a weapon designed to kill isn’t a right. It is a privilege that must be earned, and earned over and over again.
This proposal will not prevent the deep trauma that leads a person to kill children. It will not make them less alone. But it will reduce the ability of one person to inflict devastating violence.
If it is too radical, then perhaps we just don’t want to actually stop violence against people of color, and all of our children.