Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gun control, libertarians and a first step towards sanity

I think it is well established that I am both an atheist and a libertarian. I should clarify that I'm a little "L" libertarian rather than a big "L" party hack. We share some things in common, but for the most part we do not agree on tactics or on our approach to politics.

What do I believe? I believe that responsible citizens should have the right to keep and bear arms. I am a responsible gun owner. I cannot conceive of a reason why I would need to surrender my gun or make purchasing another gun burdensome. That does not mean I would appose regulation of guns and gun ownership, quite the contrary. I believe our laws help keep us safe and effective enforcement of just laws are necessary, but not the only way,  to reduce the incidence of gun violence. 

The Libertarian position opposes all control, even bans on assault-style semiautomatic weapons.

Foolish politicians and police now seek to ban semi-automatic "assault rifles". They ignore the fact that only honest citizens will comply; criminals will still have them. Such a ban will only increase the criminals' ability to victimize the innocent.

Of course, we know these arguments to represent an extreme negotiation point. They are stating a position that is the most conservative to begin bargaining (as if they have influence), instead of looking for a solution to gun violence via all vectors, they instead exclude any control that would limit access to, or ownership of, guns. Their position is intractable and is unpalatable to the vast majority of Americans. The Libertarians claim to be the "Party of Ideas", but what they often represent is bad ideas. Universal gun ownership appeals to a minority of the population for a reason. It does not work. People are dying and our children are being slaughtered. Voicing a position that supports the widest possible gun ownership is so out of sync with reality as to be considered laughable. There is a better way. 

The real question is how do we assure a citizen's right to own guns while maximizing efforts to reduce gun violence? 

I have a suggestion here too. Let's start by putting an executive in charge of the A.T.F. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF), the federal agency responsible for enforcing gun laws, has for years been choked by legislative restrictions that keep it from functioning efficiently, according to a report from The New York Times. The bureau also suffers from a six-year vacancy of its director’s seat.

Let start with leadership. We can climb the next hill when we finish the first.


Grung_e_Gene said...

The if we outlaw guns only outlaws willhave guns position is total dreck.

The reason criminals have easy access to guns is two-fold.

1) We are awash in guns 300,000,000. The Firearm Manufacturers have hired the NRA and tasked the Republican Party with making it easy to flood America with guns. Which they have done.
2) Reponsible gun owners. What percentage of gun owners do you believe are responsible? I can't imagine it's any more than 50%.

Criminals are getting their guns from thefts or from under the table illegal sales. Responsible gun owners are lax when it comes to safeguarding their weapons and because of this society is suffering.

So, Guns represent a clear health and safety threat to the American people.

Dromedary Hump said...

I too am an avid collector and shooter. I left the NRA years ago when I realized they were more extreme and more tied to religious right wingers than I could tolerate representing me.
Wayne LaPierre is a douche bag.

That said: I ave a suggestion that should satisfy peopleon both sides of the military style/high capacity mag debate...and here it is:
I own two machineguns/ aka Class III weapons. To obtain EACH I had to fill out a BATF Form 4; get finger printed, submit photos, get my cheif of polices approval and three local references, and submit it all in triplicate to the BATF with my $200 transfer fee.

In 4-6 weeks my approved permit comes back and I get my machine gun.

There hasn't been an illegal / criminal act conducted with a registered machin gun since 1968. NOT ONE. If a similar, albeit less expensive procedure were put in place for these so called "assault weapons " (a total misnomer by the way) it would be the tightest control there is, which already exists and is a proven deterrent to misuse.

No ban on "ugly" guns. No magazine restrictions. And no black rifles being distributed to questionable people who wouldn't even attempt to apply.

Inconvenient? Mayhaps. But frankly I'd submit myself to it for all future such purchases ( I already own 6 military style semi autos, they aren't "on the street" and they never hurt anyone as far as I know).

Unfortunately this is too reasonable and thus would be rejected by extremists on both sides of the debate. Hell, most of the gun ban group don't even know that a majority of states permit full auto class III ownership...maybe I shouldn't tell them.