> I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.
I don't know about anyone else but at this point I refuse to click anything with garbage headlines.
People in Maine will have a different view of firearms than people in Boston, so for the most part, I would leave the gun question to states and local governments.
However with freedom of travel and commerce, you cannot effectively restrict guns in Boston if anyone can drive to Maine, walk into a store, buy firearms, get back in the car, and drive back to Boston. (likewise for Chicago/Indiana.)
A Federal approach would make sense to me, national registration, local regulation.
In order to enable state and local regulation, you really need Federal registration of all firearms. You want to own firearms for self-defense, hunting, sport shooting, you and your guns have to be in a national database. The gun's ballistic signature is in the database. Your fingerprints are in the database. You want to sell or gift the gun, you have to update the database under penalty of Federal law. Whenever the cops pay you a visit, they get a popup noting what guns are associated with your address, car etc. A crime gets committed, the cops look up who has the weapon and what its chain of ownership was.
If you are a Boston resident, you buy a gun in Maine, the Boston PD gets a popup. They maybe pay you a visit, ask you where the gun is, remind you of the local gun laws. If it's for skeet shooting at your place in Maine, that's fine. Just comply with your local laws and keep the records updated.
Local regulation, which states and municipalities might wish to consider:
- Safety and responsible gun ownership training.
- How weapons may be stored, transported, etc.
- Background checks.
- Additional limitations for felons, certain violent non-felonies like domestic abuse accusations, subject to due process. Mental illness limitations.
- Inspections. If you have a lot of guns, the government can inspect that they are being stored safely at the location they are registered to.
- Biometric safety devices, so only authorized individuals can access or fire them; geolocation.
- Insurance, financial responsibility if your weapon is stolen, misused.
- Taxes on guns, ammunition to pay for the regulatory regime and the significant economic externalities of gun ownership.
This would be the American way, I think. Move the debate to the local level, so it’s not, Washington wants to take away your guns, and let local communities determine what common sense means to them.
Americans support gun laws that would make a difference, but can’t get them passed, further eroding democracy and trust. But a comprehensive approach would reduce gun deaths, the terrorism threat and irrational fears about it, and help restore trust in cops, who use getting home safely at the end of the day as an excuse for militarization, hair-trigger tactics, mistakes.