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Rob Freda

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Solving gun violence in the US in today's insane political climate requires a solution that makes it painless for everyone.

First that this idea even needs to be broached in the first place is ridiculous especially given the lack of clarity in the second amendment (eg it does not specify types of arms so that should be handled by laws not as a "do what you will free for all").

That said it seems there are some major elements that would be necessary to reduce gun deaths in the US and there are some obfuscating interests embodied in the NRA that must be sidestepped or accommodated in the solution.

Four main areas of focus jump out to reduce gun deaths:

1) "mass killings" (included in this would be the 2 or 3 person shootings as well as as Newtown or Aurora types)
2) Accidental shootings
3) Non-owner shootings (eg the shooter is not the owner of the gun)
4) "black market" trading

Added to these I would say the parameter that makes gun control legislation difficult is gun manufacturer revenue stream protection using the second amendment as a shill.

So what are the necessary parameters to make something happen vs. the absurdity of what is going to happen over the next few months in Washington:

1) Figure out a way that shifting policy creates more revenue for gun manufacturers so they get the NRA on board
2) Make sure that guns cannot be used in public places or by someone other than their owner

The Idea - Mandatory gun locks and universal kill switches.

On locks, all responsible gun owners have gun safes. Why not move the lock to the gun's trigger mechanism either with a combination code or biometric locks. That would prevent unauthorized use of the gun by anyone but the owner.

On kill switches, in the same locking mechanism put a chip and actuator that freezes the locking mechanism mentioned above when it receives a certain modulated radio signal.

If mandatory then all existing guns will have to be refitted with the new bolt mechanism creating revenue streams for the gun manufacturers and on all new guns they can charge more creating more revenue.

Thoughts?

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  • Feb 6 2013: I think we're failing to ask the correct question: how can we reduce the greatest number of gun-related crimes in this country without ignoring the Constitution? If you ask this question and look at FBI crime statistics, most gun crimes are committed with handguns. Most of those aren't purchased from federal licensed dealers. Many of them are stolen or have filed off serial numbers making their origins impossible to track. Most homicide convicts and most homicide victims are involved in gangs or the trade of drugs. Most come from a poor socioeconomic status.

    The Jarod Laughners and Adam Lanzas of this world are the outliers of a vast sea of data suggesting where the real problem lies. To focus so much attention on them and ignore the real problem is a disservice to the gun debate and only serves cynics and sycophants.

    Solutions include:
    -improved gun tracking records, coordinated by the ATF, so weapons used in crimes can be traced to their owners.
    -rigorous but rapid background checks via the NICS database
    -augmented background check data
    -mandatory reporting of violent crimes and conviction data from local, county, and state jurisdictions to the database
    -mandatory reporting of the mentally incompetent, those at risk to themselves or others to the database by psychiatrists
    -mandatory maintenance of the mentally ill records by treating psychiatrists, who may deem someone safe after completing treatment
    -mandatory updating of records if convictions are overturned on appeals
    -mandatory minimum sentencing for those convicted of gun-related crimes. Federalize these crimes if necessary.
    -mandatory minimum sentencing for those convicted of trafficking illegally in guns
    -mandatory attendance of gun safety programs for licensed gun owners with refresher courses on an biannual basis so they maintain their competency and knowledge (just like CPR certification)
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      Feb 7 2013: I am glad someone is focusing on the issues of gun violence and not the look alike assault rifle that seems excite the political crowd.
      the list is long and I am not sure that all is needed, but the one key to watch under current constitutional law is that there can be no requirement that would or appear to infringe on constitutional rights. A national data base with name, address and gun type could be seen as an intimidation and be unconstitutional.
      Most of these suggestions that focus on legal gun ownership may be seen as more annoying the needed.
      Those that apply to illegal activities ie. mandatory sentencing, minimum sentences, consecutive sentencing, crime plus gun need to be on top of the list.
      I am not comfortable with federal sentencing. Constitutionally police powers and by extension sentencing belongs to the states.
      • Feb 7 2013: I probably should have stated that I was listing those suggestions in no particular order. I think the most effective ones involve enforcing the laws we already have on the books, and increasing the penalties on those convicted of gun crimes and illegal gun trafficking. And you may be right that it may be unconstitutional to federalize gun crimes.

        I completely understand your argument on the national database as well. Registration leads to confiscation, and at the risk of Godwinning the discussion, this is what Hitler did, and many gun rights advocates are justifiably worried about their guns being taken away. My only counterpoint is that if you can trust the government and register your car, why would we apply a lesser standard to lethal weapons? Theoretically a log of those requesting and passing background checks could be compiled into a de facto gun-ownership database already.

        As for suggestions that might be "annoying" to legal gun owners, sure they might be, but doesn't mean that with the right to own a firearm, they can shirk responsibility to do so safely. I don't think passing a background check is offensive. We already do it, so why not have the database be more effective? Also, if you own a gun, you should know how to use it, store it, clean it, handle it, and be familiar with the laws governing it. Completing a course to verify this is common sense and responsible gun ownership. You have to renew your CPR certification and renew your driver's license, right?
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          Feb 7 2013: Hi Jon,
          I have no problem with a background check as detailed as need to assure the gun purchaser is not on any .... lists. I am cautious about any national list that would allow the identity of any individual shown to have possession of a gun. It is a short step to national gun confiscation. As far as licensing, etc., these are now state and should remain state issues. My own state has differing requirements for differing gun uses. There are other states with other requirements as it should be. I am not in favor of a national requirement for "gun"s.
          I am of the belief that the states have relinquished most of their rights under Constitution. If we continue, these losses of states rights, there will come a time that there will be no states and no reason to have them. That changes everything.

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