(The children and adults murdered at Sandy Hook, never to see another day. Image from Dailymail.co.uk)
To Congressman Lieu, Senator Boxer, and Senator Feinsten,
I’m sure I’m not the only one writing today. The mass shootings in the country have reached a point where my wife and I genuinely discuss moving to another country, because the thought of our children heading off to school and not coming back has become a stark reality that we must face. We are now in a time where safety is a delusion. It is a fantasy we use to function through our daily lives. Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, and the other three hundred plus shootings are proof of that.
We have reached a level of insanity only matched by our government’s inaction. When the two towers fell, there was sweeping change. In our city, people can no longer smoke cigarettes even on the streets. I have to show an ID to buy Sudafed. But we keep throwing our arms in the air saying “What can we do? It’s the 2nd Amendment…” when we’ve amended the constitution to abolish slavery and allow women the right to vote.
Our forefathers were not omniscient, nor gods. They could not have predicted the advancement of firearms, nor the population density of our country today. Instead, they were white men (many, slave owners) who had witnessed a tyranny and created a document with checks and balances, and that was, in fact, malleable, so that this country could offer its people opportunity, and above all, fairness. The right to pursue happiness.
The proliferation of guns throughout our country has become our new tyranny. How many thousands of people have to die over the next few years so others can keep a piece of steel with a barrel in their lockbox? How many hundreds of thousands of families and friends have to mourn a day each year for the rest of their lives, because someone they love was ruthlessly taken away?
What the hell is wrong with our representatives? Is the NRA that powerful? Have we elected cowards? Yes, our representatives must represent their constituents, but they also must lead to a better way. They must bring solutions to hard problems. And they must protect the marginalized groups with no voices, when the majority doesn’t care.
The irony of this is that I’m a gun owner, and I use to be a gun advocate. I’d smelt them today if it’d stop one more person from leaving their home and not coming back. One more kid who goes off to school with their too-large backpack swinging side-to-side, only to have a bullet take all of their future from them.
People say there are too many guns, that we can never get rid of all of them. We don’t have to. Too many people live in a world of all or nothing, when most solutions are in-between. We need to introduce scarcity, incentives, and consequences. Going forward, keep the long guns (rifles, shotguns) for hunters and target shooters, but at a 3-shot maximum. No shotgun plug, no high-capacity alternative. No grandfather clause to allow higher-capacity options. Three shots. That is perfectly fine for hunting, and racking a pump shotgun is the universal sound for “get out of my house.”
Introduce a buyback program for all semi-automatic handguns, high capacity magazines, revolver speedloaders, and semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles and shotguns. In addition to the buyback, offer a tax-incentive for households that can prove they are gun-free.
Introduce a Class II license for those who wish to keep their semi-automatic handguns, high capacity magazines, revolver speedloaders, and semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles and shotguns. These weapons cannot be sold, other than to the government for buyback at pre-ban fair market value. In addition to yearly, mandatory training, if their weapons are used in a crime by another person, they are an accessory and tried for that crime.
Introduce a law where if a gun is stolen, and the owner doesn’t immediately contact the authorities, they are fined $10,000 or 10% of their cash net worth. If the police determine that the gun wasn’t locked in a gun safe, it’s a felony. If the gun wasn’t locked in a safe, and the gun is used later for a crime, they are an accessory to that crime.
Introduce a law where any Class II weapons or accessories that are found on a person or in their home after the buyback grace period and are not registered, results in $10,000 fine and a felony charge.
We hear about the senseless deaths, we mourn for a few days, but there are no lasting consequences to the population at large. The above ideas make everyone who owns – or wishes to own – a gun, weigh the potential consequence of that ownership. It may not be the end-all solution, but it’s a start.
When our forefathers wrote the 2nd amendment, the most advanced weapons for civilians – pistol or rifle – were single shot, and either black powder or flintlock.
Let’s stop being naive. Let’s stop saying nothing can be done. A lot can be done. We just need representatives with the will and fight to do it.
December 3, 2015