Rolling Stone just published an article that listed 7 steps that should be followed to “beat the NRA.” It’s not exactly clear what the writer, Tim Dickinson, believes would be the result of such a victory; I have to assume he thinks it would have a real impact on the gun violence which continues to claim more than 30,000 lives each year. But he says it will take a generation to unseat the NRA, so in the spirit of speeding things up a bit I’m going to offer my own 7 steps for dealing with gun violence before the next mass shooting takes place.
Step 1: Let’s stop being so accommodating with the pro-gun side. After all, the suffragettes didn’t demand the vote every other year; for that matter, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t give the South ten years to free the slaves. The truth is that the easiest way to get rid of gun violence is to get rid of the guns. That should be the point at which the debate begins. After all, the other side has made it clear they’d be happy if there were no gun laws at all. Doesn’t one extreme position deserve another?
Step 2: Stop talking about gun control and focus on the real problem. More than 80% of all gun violence is committed with handguns, and if we got rid of every one of them there would still be 140 million shotguns and rifles floating around.
Step 3: Stop arguing about so-called assault rifles and magazine limits. If the handguns go away, at least let everyone play with a pretend machine gun which, notwithstanding a few high-profile incidents like Aurora, can’t be blamed for much gun violence anyway.
Step 4: Eliminate the manufacture of handguns except for the military, export and LE. There are six gun companies who between them manufacture 80% of the guns sold on the domestic market, and with the exception of Glock, the other five also make long guns. If the gun folks couldn’t buy any more handguns, long gun sales would go up. Chances are that the total job loss at the manufacturing end would be less than 3,000 for which ways could easily be found to compensate this workforce for any financial loss.
Step 5: Let each family register and keep one handgun for protection in the home – the 2nd Amendment wouldn’t be disturbed at all. The others could all be sold to the government at a fair market price and lotteries could be held with an additional payment to one owner every time 100 guns were turned in. Or for each handgun deposited the owner could get a nice redeemable coupon for a rifle.
Step 6: Sales of new rifles and shotguns would require a NICS background check; private transfers or sales would be exempt. I never understood all the brouhaha about extending background checks to cover all long gun transactions in the first place. From a crime-control perspective it’s not quite as meaningless as another assault weapons ban, but it comes close.
Step 7: Eliminate state-level licensing of long guns so that I can walk into a gun shop in Montana and buy a rifle off the rack. Those Western states have all kinds of hunting guns that I’ve never even seen back East, and I don’t want to go through a whole rigamarole to grab that beautiful Weatherby Mark V Deluxe that I saw when I walked into Big Sky Guns in Great Falls.
. If no more handguns come into the market it will take about ten years for the current supply of crime guns to completely disappear. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m in favor of doing any of these things. But if the gun control crowd really wants to end gun violence it wouldn’t take a switch in that many Congressional seats for a bill containing most of these provisions to land on the President’s desk. Doesn’t that sound like a more feasible plan than tilting at windmills like the NRA?