This has come up on FB several times, and rather than re-hash it over and over, here’s my recommendation (the first part modeled after the Czech legal system):
In order to be licensed to possess any firearm (of various classes from historic to military), you must:
1. Get a doctor’s certification every three years which testifies that you are of sound enough mind and body to bear and use the weapon appropriately (the doctor risks his/her license in doing so, therefore it is in their best interest to be honest)
2. Pass a written test to demonstrate that you are fully aware of the law appropriate to your chosen class(es) of weapon
3. Pass a practical exam under police supervision at a range to demonstrate basically that you can hit what you aim at
4. Re-license every five years or lose the privilege
(For reference, the Czechs maintain four categories: atypical for dangerous pressurized gas weapons and other weird constructs, historical, hunting/sport, and military – things like high-cap magazines and laser sights considered military, you can figure the drift from there.)
Then, for each firearm you possess, within ten days of acquisition you must register it with your local police station (in the US, that’d probably be your local Sheriff). Move to a new locale, you find the local authority and tell them what your weapons are.
The local authorities are obligated to do spot-checks of weapons, to make sure you still possess and that you are storing weapons safely (which isn’t, but should be part of, the legislation).
In addition, I would add to the legislation the following:
* A mandate for liability insurance for each weapon similar in nature to what we have for automobiles, to the tune of $50 per weapon quarterly, scaled down for quantity (so something like $50 first, $40 second, $20 third, $10 fourth and every after – subject to riders for semi-auto or “assault” style weapons) subject to proper storage restrictions, etc. Such insurance would be provided by a government-authorized corporation similar to the Post Office or Medicare, and any surplus go to a fund used to pay for treatment or funerary services for victims of gun violence.
- failure to obtain such insurance for the weapons in question will make the registered owner subject to felony charge, up to and possibly including a sentence equivalent to that handed down to any criminal penalty assessed against a user of the owner’s weapon as a result of conviction of a crime using that weapon.
- this insurance program would cover accidental discharge damages, and also serves as a disincentive to the local jerk-off who just wants to have a gun “because it’s cool” – $50 is a lot of cash for a dink who wants to brag. The price is workable for someone who *really* wants to possess (which is generally not the kind to go on a spree) or who simply enjoys the sport, or is a professional shooter with sponsors to pay.
* A mandate that all weapons manufacturers and importers include microstamping devices in every weapon sold (this is *not* a pricey add-on – it would probably equate to $15-$20 per weapon – that will uniquely stamp the casing and the bullet of every shot fired with a code specific to the weapon which was used to fire it.
* A mandate for weapons manufacturers to employ tamper-resistant serialization of their weapons (see microstamping above, this would mean putting a serial # in a lot of places, or installing it in such a fashion as not to be ‘removable’ without significantly disabling the weapon).
* Establishment of a Federal buy-back program for pre-legislation weapons that will purchase back any weapon turned in to the local FBI office or kiosk (kiosks to be held open at gun shows) for a rate of 85% of the purchase price subject to original receipt and tracing of it to its FFL entry, if any, otherwise ‘going rate’ (reassessed every three years or so) as a non-collector weapon. This is intended to capture grandfathered weapons that would be exempt from this regulation. Needless to say, such weapons collected would be sent to Quantico for ballistics checks to see if they had been involved in a crime…any weapons not required for evidence to be destroyed.
Questions, comments, death-threats?