I realize that the thought of “Gun Control” has a negative connotation to most in the gun rights community, but hear me out. We do need gun control, although NOT in its current form (see video below for our thoughts on most recent gun control push), rather in a form that supports the 2nd Amendment and our Constitution. American society and culture today is much different than the society at the time of our founding. Our current society is much different than it was even 60 years ago. So, how has society changed that would make a pro-gun advocate like me say we need gun control?
Well, we have had a bastardized version of gun control for several generations now and it’s time to step back, take a look around and reassess our situation.
Throughout American history, firearms have been iconic in our culture. People owned guns, kids grew up around guns and they were an accepted part of American life. However, fairly recent history has changed that to a large extent. The 2nd Amendment debate started long ago, revolving around conflicts between the Constitution and the wording in some individual state constitutions, but gun ownership was always accepted as an individual right under “common law” that no state could supersede.
The first real “Gun Ban*” came about in 1934, two years after alcohol Prohibition, which spawned deadly gangland violence, had ended. They cited the gangland violence surrounding Prohibition and fully automatic weapons, like the Tommy Gun, used in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1929) as justification. It should come as no surprise that the ban* was enacted under the watchful eye of the liberal/progressive icon Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was relatively quiet for new legislation after that until 1968. Fueled by the assassinations of both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the “Great Society” policies of Lyndon B. Johnson resulted in The Gun Control Act which regulated interstate commerce of guns. It was followed in 1972 by the creation of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) a government agency to basically regulate “bad stuff”.
So, the current model of Gun Control (to ban, restrict or regulate) is still relatively new in America. Fortunately, the American gun culture is still alive and pushing back, but a large and growing portion of Americans now grow up with NO exposure to guns, NO respect for guns and/or NO practical experience with guns. In a nation where there are as many guns in circulation as there are people, how can that be viewed as anything other than abject irresponsibility?
So, what kind of gun control do we need? EDUCATION! TRAINING! And more Education and Training.
- Gun safety should be taught in school at an early age. Starting in elementary school, recognition of and respect for firearms should be taught.
- As children get older they should begin safe handling of firearms and shooting training.
- They should then move on to cleaning and maintenance, learning the importance of both.
- Throughout high school they should be taught different weapon systems, from handguns to shotguns to rifles and yes, even those scary AR15s and AK47s.
- A high school graduate should be comfortable and proficient with any type of firearm.
As ideal as this scenario would be, to initiate it will take time, so what do we need in the meantime? My answer: FREE proficiency training and certification. Eliminate the BATFE, along with all existing gun control laws, and reallocate those budgets to training in conjunction with existing private organizations like the NRA, Project Appleseed, etc. Develop a minimum proficiency standard and certification process with a “Sunset Clause” on the authorizing legislation (say, twelve years) and firearms educational curriculum mandated. By the end of that 12 year Proficiency Certification period, first graders who started the firearms education curriculum will be graduating and the proficiency certification will no longer be needed.
Let me be clear, I am NOT a proponent of firearms licensing or permits, but with so many generationally deprived gun novices out there we must have some stop gap measure during the transition to an ideal form of gun control. Those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up still connected to guns and who are knowledgeable of their role in America should be able to take a proficiency exam and receive a certification that allows us to buy any firearm and carry in any state and at any time or place. Those who have not had that good fortune should have to go through training, just like what should be taught in school to our children. For adults the training would be condensed, but would still require all the same elements including the various weapon types. Once completed and tested for proficiency they would be certified. With a “gun control” program like this in place, a single generation could lead to a more 2nd Amendment compliant and safer society.
With the 2nd Amendment fully supported in schools and in society at large, We The People would regain our power to protect and defend the Constitution as a whole. Crime would drop dramatically. Personal responsibility would rise and most of all, this nation would be more secure. Newtowns, Auroras and Orlandos would be a thing of the past. Kids killing kids accidentally with firearms or purposely through gang activity would be greatly reduced, if not virtually eliminated.
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. – Robert A. Heinlein
Gun control should not mean the regulation, restriction or elimination of guns, but rather the ability to control the gun in your hand. Education, training, respect and proficiency should be the definition of gun control. Our government has a Constitutional mandate to adhere to the 2nd Amendment’s limitation of their power over firearms and our leaders should be tasked with undoing the unconstitutional infringements that have been done. As a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment, I submit that Yes we do need gun control; proper, Constitutional and education-based gun control.
Amendment II: A well regulated Militia (well armed and trained citizens), being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people (ALL of The People) to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
*No, it was not an all out “ban” per se, but the NFA severely restricted access to fully automatic weapons, silencers and other specific weapons by requiring a federal tax stamp, extensive background checks, photos, fingerprints etc. which made fully automatic weapons virtually unattainable by anyone but the wealthy, squeaky clean and most persistent Americans.