Resolved: My gun-safety plan is smarter than Trump's

Every state of the Union imposes requirements for driver’s licences. Shouldn’t purchasing or operating a fire-arm also require credential? (I realize some will say “Driving a car is a privilege; carrying a lethal weapon is a right;” start another thread if that’s as far as you get in your thinking.)

I don’t want the Federal government to impose rules for gun credentials; I’m happy to leave it, like drivers’ licenses, up to each state. If Alabama grants a license to purchase or carry fire-arms to any citizen at least 12 years of age, that’s fine. If Oregon decides that gun owners need to pass a course in gun safety and pass a background check before they can purchase or carry a fire-arm, that’s fine too.

Each state will make a list showing which states’ gun licenses it accepts. If Oregon does not accept Alabama gun licenses, then an Alabaman who visits Oregon will have to leave his weapon at home, or obtain an Oregon license. This is somewhat similar to the present rules on drivers’ licenses. The Federal government will play no role (except perhaps for apprehending people who transport a gun across a state line without a valid license for each state).

This should appeal to both liberals and states’ rights conservatives. If Alabaman schoolchildren still feel unsafe, they (or their parents) need to petition Alabama’s legislature.

As I mentioned in a recent thread, saving the lives of a few dozen schoolchildren (in states which adopt meaningful licensing) is a worthy goal, but more important is to expose the flaws in Trumpism and Pence-Ryanism. If the Pence-Trump regime can be overthrown, many tens of thousands of lives will be saved annually due to issues unrelated to guns, e.g. healthcare and environmental protection.

Trump has reversed himself: In 2016 he (correctly) thought that arming schoolteachers was a bad idea. Now he’s for it. The more I think about it, the more it becomes clear that Trump’s plan is unusually stupid, even by Trump’s standards.

For one thing, with 3 million schoolteachers in the country, even if 99.99% behave responsibly with their guns (or turn down the gun-toting opportunity altogether), that leaves 300 teachers who may blunder: e.g. drawing their weapon in a discipline situation where no student gun is present. We know many trained police officers have seriously flawed gun behavior — 300 inappropriately armed schoolteachers is probably a severe underestimate.

In my plan, schoolteachers are not armed. States who want, say, metal detectors in schools, or background checks for gun holders, can have them. States who don’t, won’t. Happy-happy. Win-win.

The incompetence of Trumpist and Republican ideas will be on display for all to see. “Conservative” hypocrisy — pretending to believe in states’ rights but actually wanting to impose the NRA agenda on blue states — will be exposed as insincere prattle. Win-win.

So under your plan, we’d repeal all federal gun control laws?

Many states with stricter laws would need severe penalties for those who take their guns in unlicensed. That’s not unprecedented. I believe I remember cases of where people from places where handguns were prevalent getting into trouble in NYC with its stricter laws.

Sorry, I keep stubbing my toe on that bar…

Granted, “my ________ plan is smarter than Trump’s” (with literally anything in the blank) is a stunningly low bar to clear, but…it sounds to me like the OP is just advocating for the status quo.

In Illinois, one must obtain an FOID to purchase firearms or ammunition. Separately, there is now also a way to get a License to Carry to carry a concealed handgun in public. In Michigan, a “purchase license” is required to buy a handgun (but not to buy a rifle or shotgun). Separately, there is also a license for concealed carry of handguns. And in Alabama, there is no license required to buy anything, and only a license required to carry concealed handguns in public (although you apparently do need that license to carry in a car). By federal law, felons and drug addicts and people who have been adjudicated mentally ill or who have been convicted of domestic violence are barred from firearms ownership*; so even in the “Constitutional Carry” states, felons and so forth may not carry firearms of any kind, handguns or long guns, openly or concealed, since they are not allowed to even own firearms. But basically, each state has its own system for licensing the purchasing or carrying of firearms (with only a minority requiring a license to own any sort of firearm, but with most states still requiring licenses to carry handguns in public, especially when concealed from ordinary view).

And states do in fact publish lists of what other states firearms licenses they recognize; in some cases that list is " ", because they don’t recognize any other state’s license (part of the State of New York doesn’t even recognize firearms carry licenses issued in the rest of the state); in other cases, that list is “all other states” or “all other states that will recognize our licenses”, and in some states, that list is a list of states with laws that are deemed “sufficiently similar” to those of the recognizing state.

The Supreme Court has ruled that states may not totally bar their own citizens from possessing firearms; nor even bar their own citizens from possessing handguns specifically. Thus far, the Supreme Court has declined to rule on the question of any right to carry a handgun in public, or on questions of “reciprocity” for citizens of other states who wish to carry outside their home state, nor have they ruled on the constitutionality of any sort of ban on “assault weapons”, let alone “machine guns”. (I believe it is accurate to say that nowadays most Americans live in states where a law-abiding citizen can get a license to carry a concealed handgun in public, and having done so can also carry in most of the rest of the country as a result of state-level laws on reciprocity and recognition. But interstate reciprocity or recognition of concealed carry licenses is a complicated subject, and subject to not infrequent changes. And “open carry” is a whole other can of worms.)
*text of U.S. law in “spoiler” box merely for brevity:

spoiler It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—
(1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(2) is a fugitive from justice;
(3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
(4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
(5) who, being an alien—
(A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
(B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));
(6) who [2] has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
(7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;
(8) is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that—
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to participate; and
(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(9) has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.[/spoiler]

Treat guns like cars? So that you require:

A) A licence
B) regular taxation
C) Insurance
D) Annual inspection

I suspect point D will do more limit gun ownership than anything else.

“You want how many guns? OK that’ll cost you, You want to carry on the street? OK that’ll cost you, You want a semi-automatic? wow, that will really cost you,”

Normal everyday operation of a motor vehicle without intent to harm imposes notable risk to self and others. Not so much with firearms. You also don’t necessarily need a license to* purchase* a vehicle, although I haven’t checked every state so YMMV. And often an unlicensed driver may operate a vehicle on private property. An analogy may be forbidding unlicensed operation of a firearm (perhaps extending"operation" to mean carrying a loaded firearm) on public property.

Point C will be gotten around by making people be members of an organisation like the NRA, who will provide the appropriate insurance. Given the amount of flak the NRA cop for existing as it is, basically requiring people who want to own guns for benign, non-political reasons to be a member of an activist organisation is going to be problematic, surely?

One of the huge, and often overlooked, issues with “Sensible Gun Control Plans” is that mechanically many guns are pretty much exactly the same, so calls to ban “Scary Guns” are derided because they’re

Australia has effectively banned centrefire semi-auto rifles - but you can still own lever-action, bolt-action, straight-pull and pump-action centrefire rifles, all of which can crank out rounds with considerable speed in the hands of a trained shooter.

We’ve also effectively banned pump-action shotguns, but you can own lever-action and straight-pull shotguns on the same licence category as a .22 rifle. There’s basically no difference between a pump-action shotgun and a straight-pull shotgun except the cocking bit on one of them is a knob attached to the firing block instead of a sliding foregrip.

It’s understandable people want to ban AR-15s because they’re scary military rifles, but what about the Ruger Mini-14 (which is essentially mechanically the same as an AR-15 but has a wooden stock and doesn’t look as scary, despite also being used by police and militaries), or the M1 Garand (WWII era semi-automatic rifle which is synonymous with Freedom and Kicking Hitler’s Ass)? They’re still semi-autos, but they’re not “scary” and also not associated with mass shootings.

Unlike Australia, you can’t just ban all centrefire semi-autos (regardless of whether it’s an AR-15, AK-47, SKS, Ruger Mini-14, or what have you) in the US. The toothpaste is out of the tube and all over the bathroom; it’s impossible to put it back and even trying is an exercise in futility.

As a non-American who likes guns, I’d suggest the focus needs to be on better healthcare, fixing inequality, and instituting at least some sort of federal gun licence system (albeit adminstered at state level) that requires basic background checks and knowledge of gun safety.

If I understand correctly, the OP proposes to regulate firearms at a level similar to automobiles.

Let’s look at what this would mean.

Currently, you can purchase, own, and transport unlimited numbers of automobiles without any sort of license.

While on private land, any kind of automobile is legal to own or operate and requires no license or registration to do so.

It’s only if you wish to operate an automobile on public land (typically roads) that you would need a license and registration.

So, the OP is proposing the abolition of all gun control laws, except for requiring a license to operate a gun while on public lands?

That’s only in public. I can keep a hundred high powered sports cars in my garage with no license, registration, insurance, anything, so long as I don’t drive on public roads.

OK, so for guns you would say that you’d need all those things just to own them in the first place.

That voids the “that’s the way we do it for cars” argument though. Now you’re back to treating the two items differently again.

That’s nitpicking though. The regulations should seek to cover the normal scope of usage of an item. A gun at home for self-defence purposes is the equivalent of a car on the road.
There are legal restrictions on the installation of gas boilers and electrical wiring in private houses because that is where they are normally used.
But anyway, even if such regulations were imposed only on firearms that were taken off the premises then that’d be a good thing.

The first problem is that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right and as such is protected from state interference by the 14th amendment. You either have to change the second or fourteenth amendment to allow states to regulate gun ownership however they want.
Secondly, what evidence is there that licensing will stop mass shootings? Driver’s licensing has not stopped people from being run over.
Thirdly, what do you mean overthrowing the Trump-Pence regime? Are you advocating a coup or revolution?
Fourthly, all states require teachers to be registered and licensed, if they can not be trusted with firearms, then how can we expect licensing gun owners to make people safer?

No, a gun at home is the equivalent of a car at home. That is, it may be a danger to people in the home, but it is not a danger to the public at large. A gun outside the home is a closer fit to a car on the road.

Exactly right: we need to repeal the Second Amendment, then talk about how to properly regulate gun ownership and use.

Bullets aren’t as easily restricted by property boundaries as cars are they?

Do you agree that some items/devices/tools/systems can be regulated even when they do not venture outside the home?

What about licensing, insurance, taxes, inspections etc for any weapons that are destined to travel outside the home?

These are not similar at all. A driver’s license that is valid in one state is honored in all 50 states. You can have a valid Maine license and can travel to Hawaii and be permitted to drive. If you intend to become a permanent resident of another state, though, you will have to obtain a driver’s license from your new state of residence.

**Resolved: My gun-safety plan is smarter than Trump’s

Not resolved. We already have this today.

We actually would benefit if the fed came up with a guideline for uniform acceptance of concealed carry permits. Each state that adheres to that guideline would automatically accept every other state that adheres to the guideline.

Unfortunately, the way we regulate cars isn’t nearly strong enough for how I wish we would regulate firearms.

In most states, you get a driver’s license by passing a written test and a practical test exactly once, when you are sixteen. You are allowed to make several mistakes and still pass the test. You can instantly forget everything you learned while studying for the test. You will likely never be tested again.

If you really wanted safe drivers on the highway, you’d have a written test that was fiendishly difficult to pass without having thorough knowledge of the rules of the road. Like, the passing score would be 90%. If you get 88% you fail and maybe try again next month. And there would be a practical exam. They put you in a simulator and see how you do. Can’t control a skid? You fail. Don’t stop at a crosswalk? You fail. Hit another car? You fail. Come back next month and try again. And you’d have to pass both tests again every five years when you renew your license.

The test should be hard enough that very few people pass it on the first try, and lots of people never pass it at all. But we have this awful idea that every single adult should be allowed to drive a car, so we make it really really easy to get a license and keep one forever.

Oregon is harder than most states but it’s still way to easy, IMHO. When I moved here ten years ago, they had me take the written test. People warned me that I would likely fail the first time. I thought it was easy. I spent maybe six hours studying, passed it on the first try. There was no practical test. I have had a driver’s license in eight states. Oregon was the only state which even bothered giving me a written test after the age of 16. Most just said “Oh, you have a valid license already, that’s good enough. Here ya go” and handed me a new license. When I renewed my Oregon license, all they did was give me a really easy eye exam.

Imagine a world where, on your sixteenth birthday, you go to the ATF office and take a test for your gun license. It’s so easy that almost everyone passes. A small fraction of people need more than one try to pass the test. Safety classes are optional. You pass the test once and then never have to take it again for the rest of your life. Maybe, just MAYBE, they make you pass an eye exam every ten years or so. Very rarely does anyone have their license taken away for doing anything stupid or irresponsible. You can fire your weapon at the moon, the bullet missing an apartment building by mere inches, and the cops let you off with a warning. If you actually kill somebody, they take away your gun license, but only temporarily. You get it back after you are released from prison and finish your parole. And you have to “register” your gun, which means you fill out some paperwork showing the serial number and identifying who you are. There is no safety inspection. If you buy an unlicensed gun and carry it while your license is revoked, you probably won’t get caught for YEARS. That’s what the world would be like if we treated guns the way we treat cars. Does this sound good to you?

Maybe should treat guns the way we treat airplanes.