Would the NRA accept a licensing requirement requiring high levels of gun expertise?

Moving thread from IMHO to Great Debates.

Virginia has a competency requirement for concealed carry permits. It turns out it is pretty much a cash cow for local range owners, such as the NRA. The course and test are regulated, but the actual classes are not really very closely monitored. In addition, other proof of competence is acceptable, in my case a copy teste of a thirty five year old DD form 214. Ownership and open carry are not so restricted, in Virginia.


As others have said, it is a solution in search of a problem. If you are truly concerned about safety, and this really isn’t a back door attempt to make gun ownership a PITA so that fewer people will do it, then we need to start with training classes for a whole bunch of other things first: Chainsaws, lawn mowers, weed eaters, stoves, ovens, and other devices.

What about cars? My grandmother is 90 and still has her valid driver’s license by virtue of the driving test that she passed in 1937. She hasn’t driven a vehicle in more than thirty years. Does that show competency, and is she prepared to operate the most dangerous tool in society?

I totally agree. The problem is that many people harbor a lot of hostility towards gun owners / gun ownership. So there is a huge danger that any kind of requirement - no matter how mild - will be used as a vehicle to deny people their rights.

Even in situations where the licensing authority is supposed to have no discretion whatsoever, I have seen abuses take place.

As ‘someone you know’ has been defined for those particular statistics, it includes competing drug dealers and rival gang members. It’s designed to evoke the ‘friends and family’ response, but the reality is far different. It’s more like Bloods killing Crips.

Only if that person is going to drive it on a public street. I can let a ten year old drive my car on my own property all day long, and there’s nothing illegal about it.

And that is why shall-issue is preferable. It’s not going to eliminate abuse, but what the OP proposes would create a system rife with it.

Just because - Gun Comic

While I don’t attribute any nefarious motives to the OP, and personally think that on a purely theoretical level it’s not necessarily a bad idea, I have to say that Door’s answer stands for me, as well.

I’ve been at the mercy of too many petty bureaucrats for simple, universal stuff like driver’s licenses and yard sale permits to want to entrust one of my fundamental rights to “finger-in-the-wind” politicians, unelected policy wonks, bureaucratic administrators, and civil servants.

OK - I am one more for the “It sounds OK in theory, but I don’t trust the folks that would execute it” crowd.

Variations I have heard (just for fun):

  • Only the owner is tracked. If you have your safe handling permit, then you can buy as many guns and bullets as you like, and they are never tracked.

  • The permit should be as easy to get as the safety lectures you take online for soccer or the Boy Scouts (they both have online courses on child safety. They take 30-45 minutes, and you are then qualified as being trained in child safety issues).

When I have had friends tell me that they want 100% registration of firearms, just for safety purposes, I have a response: I will register, but for every single registration the government posts a $1 million bond. That money is foreitable to me if the government EVER takes away my firearm for any reason other than a felony under the CURRENT law. My friends ALWAYS respond that my request is insane, and that it would bankrupt the government. This, of course, then proves that the registration system is for eventual control and confinscation.

I WISH we could put something in place where, with a little ID card, I would get BACK the rights that have been taken away (I live in California). However, I just do not see that happening.

I agree 100% with this statement, except for the part about the ID card.

Waaaaait… This is actually a formally stated position? I’ve seen various people on this board make that argument, but I just thought they were, y’know, utterly paranoid?


Like I said, just my understanding of their position. I don’t think I’ve actually read an NRA pamphlet or anything outlining that argument. I can confirm that it is held by actual serious people out in meatspace. Eugene Volokh, a well-known law professor who frequently speaks against gun control, makes this argument.

The NRA are compromising liberals. Threaten two pass two gun bills, then offer to drop one if they support the other and they’ll join wholeheartedly.

Anyway, yes - Many gun owners and activists don’t doubt that registration will be followed by confiscation. The events following Hurricane Katrina are still fresh in some of our minds, far too fresh to trust the gummit to do the right thing.

And Tank, I’m all honored ‘n’ stuff. I don’t think anyone has ever quoted me for anything but derision before. :slight_smile:

Taking your position, what other purpose could this list be used for?

I said I was stealing it. Ain’t my fault ya didn’t read the danged thread. :stuck_out_tongue:

What the holy heck did I just say? “two pass two”? I should not watch Futurama whilst typing.

Publishing permits, license to change address, formal permission to study dangerous stuff.

Just how many rights remain rights?

Why not ratchet up the enforcement of laws about shooting people? That isn’t a right.

Around here, it’s illegal to point a gun at someone. It’s even illegal to show someone your pistol if you are doing so in a manner that is likely to evoke fear. Assault is not a right.

Why isn’t it behavior we try to legislate against? Why try to control attitudes, and equipment? I happen to think shooting someone, even accidentally should be criminal. At least criminal negligence. Of course if you are the Vice President of the United States, the guy you shot should be required to apologize publicly.


What is the purpose of requiring a dog license? If you read through the “don’t you love your dog” fluff, it seems to me that the point of a dog license in Boston is so that if your dog bites someone, the powers that be use can the license to a) assign (presumption of) ownership, so they can charge you with keeping a dangerous dog and b), make sure the dog had its rabies vaccination. Not even the most paranoid pet owner has ever suggested that the point of the license is so that when the dog-haters take over, they can round up all our dogs and incinerate them.

Similarly, if a gun is used in a crime, or found in the possession of a person who is not legally entitled to own a gun (convicted felon, under a domestic restraining order, etc), don’t you think it might be at least a little helpful to know who the last owner of record was? If we agree that there are people who shouldn’t have guns, wouldn’t finding the individual who sold/gave/lent such a person a gun be desirable, considering that it’s a felony to knowingly transfer a gun to a person who is barred from having one?

Alternatively, we could partially alleviate the situation by requiring that all private transactions be reported. But I’m sure you would find that to be an unreasonable restriction as well.


Not really, no. The person who committed the crime and/or is not legally entitled to own a gun is the person to focus on, not some random person who quite probably did not knowingly or intentionally commit a crime.

An unreasonable desire to punish people who aren’t breaking the law is, in my opinion, one of the primary problems with the anti-gunners. That and an apparent wish to keep passing more laws until everyone is breaking the law.

You’ve already started down the slope.

In your own argument, you’ve stated that it is only a crime to KNOWINGLY transfer a gun to a prohibited person.

If I sell a gun in the classifieds, or in the local Pennysaver paper, when the person shows up to buy, he is a stranger. I don’t know him. He could be Christ himself or just out of prison last week.

So, since this is a “loophole” we need to outlaw private sales or report them. So this has, in your post, gone from a license to own requirement, to a regulating/outlawing private sales requirement.

That’s why gun owners hate the first step of regulation. It sounds good to a regular voter to merely have safety requirements for gun owners. Now we are talking about outlawing private transfers. The first gun law never works (as predicted by the gun owners) and serves as the argument for the NEXT gun law until it finally comes to the point where somebody says that the only solution is a total ban and confiscation…

ETA: It is a crime to transfer a gun to someone whom you KNOW is a prohibited person, not know that you transferred it…

First of all, your analogy is not only bad, it’s atrocious. No gun I’ve ever owned, shot, held, seen, or heard about has ever needed worming, or had distemper, or needed a rabies vaccination so it wouldn’t go nuts with brain fever and randomly shoot people.

I do agree that some mechanism of tracing a firearm back to its last legal owner to find out how J. Random Criminal came to be in possession of it is not (again) theoretically a bad idea. As well, reporting each tranaction and having a NICS background check on both parties is theoretically a good idea.

Again, these laws have to be enforced by people, and I’ve met waayyy too many underpaid, pissed-off civil clerks and jerk-off cops to want to trust a fundamental right to their discretion.