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The newest wave of school shootings has caused an increased momentum within the public to seek new gun control measures. The measures must be tempered with consideration for both sides. The gun rights lobby wishes to preserve the fundamental right to keep and own firearms for whatever reasons they deem fit. Within reason, we must consider that cars are more responsible for needless loss of human life than firearms, yet we allow people to own cars that exceed the practical needs of modern driving. With cars able to exceed 200 miles per hour, this seems frivolous given that the top speed on most highways is 70-80 miles per hour. Yet we do not impede on the owners right to choose which car he enjoys driving.
On the side of gun control advocates we must also remember that those same cars are so vital to the growth of our economy and such a huge facet of our daily lives; yet these cars, and our licenses to own them, are regulated by states to ensure that only qualified people own and can operate them. It is with both of these issues in mind, that I have written a brief outline for a gun control bill that would treat guns like cars. Regulations and registration of ownership, yet un-infringed access to any type of weapon someone may choose.
The solution is to create a new agency, which I have called the Department of Personal Firearm Management. This agency will act as a federal DMV for firearms. Weapons will be registered to owners and there will also be licensing for owners to prove the proficiency and ability to safely handle a weapon. Licensing will be divided into various firearms license endorsements to describe the type of weapon that may be owned. I will describe my endorsement system a little later, first let me describe the steps to obtaining a license in general.
In order to qualify for a firearms license you must pass a background check, obtain a letter of certification from a psychologist authorized by the Department of Personal Firearm Management to verify the mental health of a firearms applicant, proof of an approved firearms training and handling course, a passport photo taken within 3 months of application date, and a local law enforcement “Safe Home Certification” documentation, along with appropriate fees. The “Safe Home Certification” will be an in home inspection of a firearms license applicants primary residence to prove that the owners have a safe place to keep their weapons and ammunition that is not accessible to other unauthorized residents.
Fees for these requirements will be limited by a maximum fee schedule. Class D endorsements and above will be assumed to be concealed weapon permit holders.
The general population will have assurance of knowing that those that choose to have a gun are mentally sound enough to own one, they have their weapons properly secure from children and other household residents, and that the weapons are registered and traceable so irresponsible owners can be found and held accountable.
The Department of Personal Firearm Management database should be accessible to all law enforcement agencies and should allow special access for students and other professional who seek to research firearm statistics. The new agency will also limit people from owning more than 5 long guns and 5 hand guns per licensed owner. The law will also require that no state may limit licensed residents from owning at least one hand gun (Class D+) and one long gun. The states may choose to limit the amount of guns to be owned per individual as long as they are within the 1-5 parameters.
The Endorsements I Propose Are As Follows:
Minimum Previous License Endorsement and Minimum Years with Previous Endorsement;
and Type of Weapons That May be Held.
Class F Endorsement (Learners Permit),
Class E Endorsement (Hunters License),
Class D Endorsement (General License),
Class C Endorsement (Assault Weapon Qualified),
Class B Endorsement (Automatic Weapons Qualified),
Class A Endorsement (Firearms Expert),
While the endorsements from Class C-A may seem as if the weapons in those options are overly dangerous, they require greater commitment to own under this system. We can adjust the psychological exams, the firearms certification courses, and the safe home requirements to ensure that those that wish to own these guns are doing so for the right reasons. Many would be discouraged by the extra effort, but importantly their rights to own the weapons would not be infringed upon.
I believe bi-partisan effort is crucial to creating a safer world with firearms in it. We may never be able to stop the violence completely, but with these proposed changes we can track what went wrong and make efforts to fix it while not denying others their right to own a weapon.
Author: Jose J. Ortiz, Jr.
For a copy of my brief proposal, please contact me at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jose-ortiz/58/b3b/204/.