The recent shootings at El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, are extremely disturbing to me, particularly since I have written so many letters explaining simple effective gun control measures that should be acceptable by most gun owners.
I am no “namby pamby” liberal progressive gun control advocate. Instead, I am a retired Army combat veteran with a Federal Firearm license and a gun collection, and I am also an amateur gun smith. So I know guns.
The bottom line of this letter is that all gun owners should be licensed as explained in a letter I wrote to our Senators in 2013. I received no response to the attached letter from any of our representatives.
It seems like gun control is the “third rail” of politics and will never happen. So we will keep having gun tragedies.
For your information, the gun reportedly used in the El Paso shooting was a Kalashnikov. During the last assault rifle import ban our U.S. market was flooded with cheap new Hungarian Kalashnikov hunting rifles.
All you have to do is install a $10 pistol grip and a 30 round magazine on the Kalashnikov “hunting rifle” and magically you have a semiautomatic AK 47, (less the bayonet stub removed for esthetics).
It can be very difficult to distinguish between semiautomatic hunting rifles and military assault rifles.
So gun control is clearly not the answer to our mass shooting problem. There are far more guns in circulation than could ever be controlled, licensed, or collected. The only U.S. solution is licensing of people who have guns as explained in my 2013 letter (printed below) to Senators Warner and Kaine. I have my licenses and I only wish everyone else I see with a gun possessed a license.
I share the national outrage over the Newtown shooting tragedy and similar incidents in recent years. However, I fear the national outrage may lead to hasty new and largely ineffective gun control laws.
As an avid gun collector with a Federal Firearms License (FFL), an FFA pilot’s license, and a U. S. passport I can suggest a reasonable system of Federal gun control rules and procedures that should satisfy most gun control critics and a lot of gun owners.
The Federal government currently has procedures in place on which to model a new and effective gun control system without excessive additional costs and that protects the rights of all citizens and gun owners. I will provide some background information before describing a new gun control system based on existing Federal programs and procedures.
The ATF currently issues a “Collector of Curios and Relics (CCR)” Federal firearms license to any citizen of age who completes a thorough application, is finger printed, undergoes both local and national background checks and with no objection of the local Sheriff or police chief. With this FFL, certain old guns on an approved list can be purchased locally, by mail or internet order without any additional paper work or background checks. Many of these old guns have quite modern uses could be considered “assault weapons.”
As an FFA licensed pilot I enjoy the freedom of getting in my airplane and flying just about any place without filing a flight plan, without talking to air traffic control, and without being checked by anyone before takeoff. This privilege is enjoyed by all licensed pilots and any small plane could be loaded with explosive materials and flown into a football stadium or other target if desired. What prevents things like this from happening are the FFA’s stringent but reasonable procedures for pilot training and licensing, tightened after 9/11, which can be used as a model for better gun control.
For example, there is an FFA system of privately employed and paid flight instructors who have sole discretion on providing flight instruction and certifications. If a person fails to display an acceptable attitude or abilities for flying an airplane the instructor can simply refuse instruction or to sign a pilot’s logbook. After completion of pilot training and upon the recommendation of the local flight instructor, certification by a local FAA examiner and then approval by the FAA headquarters in Oklahoma City are required to get a pilot’s license. These procedures do a great job of keeping nuts from flying airplanes into football stadiums.
Consider also the paperwork and procedures required to obtain a U. S. Passport, which most people do not consider overly burdensome.
I suggest drawing from existing ATF, FAA and passport procedures to create a new system for gun control in the U. S.. There should be at least two levels of Federal firearm licensing, a new system for individual gun owners and the existing system for gun dealers which should remain largely unchanged. A new law for gun owners should include the following provisions.
1) It should be prohibited to buy, sell, possess, carry, transport, or use any firearm without an individual Federal Firearms license issued by the ATF. The only exception should be currently owned firearms which may continue to be kept and used only on private property currently owned or rented by individuals as a grandfathered right. Carrying a grandfathered firearm off the gun owner’s property would require the new Federal Firearms license or a one time special local permit. Therefore, people who currently have guns in their homes would not have to get the new license unless they regularly take a gun off their own property.
2) An individual with a Federal Firearms License may transport firearms across all local and state boundaries and may carry a concealed firearm in any state or locality in accordance with Federal rules and procedures which may not be infringed by state or local governments. This would remove the numerous existing differences in state and local rules for concealed carry which are impossible to comprehend and comply with when traveling cross country.
3) The ATF will administer the Federal Firearms Licensing system which will include the following procedures:
a. Before submitting an application for a Federal Firearms License, an individual must obtain a certificate of competency from an ATF approved firearms instructor. The certificate of competency will be provided solely at the discretion of the firearms instructor. The instructor must determine the applicant’s ability to understand and meet certain ATF and legal requirements based on appropriate training, demonstrations, or previous experience such as military, civilian or police training. A certificate of competency may be denied at the discretion of the instructor for inappropriate behavior or inability to demonstrate reasonable proficiency with basic hand guns and long arms.
b. An application for a Federal Firearms License similar to the current CCR application with the certificate of competency will be taken to an individual’s local police or Sheriff’s department which will conduct a local files check, make finger prints, collect a DNA sample, and approve the application if no disqualifying factors are discovered. A local Sheriff or police chief may recommend disapproval of a firearm license application for any legitimate reason and the ATF will make the final determination which will be appealable both administratively and through the court system.
c. After approval by the local police, the firearm license application including a passport type photograph will then be sent to the ATF which will process the application in accordance with current procedures for CCR licenses and issue the license as a secure photo ID card. The individual FFL should be renewable every five years.
It should be understood that one of the big deficiencies with current gun control is that rules, laws, restrictions, requirements, etc. vary from state to state and city to city which are next to impossible to meet when traveling cross country with a firearm. Uniform Federal standards are needed for the transportation and carrying of firearms nationwide.
Collecting and using DNA samples are now common for numerous reasons and have become routine parts of modern life. DNA samples are now collected from all military personnel as a last resort for identifying bodies if necessary. Having DNA samples on file from all gun owners could solve or deter many crimes.
The above licensing procedures would protect all citizens from irresponsible gun owners, would protect the rights of responsible gun owners to keep and bear arms, and would help the gun industry to prosper in an environment of maximum safety. A period of one year should be provided for all individual gun owners to comply with the new Federal licensing requirements after the government system is in place.
Banning “assault weapons” or high capacity magazines will not solve anything and is only a political knee jerk reaction to quickly respond to public outrage. There are too many different types of deadly firearms in circulation to attempt a ban on only certain guns. Fleshing out the licensing procedures described above would limit the use of any kind of firearm mostly to people who have demonstrated a reasonable degree of responsibility for their use. I hope that for once politicians will take a reasoned approach to solving a firearm problem that has vexed our nation for many years.