Monday, September 1, 2008

One gun a month, my two cents.

With gun legislation, there are several driving forces behind the laws. Some laws can be rightfully considered aimed at banning guns, or making them otherwise unavailable to the people. California's microstamping law may turn out to be like this, making certain firearms prohibitively expensive.

Other legislation is more cunning, making it a little more difficult to become a gun owner, to buy a "fun gun" for example, it is my belief that the focus on bayonets is a law like this, as I have said before.

But there's also legislation that truly has been thought of -at least in part- to help tackle gun crime. While there's always the "slippery slope" argument, some proposed laws do envision criminal or otherwise questionable activity. I'd like to talk about "gun rationing" laws in that regard.

Ostensibly, the law is supposed to curb gun trafficking, disallowing criminals from buying a large amount of guns (more than one per month) for resale to people who cannot (or rather not) buy their guns from a licensed dealer. By only allowing one gun a month to be purchased, proponents of such legislation hope to decrease the amount of guns that end up on the black market. This of course depends entirely on the idea that an unlicensed gun dealer sells significantly large amounts of guns (or at least more than one per month) and isn't capable of finding somebody else to purchase more guns legally.

It's not the effectiveness that entertains me, it is the manner in which gun control proponents seek to tackle the problem as a whole. They choose to prevent criminals from buying multiple weapons legally, cutting the problem off at the root. This also prevents some honest from buying that .22 when they figure out that a .357 wasn't a good choice for their first handgun, or prevents some people from buying a "his and hers" set in the same month, but the idea is that this generally only affects the criminal element and some "legislative flyers*" are acceptable.

While I personally doubt the actual "need" for a law like this, such legislation has been introduced in a lot of places. I'd like to propose a revision:
Why don't you limit the amount of private sales per month? If Joe Citizen wants to buy an S&W collectors set consisting of 5 wheel guns, why not let him? Don't prevent him from spending money and keeping some local merchant in business, but force him to keep those handguns in his possession for some time. Prohibit selling off bulk purchases. If you limit the amount of private sales to one per month, but still allow sale through FFL's then:

  1. Criminals can't legally dump more than one handgun per month on the street.
  2. Citizens can still legally buy guns at will.
  3. The "guns show loophole" disappears almost entirely
  4. Sale through licensed dealers is encouraged.

There'd need to be some control mechanism of course, a mandatory checkup by an FFL for example, as to not burden the police with yet another gun law to enforce. He/she'd take note that you still posses the guns that bought in an under one month period.

Again, I'm not arguing that we need rationing laws to begin with, I'm just saying that if you're going to introduce them out of the intention to stop criminals, do so in a manner that doesn't harm the law abiding.

*I henceforth lay claim to this term.

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