Gun Control is on the table of public opinion again. There are design and regulatory options available to reduce the killing power of firearms available to the public. Responsible gun control will, I believe, be crafted from the options below. In my opinion, laws consistent with the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution could be enacted which:
1. Every firearm needs to be registered. The registration process must involve, at a minimum, criminal, restraining orders, substance abuse and mental health records. Gun safety and handling courses should be mandatory. Every sale must involve registration or a registration transfer. The Gun-Show and Private Sale loophole will have to be closed and all unregistered guns will have to be documented. All firearm transfers (sales and gifts) should go through a licensed firearms dealer with background check. (Similar to Transferring a Car) There must be a record of every change of ownership.
a) Every firearm must bear a legible serial number and be registered in federal database to someone.
b) Owner must notify a dealer and report any lost or stolen firearms.
2. Limit magazine capacity and perhaps require design features with reduced reloading speed. I like the Larry Simoneaux’s suggestion that weapons should be limited to fixed magazines with capacities under ten rounds. http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20121231/OPINION04/712319995/-1/OPINION04
3. Limit speed of semi-automatic fire.
4. Limit types of rounds (e.g. no hollow-point or Teflon coating). Loads designed to penetrate bullet-proof vests or glass should be illegal.
5. Impose an annual tax on possession of firearms. Firearms have a social cost ranging from injuries and bullet-proof vests for law enforcement officers to registration and regulation expenses. An annual tax on the possession of firearms will allow gun owners to contribute to the cost of their choices. The tax could be a graduated tax such as $5.00 per caliber per year.
6. Require that firearms be stored or transported only with a locking trigger guard or in a locked gun cabinet.
7. Implement an automatic firearm alert system through electronic identification. All Firearms would be required to have a permanent Tracking Chip. The Firearm Tracking Chip (FATC) would be designed to be detected by FATC Detectors (FATCD). FATCDs could be installed in schools, stores and private homes for that matter. The FATCs would have to be built into a sensitive part of the firearm so they could not be disabled without disabling the firearm: a problematic but not impossible engineering issue.
8. All firearms must be registered with annual renewals. Registration and renewals will trigger a review of appropriate databases to confirm eligibility.
As long as the 2nd Amendment is interpreted as granting a right to citizens to possess firearms, there will be gun fatalities. But there are ways to keep guns out of the hands of children, people with a history of crime or domestic violence and those with a mental and/or emotional disease or disability. There are also technological avenues to limit the amount of damage done by someone intent on mass murder.
The death rate for gun related deaths in US was 1 in 10,000. In the UK it was only 4 in 10,000,000. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate
The text of the 2nd Amendment allows for regulation of firearms. We tightly regulate motor vehicles, drugs and natural gas distribution in the name of public safety. Social vulnerability to assault weapons justifies a more thorough regulatory system for firearms.