It is also true that a great many Americans own weapons and keep and use them responsibly. We have a strong traditions of gun ownership and guns are tightly intertwined with our history, our politics, our entertainment, our mythology, and in many cases, our sense of self.
This combination had made ending gun violence very difficult in America. But I wonder if we can find some common ground and move towards a solution. Ideally we should all seek a system that preserve our traditions and allows for continued gun ownership while keeping these uniquely lethal capabilities out of the hands of criminals and psychopaths.
My proposal goes like this:
- Existing regulation regarding the purchase of firearms is left unchanged. No additional restrictions are added on who can purchase guns or what people can do with the weapons they already own.
- A federal law would make it illegal to sell any firearm ammunition to individuals for private use.
- During phase 1, there would be no new restrictions on ammunition people already own or purchase before the law goes into effect.
- Licensed gun ranges, gun clubs, and similar operations would be authorized to purchase and sell ammunition in most any type and volume.
- All of this ammunition would have to remain on and be used on the premises.
- These gun clubs would be given a very wide latitude in terms of the their scope, size, and the variety of tactical, recreational, and sport opportunities they offer.
- Whenever a valid hunting license is purchased, the individual would also be able to purchase a small quantity of ammunition appropriate the weapons they will be hunting with and the game being hunted.
- After 10 years, phase 2 would go into effect. At this point private ownership of firearm ammunition would no longer be legal.
- The penalty for owning ammunition would be minor - more like a speeding ticket than a jail sentence.
The goal with this proposal would be to immediately limit access to lethal capacity to new gun purchasers. People could keep their guns and get new ones. But, over time, the intent is to move the capacity to use them as lethal weapons out of peoples homes, out of the hands of criminals, and into more controlled settings. This would preserve the use of guns for hunting, sport, and recreation. It would also bring about a fundamental shift in the unrestricted availability of deadly force and end much of the tragedy that comes with it.