Following the horrible Orlando mass shooting, I had the possibility to talk with a few Americans about gun control. Here are my thoughts about it:
You are not defending anything.
Having firearms makes you your own property defender as much as buying a sports car makes you a professional driver. Specific training is required to be able to use your weapon in a risky situation. In modern western countries your defense and criminality suppression is a responsibility of police and army (that’s what you pay taxes for them). The “defense” argument is bullshit in every populated area in US.
Three reasons are left for possessing a weapon besides defense:
- usage for fun;
None of them require a functional automatic weapon. They should just get entirely banned for civilian usage. Also semi-automatic weapon must get limited to a low number of shots. If you need ten shots to take down your prey, either you are hunting whales or you better spend some more time at the shooting range.
Weapons must be stored safely.
If you get to have one or more firearm, you must store them in a secure place, with ammunition in another place. In my country firearms must be kept in a wall-mounted safe. There are safes with a transparent front that can be used if you like your firearms to be visible. Weapons must be unloaded, and ammunition must be stored in a different place. Benefits are easy to guess: no more children finding weapons and playing with them, much less domestic rage kills: the five minutes you need to open a safe, get your weapon, get ammunition, load it and get back to your formerly loved one are plenty of time to realize you are doing the stupidest possible thing - nonetheless allowing the to-be-victim to try to run.
No weapons in public.
Every place that is not a firing range or a hunting zone must be a no firearm zone. When transporting weapons in a car, they must be enclosed, unloaded, and unreachable by any of the passengers. Benefits: easier to spot potential threats, quicker response. It works like that where I come from.
Less weapons per capita mean smaller black market.
Controlling firearms does not enlarge black market, but rather shrinks it. Firearms are not like marijuana: you cannot grow it yourself and sell to (ab)users, they require an industry to build them. For a black market, this means that these guns must get stolen before getting resold. The less weapons around, the harder to steal them. The less weapons on black market, the higher the prices. The higher the prices, the harder it is to get a weapon illegally.
Look beyond your borders.
One of the best ways to improve a country is to look at countries where something works better, and figure out how a similar legislation may work locally. For the “works better” part, I suggest this metric:
Pick any of the red lines there (one’s my country, I don’t know which one), and look how they achieve that result. Then reason if maybe there’s a way to adapt the rule set to the specific US needs. I see no reason why US should have more assault deaths per capita than any other OECD Country.