Monday, August 29, 2016

A Start on Solving The Gun Control Dilemma

A start on solving the gun control dilemma: 
We have a serious problem in our country with too many firearms in too many evil or irresponsible hands. Gun proliferation problems in the United States make our nation a pariah among other advanced societies, and much of the rest of the world now look upon us as a nation of gun crazies. This is really not all that far from the truth.
Our nation's gun issues are egregiously aggravated by firearms manufacturers working through the National Rifle Associate (NRA) and other gun ownership groups to block any meaningful legislation to fix our problems. Their interests seem only to be the boosting of ever more sales of firearms. These companies and groups proved to be a potent political force, all out of proportion to their numbers. They manage to make the mere suggestion of gun control legislation the 'third rail' for any politician who dares to bring the subject up. All efforts to enact gun legislation is consistently met by a ferocious all-out assault to defeat both the proposed legislation, and any politician so rash as to bring it up. There exists no effective organized opposition to the gun lobby's domination of the political process in their favor. It is an egregious example of a failure in our celebrated capitalist political and economic system.
Incredibly, even legislation that would prevent people on the terror watch list from buying guns has been blocked. Perhaps worse than that is an example of the tail wagging the dog, Republicans cut funding to the CDC (Communicable Disease Control) for even collecting statistics on gun injury and death!  It is a crying national shame.
A *national survey done by the University of Chicago and published in March, 2015 shows over 70% of Americans favor requiring a police permit for the purchase of a firearm.
 This figure has been nearly constant, ranging only 12 percentage points since 1972, with a low of 69.2% in 1980, to a high of 81.9% in 1998. The number stood at 71.7% in 2014.
In 2013 there were 33,636 deaths in the US due to firearms and 73,505 non-fatal injuries.
 In the same year, there were 32,719 deaths due to motor vehicles. Gun deaths per capita in the U.S. are 5 times that of Canada,, 3.5 times that of France, 10 times that of Germany, and over 45 times that of the United Kingdom. Something here is definitely out of whack!
Gun ownership statistics show that there are 116 guns per 100 people in the US. And while only a minority of the population actually own guns, the ones who do own an average of 8 guns each, which accounts for the guns per capita. US citizens own more guns per capita than than any other country in the world by far. We stand at number 1 with our 116 , with #2 and #3 behind us being Serbia at 75.6, then Yemen at 54.8. The world average is 10.2, or 1/12th of the US per capita rate.
One huge problem is gathering any meaningful figures, since the gun lobby not only tries to block the gathering of numbers relating to gun problems, but also actively tries to obscure those on record by disputing them, and introducing their own slanted 'studies' to hide the problems.
What if there is a quick, elegant, brilliant and easily administered way to begin solving the gun control dilemma? This method is one even diehard 'keep-the government-out-of-my-life' Republicans could embrace, and it would be at very little cost to the treasury. This method requires no government registration of firearms or any other government 'infringement' of the public's 'right to bear arms'.
The idea is dirt simple really:
Simply pass legislation requiring the gun owner to carry liability insurance on each gun owned.  This creates a privately administered system which serves several purposes:
A.  Each gun carries its own serial number which the insurance companies need to insure a particular gun. This will establish a private system whereby each gun is accounted for individually;
B.  Insurance companies would charge for each gun insured, thereby discouraging gun worshipers from owning multiple weapons due to the cost of insurance. They would retain their precious and sacred  'right to bear' arms', but would pay insurance costs for each weapon;
C.  In time the insurance companies would determine which gun models carry the most risk, and adjust their rates accordingly. This might discourage the ownership of assault weapons for example;
D.  The insurance protection would both protect the gun owner and provide recompense for death or injuries resulting from guns;
E.  Establish severe monetary and/or criminal penalties for anyone in possession of a non-insured gun, and subject uninsured guns to automatic seizure.
F.  Provide a 'grace period' of a reasonable period of time to allow current gun owners to obtain insurance for guns, or to dispose of them as they see fit. States (or the Federal government) would establish a reasonable buy-back system for surplus guns the owners elect not to insure. This will result in getting many guns out of circulation. Australia, a country much like our own, passed strong gun control legislation with a buy back program in 1996 after a mass shooting there. This has been extremely successful in bringing down the death rate from firearms in Australia.
This is a reasonable, sane and effective way to begin saving our country from the gun industry and their irrational supporters.
Statutory mandates requiring liability insurance already exist for hazardous items such as automobiles for example, and mortgage companies will not provide property financing without liability insurance on the property.  Should not the same standards be mandated for such inherently dangerous items such as a gun?
There will be a huge battle with the gun lobby for sure, but the numbers are on the side of sanity, common sense and realities. Of course this alone cannot solve all our gun proliferation problems, but it is a start. Please contact your legislators and let them know you are on board to help them solve the gun problems in our country.  We really can do no less for our children and grand children.


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