Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gun control

I read an interesting article yesterday at the Time mag website, "3 Approaches to Curbing Gun Violence — Using Economics". I like the middle proposal, "Require Gun Owners to Purchase Liability Insurance":
[An] idea is to have the government treat guns much like it does cars: Require owners to purchase liability insurance. Such an idea was proposed in Illinois in 2009 but never passed into law. The first step to requiring this type of insurance would be to set up national or state-by-state gun registries and licensing mechanisms -- a step Second Amendment absolutists oppose because they believe such measures would compromise their Constitutional rights. This step alone, were it to gain enough support, would probably do a lot to curb gun violence, as any gun in the country could be tracked by law enforcement to the person who should be responsible for it. But the next step of requiring gun owners to purchase liability insurance would create the incentive for insurers to determine which individuals are fit for gun ownership. It would also incentivize those insurers to require gun owners to store their property in a safe way, and to take other steps like undergoing gun safety training.
Perhaps the courts don't agree, (yet), but the part about "well regulated militia" in the Second Amendment, it seems to me, can reasonably be interpreted as authorizing the registration/liability proposal. This is  not going as far as some who would have it that this phrase in today's context means only law enforcement and the military, including the National Guard, have a constitutional right to bear arms. The registration/liability proposal, in my opinion, does not infringe a right to "well regulated", meaning responsible, gun ownership for the purposes of home protection and sport or even for effective deterrence of potential government tyranny. I am not on the bench, I am not even a lawyer, but I believe the Constitution was written not for judges and lawyers but TO judges and lawyers as the demands of "We the People" and this is my citizen's say in the matter.

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