There’s a lot of talk about common-sense gun laws out there, and it’s been a long time since I sat down and thought out ways we could rethink our current laws to make them better for us, but that also reflect the strong political reality that we’re going to end up living with some controls on firearms. Here I’m not speaking of compromising with the gun control crowd, but to try to get to more “common sense” as in real common sense that would be acceptable to the American people and also the subset of us that are into firearms. First we would have to start with where public opinion currently is:
- Strong majorities favor background checks as a concept. I don’t think they get all the ins and outs of the issue, but the idea polls well.
- Strong majorities favor banning crazy people, violent felons and probably even some violent misdemeanants from possessing firearms.
- Strong majorities favor giving law enforcement tools to enforce the above.
This is the wall we are up against. This is what decides how far this issue can go. Public opinion has moved a lot in the past few decades, and we’re definitely in a better position than we were in 1968. So we know the public’s primary creeds. What do ours look like? I’d argue it boils down to this:
- Banning rifles, pistols and shotguns, semi-automatic or not, or a subset thereof, is non-negotiable. I think that’s branded into DNA at this point.
- Registration, or any scheme that represents de-facto registration is non-negotiable. This is the primary reason we oppose laws that only allow FFLs to conduct firearms transfers. A lot of folks don’t understand that we already have partial de-facto registration, and how this would make it complete. It’s a tough issue to make people understand.
- The right to keep arms is also the right to carry arms. This is essentially the concealed carry movement, and now the constitutional carry movement.
- We strive for uniformity in gun laws across jurisdictions so they are easy to follow and understand. This started with the movement in the 1980s to pass state-level preemption. National Concealed Carry is also part of this uniformity movement.
Given that, what are could our gun laws look like if we renegotiated them today? If there were to be a FOPA II, what would it look like? What would be the key features? Are by base premises about right, or way off?