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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:24 PM

Approaching gun control from another angle [View all]

This idea came up on another DU thread. The more I think about it the more I like it. How about you?

If you want a gun, I don’t really care. I care only that I don’t run into your gun in the hands of a criminal.

The idea takes “responsible gun owners” at their word. It defines responsible gun ownership: it requires only that they guarantee their guns are not used in the commission of crimes. It also strongly encourages gun registration.

Under the idea, the rules would be as follows:

..If you register your gun, and it is lost or stolen, and you report your gun lost or stolen, and your gun is subsequently used by someone in a crime, you are not penalized in any way.

..If you register your gun, and it is lost or stolen, and you DON’T report it lost or stolen, and it is used by someone committing a crime, you get a percentage of the sentence of the person who committed the crime. Say it’s five percent: so if your gun is used in a robbery, and the robber gets 10 years in jail, you get six months in jail.

..If you DON’T register your gun but it can be traced to your ownership, and it is used in the commission of a crime, the penalty is much higher, say twenty-five percent of the criminal’s sentence. So in the example, the robber gets 10 years, the gun owner gets 2.5 years in jail.

..If YOU are the criminal and you are using an unregistered gun, whatever your sentence is, it’s increased by 25%. So instead of 10 years, you now get 12.5 years.

These gun penalties would be mandatory.

Under this plan, we would not have to legislate anything about the number of guns owned, or what they look like or how they are secured. The gun owner would have the responsibility to work out how he guarantees that his guns are not used in criminal acts. If he doesn’t guarantee that, he goes to jail.

Under this plan, he’s not likely to lose track of his gun, or put it somewhere where it could be stolen. He’s also much more likely to register his gun, because if he doesn’t register it and it gets lost or stolen, he’s gambling on a jail sentence. If he does register it and he keeps track of it, he doesn’t have to worry.

We wouldn’t have to figure out how to close the gun-show loophole, because it wouldn’t matter. Gun owners would have plenty of incentive to register their guns without some agency spending our money to track them down.

A DUer in another conversation suggested that he would just report all his guns lost or stolen. But that problem is solved if you make a law that says: if you report your gun lost or stolen, and then you use it in self-defense, you go to jail. This makes the guns that are reported lost useless to you, if you are just a regular person owning a gun for self-defense or hunting.

How about that? We’ve done mandatory sentencing before, and for a lot less than providing the means to perform a criminal act.

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