In light of tragic murders, the debate on Gun Control is once again being forcefully put before the public. The gun culture is so ingrained in our national consciousness and so emotionally charged on both sides of the issue, that it took a Frenchman to write a decent synopsis with some logical conclusions. “Both sides are wrong on the gun debate. Here is why. ” was written by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry in June 2014.
Gobry’s article is by far the best, non-partisan synopsis of the issue I have run across. The main focus is a comparison of gun ownership in Switzerland and in the United States. Why do both countries, with fully armed populations, have such disparate experiences with mass shootings? His conclusions focus around training. Taking my cue from Pascal’s insights, I have an idea.
Up front, let me state that I am a gun owner. I have served as a Military Policeman and as a Department of Defense Security Guard and have enjoyed recreational shooting for almost 50 years. I believe in the constitutional right to bear arms and that armed citizens have, and do, stop bad guys. However, even as a gun rights advocate, I have to admit that a semi-automatic, center fire weapon with a high capacity magazine is a lot of fire power to place in the hands of a crazy person intent on doing harm. It is a difficult dilemma with no easy solution.
As a trained individual I feel a responsibility to carry concealed and I do so, safely, legally, and only in appropriate situations. Carrying concealed when traveling between states however, is cumbersome due to different states laws, and in some cases, even from county to county. I would like to see some changes that would make traveling with a gun easier and I would be willing to agree to more training, tighter background checks and tighter control of high capacity weapons in order lessen the confusion. Let me suggest a couple of things.
First: The United States needs to issue a national concealed carry permit. Such a permit would allow an American Citizen to carry concealed in any of the 50 states and the US territories. Qualification would include prior police training or the completion of a rather comprehensive course of instruction as well as a proficiency test showing familiarization and competency. Refresher courses could be completed every six years as necessary, with background checks reviewed every two years.
Second: This same permit would be needed to own and carry high capacity (9 or more rounds), center-fire magazines and the weapons which use them. In essence, the concealed permit would become an Advanced Weapons Permit (A.W.P.)
Third: The government has a natural conflict of interest and can neither be trusted nor allowed to administer such a proposal. A civilian organization would need to be contracted, in coordination with governmental agencies, in implementing and administering the AWP. I would suggest the NRA. Their responsibility would be to oversee the training, testing, coordinating background checks and in setting fees such that the second amendment right to apply for and be granted an AWP is not infringed.
Local law enforcement could provide suitable storage for high capacity weapons when a permit is temporarily lost.
I imagine that emotionally charged proponents on both sides of the gun control debate are upset with me at this point. That would simply mean the proposal is a good one looking to the interests of all citizens. The anticipated results, over time, I imagine to include:
- A better trained and armed citizenry
- Fewer high capacity, center fire weapons
- A less restricted and more effective concealed carry
- Fewer “gun free” zones for permit holders
- Fewer and less tragic mass murders
Ideally, all citizens of the United States would show brotherly love and charity toward each other. Bigotry, hate, envy and mental illness would not exist. The Federal Government would always take the best welfare of the citizens to heart and we could fully trust them to grant us full freedoms in perpetuity. Ideally, all people everywhere would never intentionally harm another person. In reality though, we live in a fallen world where people are not always altruistic and evil acts occur. In an imperfect world, this imperfect answer is the best we can hope to achieve.
Samuel Waen Jensen