When it comes to the right to bear arms, society has already accepted a huge number of “reasonable” restrictions. The range of allowable weaponry is fairly limited. As far as I know, I can’t freely buy a working bazooka, or a howitzer, or a grenade, or a mortar. In the interests of self-defense, I can’t place landmines and a rocket launcher in my yard. I don’t know anyone who owns a tank, or has a 50-calibre machine-gun mounted on their SUV. We have all kinds of restrictions on the right to bear arms, and we accept them. Just as we don’t allow people to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and consider that a reasonable restriction on free speech.
People could argue that these restrictions infringe on the “right to bear arms.” Yet nobody does. We’ve ruled out anything larger than an assault rifle, and anything that is fully automatic. This is where we’ve drawn the line, and society seems okay with that. Even the most rabid gun enthusiasts.
So as I think about drawing the line tighter, I see few options. I’m pretty happy with where things stand now. Banning all semi-auto weapons would affect most handguns and a large number of rifles of all calibers, right down to the common .22LR. Limit magazine size? That is talked about. Tax the heck out of certain ammo? The stuff is already very expensive. With some ammo, every trigger pull is a dollar spent.
So in the interests of “reasonable” gun control, what else can we do?
Training? In Indiana, it’s easier to get a Bushmaster than a driver’s license. We require no class or testing, as some states do. Background checks? They appear rather solidly in place, though I’m sure there are flaws in the system, things to tighten.
We’ll never get to the point of confiscating guns–not in America, with 300 million guns already out there–and I wouldn’t support that. But there must be further things that could be done. Any ideas?