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Reasonable Gun Laws

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Between Sandy Hook and the Orlando Night Club Massacre there have been about 1,000 of these incidents, and for the most part your State and Federal Representatives have been oblivious to the dangers posed by assault weapons. Perhaps they have been more interested in the money available from the NRA and affiliates for their local election campaigns. So let's face if folks, if any laws are going to be proposed to help provide protection, we will have to do it.

The first objection to any restrictive law is that guns don't slaughter people, people do. For the most part, that is true, but no more true than cars don't kill people, people do. For cars we provide protection. So why not guns? The first objection is just plain silly. Try driving on any side of a two way road no matter what direction you travel and how far you travel with oncoming traffic and no rules.

The next objection is that the second amendment guarantees the right to own a gun. Without going into the legal arguments, the Second Amendment doesn't guarantee free gun or free ammunition, or the right to buy either without paying taxes.

The primary duty of society is to protect its members. So we try to protect society from those who pose a danger to themselves or others or who may be too young to yet fully know the nature and results of their activity. We require a certain amount of maturity, skill and physical ability to drive a car. We protect ourselves from those who have proved to be dangerous to themselves or others. This is the basic reasons for forming a society, a reason for the existence of the family.

Omar Mateen's massacre of 49 or more people in Orlando, Florida was certainly terrible, but far from the worst massacre in United States history. The nineteenth century found worse, such as the Mountain Meadows Massacre of September 11, 1857 when 130 men, women and children members of a wagon train were killed by Mormons, or the Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890, where the U.S. Army could claim it had killed more than 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota tribe, and some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Then there was the more modern demonstration of what assault weapons could do when the U.S. Army killed between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968 in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. And the recent loses do not compare with the Native American Genocide over the last five plus centuries at the hands of the Europeans. But today's massacre clearly points out what one person can do with a modern assault weapon.

We have the history to discourage these acts. The National Firearms Act (NFA), was enacted on June 26, 1934, to control the use of sub machine guns and related firearms and accessories. To begin with this can be amended to make sure it covers assault weapons. For civilian possession, all assault weapons must, like machineguns, be manufactured and registered with the ATF. Th 1934 act required them to be registered and taxed. The $200 tax was quite prohibitive at the time (equivalent to $3,538 in 2015). So raising the tax today to $3,500 would be reasonable and cover the costs for a thorough background check. Owning these weapons was not outlawed, but was effectively discouraged at the time by the costs. Currently the act requires a possessor who lawfully makes, manufactures, or imports firearms to register them, while not applying to felons because of a self-incrimination ruling in Haynes v. United States, 390 U.S. 85 (1968). Meanwhile Congress can deal with the dangers posed by those with recently known backgrounds of being a danger to themselves or others and any restrictions of their use and possession og guns. There is the added costs of the danger these weapons pose to innocent bystanders. Therefore a certificate of insurance, like car insurance, should also be required and we would suggest a one million dollar all risk of loss limit for each injury (not incident) caused to third parties by the use or maintenance of all such weapons. All this could be coupled with the repeal the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). This law gives gun and ammunition manufacturers blanket immunity.

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AB 1959 and JD 1963, University of Missouri, Columbia. 50 years active member of Washington State Bar Association, mostly civil and commercial office, trial and appellate practice and Superior Court Arbitrator for about 40 years or so, since the (more...)
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