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Reducing Gun Violence

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Message Gerald Wright


Our society has an obligation to provide a safe environment for us to live, work and go to school. To allow people with guns to destroy our children, neighbors and innocents is unacceptable. One solution to the problem, I think, is to require gun owners to be licensed.

Military style weapons kill innocent people.
Military style weapons kill innocent people.
(Image by PatLoika)
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Military style weapons kill innocent people. by PatLoika

A person has to be licensed to drive a car, to be a pilot, to run a business and to participate in many other activities. Licensing will require individuals to demonstrate that they possess the knowledge and skill needed to use a weapon. It will assure society that those who want to pursue second amendment rights or to own firearms will not be injurious to others. Licensing will ensure that only those that are competent and careful will be allowed to have firearms.

Currently four states require licensing for all firearm purchasers or owners according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In most other states, licensing is not required. This is not a proposal to control guns or violate the second amendment.

We need a law that requires anyone who wants to own a firearm and those who currently own firearms to obtain a federal firearms license. A written exam will ensure applicants verify their knowledge of gun laws and gun safety. Those that cannot pass the test will not get a license. Those with a record of criminal behavior or drug violations and those with mental illnesses will not be granted a license.

Federal laws govern the hunting of migratory water foul. Those same laws provide a model for licensing of firearms. Because migrating birds fly across many states, federal rules were created to avoid a multitude of unenforceable state laws. That approach has worked for over a century. Similar laws could ensure enforcement of federal firearm licensing laws.

Hunting laws provide us examples of what could be legal and effective in reducing gun violence. Federal water foul hunting laws restrict the number of rounds allowed in a weapon to three. Also, hunting with a fully automatic weapon is prohibited. I think though, because I support the second amendment, the limited magazine requirement should not apply to individuals in their own home or on their own land.

Criminals will not apply for a firearms license because the background check will turn up their criminal activities. Also, licensing will be a deterrent because if a criminal is caught with a weapon and does not have a firearms license his weapon will be confiscated, on the spot. He will be fined and possibly put behind bars for illegal possession of a firearm. Over time, there will be a reduction in the number of firearms held by criminals as they are arrested for violations of the law.

Criminals will be further restricted from obtaining weapons by computerized tracking of serial numbers. Doing so will also make it easier to find those who are straw purchasers. Strong penalties prescribed by the licensing law will further discourage straw purchases.

License fees can be used, as hunting license fees are used to pay for hunting programs, to pay for this program. A surcharge on the purchase of weapons and ammunition will fund law enforcement programs. There will be no new taxes for those that do not own a firearm.

Under this proposal, responsible citizens will retain their guns; no one will be out collecting weapons from gun owners. Nor will it be necessary to control guns. There will be no intrusive requirements to register guns. Responsible citizens will have firearms in accordance with the second amendment.

The vast majority of us are law abiding, hard working citizens. We pay our taxes, provide for our families and vote. We live in a free, open and pluralistic society. We want to continue to do so. We want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That includes a safe, healthy and peaceful environment where we can live, go to school and work. Licensing is a logical step in the effort to stop gun violence.

Guns are the bane of our existence. Something has to be done to reduce gun violence. Federal licensing of gun owners could immediately and over time dramatically reduce the wanton killing by individuals who should not own a gun. Licensing will reduce gun violence that is causing the death of innocents, the destruction families and life long sorrow for those who have lost a loved one.

We need to do it, now.

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Gerald L.--Jerry--Wright grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Army from Michigan State University. He completed US Army helicopter flight school in May of 1966 (more...)
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