Monday, January 30, 2006

Happiness is a warm gun.

My state, one of the four not to have concealed-carry laws, is about to pass concealed carry legislation. This has had the predictable result of producing endless letters to the various editors. One letter to the editor said that most accidents happen when children discover guns in the home, and that this was a good reason to ban concealed carry laws. Disregarding the odd disconnect (if they're carrying them, then the guns are not in the house when the kids come home), it made me think of a possible answer to the question of gun control.

Pass one law concerning guns: the owner of the gun is responsible for whatever happens with that gun. If that gun is stolen and used to commit a crime, the owner of the gun is guilty of aiding and abeting that crime, as he did not secure the firearm properly. If a kid finds it and blows his head off, the owner is guilty of manslaughter, as he did not (a) secure the firearm, and (b) put safety locks on it. If it goes off accidentally and injures someone, he is guilty of assault and battery, due to negligence in maintaining the safety of the weapon or ensuring its safety prior to purchase.

Such laws would have a profound hushing effect on casual gun ownership. People would no longer buy a gun just to have a gun, for "protection", or some other such vague reason. When one purchased a gun, one would make oneself liable to all sorts of criminal charges. Only serious gun users would take that risk.

Furthermore, such an arrangement would avoid the Constitutional question of restricting gun ownership, as this law would place no restrictions on who could or couldn't own what types of firearms. That decision would be left to the individual citizens who wished to own a firearm.

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