Maybe guns should be treated like cars. No, I am not particularly fond of the way that car ownership is handled by the DMV, but it could easily be improved. This is just a thought experiment, not a proposal.
You can buy a car without registering it, and you can drive a car without a license, but only if you keep it on your own property and do not use public roads. Once you take the car out onto the public roads you are required to register the car and obtain a license to drive it. To get your license you have to pass a written test and prove that you’re a safe driver. Your license and registration is issued by the state where you live, but is good in all states across the country. If you have an accident or violate a law your license can be taken away. The fees are reasonable for all licenses. Vehicle registration fees are another story all together.
Can we apply this to gun registration and owner licensing?
You can buy a Gun without registering it, and you can carry a Gun without a license, but only if you keep it on your own property or in your home. Once you take your Gun out onto the public you are required to register the Gun and obtain a license to carry it. To get your license you have to pass a written test and prove that you’re a safe shooter. Your license and registration is issued by the state where you live, but is good in all states across the country. If you have an accident or violate a law your license can be taken away or restricted. The fees for should be reasonable and not punitive for all licenses.
I also imagine that, like drivers licenses, a gun license could have different classes depending on what type of gun you wish to use. Let’s say the basic license is for rifle and shotgun, we could call it a class (H) for Hunter) license. Then if you like you can get a Class (SD) for self-defense) license for a concealed hand gun. Then maybe advanced licenses would be available if you want to have a machine gun, assault rifle, or silencer. Class (FU.)
So let’s assume that the process of registering and licensing gun ownership would be just as successful and wide spread as the current registration and licensing of cars/drivers. You have to ask yourself how successful this has been with preventing automobile crime and accidents. Registration of cars should prevent auto theft; however in 2010 there were 737,142 car thefts. Think how many there would have been without registration. Did taking a driver’s safety classes, passing a driving test, and demonstrating driving proficiency prevent accidents? I looked it up and there were 32,000 fatal car accidents in the US in 2010. Good thing the licensing process is so comprehensive. Does taking away a driver’s license to drive prevent people from driving? My wife works for the court system and says that driving without a license is rather common, especially drunk drivers. Does automobile registration generate huge amounts of revenue for the government? Yep.
What if sometime in the future every effort was successful in registering guns and licensing gun owners who have passed a background check, but gun violence and school shootings were not eliminated? What happens when another high profile mass murder happens? What measures will be pursued next?