Now can we talk about gun ownership?

It’s simple. Every gun starts its history as a legal device.

If it’s used in a crime, then the perpetrator – AND the last legal owner if the two are not the same person – need to be held accountable.

That’s what it means to be a responsible gun owner.

It’s technologically possible to track every gun, every magazine, and even every bullet. Every gun that has ever been used in a crime or in an accidental shooting has a history. There’s no reason we can’t know that history with precision from the moment it leaves the factory to the moment it becomes evidence.

It’s why I advocate for the registration of every single gun, every single magazine, and every single bullet.

It’s why I also advocate for testing and licensing just to own a gun. Any gun.

Will it stop every crime and every accident? No. Don’t be silly. Crimes will still occur. We’ll just know who the last legal owner was. That could help law enforcement to determine whether or not that individual played a role in how that gun came to be used in a crime. When it comes to accidents, surely the owner must be held accountable on some level especially when minors are involved. If your kid finds your legal gun and accidentally hurts or kills someone with it, whose fault is it? Shouldn’t you be held accountable? Aren’t there repercussions even when things happen accidentally?

Will the government know who owns what guns? You bet they will, and I’m perfectly fine with that. How can I say such a thing? Because I’m a realist. First of all, you and I are no match for the government. They can come and kill us anytime they like. Your Glock, his AR-15, and my shotguns don’t mean jack-shit no matter how many we have. Despite how badly out-gunned we are, our government doesn’t come and kill us I think mostly because there’s no money in it. So, I think it’s time we started thinking and acting like a more mature society. This ain’t the Old West, and we aren’t John Wayne. More importantly, we need to stop acting like and talking like we should be planning a takeover of our government by force. In case some of us have forgotten, we are our government. We are our military. Those institutions are comprised exclusively by our children, our friends, our family, and our neighbors. They have no reason to come and take your (or my) guns away unless we’re acting criminally. We need to de-militarize our culture and our society, not arm it even more. We need to stop buying into the bullshit the NRA is feeding to us straight from the gun makers and their lobbyists.

This is why I see tracking, registration, and licensing as simply the most logical way to hold gun owners accountable and responsible. Once again, every gun starts it history as a legal device. If it’s lost or stolen, it’s the responsibility of the owner to report it. If it’s sold to another individual, it’s the responsibility of both parties to “sign over the Title” once the new owner shows the license which makes them qualified to own it.

Why is any of this so unappealing to some people? If you say it’s because it’s your Constitutional right to own guns, I suggest you re-read the Second Amendment. This approach doesn’t infringe on your right in any way. It only codifies the conditions by which you may “keep and bear arms.” Nowhere am I saying to ban guns or gun ownership. I just want gun owners to be held accountable.

That’s how I define ‘responsible’ gun ownership.

(More of my posts on guns may be found here, here, and here)

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2 thoughts on “Now can we talk about gun ownership?

  1. “It’s technologically possible to track every gun, every magazine, and even every bullet.”

    No, it’s not. Most magazines do not carry serialized numbers. They’re also mostly either stamped and welded (which does not leave machining marks, which would need to be cataloged anyway) or made from polymer, which would mean thousands would come from exactly the same mold and have no individual features.

    Out of the methods that do analyze individual features, they’re very unreliable.

    “A California Department of Justice survey, using 742 guns used by the California Highway Patrol as a test bed, showed very poor results; even with such a limited database, less than 70% of cases of the same make as the “fingerprint” case yielded the correct gun in the top 15 matches; when a different make of ammunition was used, the success rate dropped to less than 40%.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballistic_fingerprinting

    In less than 70% of the cases, the correct gun was on the top 15 matches. Wow. But it doesn’t stop there. The cases are supposedly the most accurate method because bullets get deformed or the barrel itself can be altered so as to not leave the same striations as it did on the crime bullet. Some of the ways to alter it? Cleaning the barrel. Brushing it. Shooting it. The fouling obviously alters the striation pattern and wear and tear will eventually erase the tool marks on the rifled barrel.

    Polygonal rifling barrels (widely used in HK and Glock firearms) have a shape which naturally leaves less markings on the bullet and they’re more uniform rather than unique to the gun.

    Shotguns have no rifling at all, so projectiles fired from one can’t be matched in any way.

    And the kicker? This “tracking” can only be done after a gun is recovered. If a gun is used in several crimes there’s nothing that can be done except waiting for it to turn up and be seized. If the gun is not in police custody, they can’t tie it to anyone.

    Tracking is a bust. And so is registration. Canada gave up on the long-gun registry. It’s not a useful tool.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Filipe. A quick search reveals that laser etching ammo has been around for at least 10 or 11 years.

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1262322/posts

      http://www.ammocoding.com/

      An etched casing retrieved from the scene of a crime would very quickly and very easily be used to trace its origins. Under my proposal, that would include who purchased it. The Wikipedia article you posted – thank you for that – also shows how the gun’s firing pin can be used to stamp the shell’s primer. That adds another tightening to my argument and doesn’t rely on more traditional ballistics fingerprinting.

      Firearms have serial numbers already. There’s no reason not to do the same with magazines. If the manufacturing process needs to change, so be it. If you read more deeply into my posts on firearms, you’ll see I’m for banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and would support legislation requiring the immediate surrender of all larger capacity magazines.

      Tracking the kind of data I’m proposing is embarrassingly simple. Retailers and manufacturers of every type have been doing it since the first barcode, and I believe that we should do it for every gun, every magazine, and every box of ammo regardless of what Canada or any other country does or doesn’t do.

      I also believe no one should be allowed to possess a firearm without a license to prove they know how to use it, how to safely and properly store and transport it, and that they know will be used to trace the gun’s history back to them should it ever be found to have been used in a crime, the proof of which would carry penalties for them, too, had they not reported it lost or stolen.

      Is any of this fool-proof and perfect? Of course not. Nothing is. That’s not a standard that anything can meet. The Wikipedia article you offered (thanks again) is a prime example. It uses very misleading and very subjective phraseology, “…showed very poor results; even with such a limited database.” Putting aside that this article focuses on the bullet and shot – the primers of which could be stamped and even the bullets and shots themselves etched as proven above – there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is sample size. It wasn’t very large. The second is calling “less than 70%” – like 69-point-something, I’m guessing – “very poor.” That’s subjective.

      In the end, the status quo is failing us. This country has a sickness, and in my opinion it starts with an under-developed understanding of the conditions under which a civilian should own deadly weapons.

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