Letter to the Editor: Regulate bullets, not guns
As I read about a third mass shooting in the last two weeks, and the second in less than fourteen hours, I pondered how do we stop the madness?
We cannot change the Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
So what do we do? The answer is regulate ammunition. Guns don’t kill people, bullets do, so if we remove the bullets then we solve the problem.
I am not proposing that we take away the bullets, or that no one ever gets any. I am saying that we regulate them, allow people to only have so many, and track those bullets so that the person who has them really has to be held accountable for where their bullets are.
The counter argument here is that having a gun without bullets is like having a car without gas. However, driving a car is not a right, it is a privilege offered to us by the federal government and regulated by the states. This is why when you break a traffic law you lose your privilege to drive. As you see in the quoted Second Amendment, it does not say anywhere that you have the right to own ammunition. It says you have the right to bear arms. What is arms any way?
Websters says that “arms” includes ammunition, but I say that is a poor definition, Arms could be swords, spears, plow shears, baseball bats, basically anything that could be used to fight with; yes this does include guns, however, it should not include ammunition.
We don’t go around saying, “Hey, that guy is armed with ammunition.” We assume that when we say gun it includes ammunition, but it is not specifically spelled out in the constitution.
So, here is my proposal. The federal government sets up a system to regulate ammunition, they let the states run this system. Every person that owns ammunition will need to turn over the ammunition to the ammunition regulatory system. You will be given credit for your ammo, and as long as you are a law abiding person, you may take out of your ammo credits at the agency some number of bullets. However, you will have to maintain control of your ammunition and will need to prove on a monthly basis that you have not lost control of that ammo.
This new agency will need to mark all ammunition in a way that law enforcement can tell if a person has authorized ammunition or unauthorized ammunition, and laws will need to be made punishing people that possess or use unauthorized ammo.
How this is done, I am not sure, but I am just laying out the groundwork. Once you have used up all the ammunition credits from when you turned in your ammo, you then can buy new ammunition, but this will be at a very steep price.
Now this does not stop true criminal from buying illegal ammunition, but they are for the most part not the ones doing the mass killings, and criminals tend to get caught more often than not, and by making the penalties for unauthorized ammunition very steep, we can make this a very unpalatable thing to do. We can make the punishments harsher than drugs, and see if this works out better for us.
What I know is that in these three shootings, I am sure we are going to find out that all three of the shooters purchased and owned their weapons legally, so if we could have removed the ammunition from the equation, we might have more of the 32 people killed in the last two weeks alive.