–Is gun control possible?

An alternative to popular faith

Jesus: “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

Recently, a Chicago off-duty policeman was shot and killed by four good-for-nothing bums, who decided it would be a lark to commit armed robbery. Ho hum. Another Chicago murder. Another good life lost.

Is there any way to stop the killing, or at least slow it? In answer to that question, we must consider a few facts:

  1. Most murders are committed with guns
  2. Millions of Americans want guns.
  3. The gun lobby is powerful.
  4. Even the Supreme Court ignores the first phrase of the 2nd Amendment, to make anti-gun laws unconstitutional.
  5. Gun manufacture, import and sales are quite profitable.
  6. Prohibition of something people want never works.
  7. There is widespread belief that anti-gun laws leave criminals armed and honest people unarmed.
  8. Chicago, and most other cities, do not have fully staffed, fully trained police. Money has gone elsewhere.

So, what to do? Here are a couple thoughts. Though none is a complete solution, a few worthwhile partial solutions could move us in the right direction:

Make each manufacturer, seller or provider of a gun liable for the use of that gun.

If you make or sell or give someone a gun that is used in a crime, you are responsible for that crime. Harsh? Unfair? Some states have “dram shop” laws, making a tavern responsible for damages where intoxication was at least one cause of the damages. Sell liquor to a drunk; the drunk commits a crime; you go to jail.

If you feed someone liquor in your home, and that drunk drives a gets into an accident, you could be found guilty of aiding and abetting a crime.

These laws are weak (they generally don’t apply to the manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or package liquor dealer), are different in every state, and are difficult to apply across state lines, but the point is, they do make sellers liable for a product they sell, even though they themselves didn’t misuse it. So even these woefully weak laws make bartenders a bit more cautious about selling drinks to doubtful people.

The precedent, of making a seller liable for the misuse of product he sells, could be extended to guns. Gun manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, even private citizens, would be liable for crimes committed with guns. So you, the gun provider, better set up a system to prevent your customer, or your customer’s customer, from misusing the gun.

Rather than trying to outlaw gun ownership, which for the above-mentioned reasons won’t work, merely make gun ownership more costly. Sellers probably would have to buy expensive insurance, the cost of which would be added to the cost of the gun.

I visualize a clearing center that would track every gun sale in America. All manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, retailers and private citizens would be required to submit a report on the purchaser of every gun.

The clearing center could be financed by a tax on gun sales and ownership. Just as we tax the sale and ownership of homes, cars, liquor and cigarettes, we could tax the sale and ownership of guns. The tax also could be used to hire, train and equip more police, as increasing police presence deters crime.

Under the economic theory “money changes everything,” making gun ownership more expensive, and making gun sellers more wary about liability, and hiring more police could together reduce the availabiltiy and ownership of guns — and reduce the murder rate.

Would this eliminate guns? No.
Could honest people still obtain guns? Of course.
Could criminals still obtain guns? Sure.
But the increased cost, the clearing house and the added police represent a step from the current, insufficient control for the single most dangerous, easily available product the world has ever known.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity

13 thoughts on “–Is gun control possible?

  1. How about instead of increasing the transaction cost on the gun manufacturer, instead increase the transaction cost for the gun shooter. Mandatory dealth sentence for anyone using a gun in the act of a felony or misdemeanor.


  2. Roger,
    The single most dangerous product in the world is the automobile. There are more deaths per year by automobile than by guns. Let’s take your suggestion a step in the right direction and include all auto manufacturers. If you produce an auto and sell it to someone who subsequently is involved in an accident that results in a death, punish the manufacturer of that vehicle. That will learn ’em, durn ’em.


    1. Good idea, and one that already exists. If a product is designed in such a way that it causes a death, the manufacturer is liable. Car makers, baby crib makers, toy makers, cigarette makers, drug makers all have paid monetary penalties.

      And if the death-causing is intentional, the maker is held criminally liable.

      Guns are designed to cause death, so why aren’t the manufacturers held liable?

      By the way, what is your solution to the 10,000+ per year gun murders?

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  3. Criminals will not declare their guns just as they don’t report their income from say drug dealing. Consequently, criminals will not pay the tax or the insurance. Just as drugs are smuggled into the country, under your plan, guns would be smuggled in to avoid any sort of tracking you can devise. Do we have a “clearing center” to track the flow and ownership of illegal drugs? Obviously not. Raise the cost of owning a gun and you will drive criminal gun ownership to the black market and penalize law-abiding citizens who simply want to protect themselves and their families.


    1. “When guns are illegal only criminals will have guns” has been the NRA mantra for many years. “Law-abiding citizens using guns to protect themselves” happens perhaps a dozen times a year in America, while more than 10,000* people were murdered by guns in 2006, probably more, today.(*Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence)

      Statistically, there is a far greater chance of you killing yourself and your family with a gun, than protecting them.

      All gun sales begin with “law-abiding citizens”: Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. And most secondary sales also are made by “law-abiding citizens.” They all would be held liable for the misuse of the guns they sold.

      I’ve agreed its not a perfect solution to gun violence, (Read my last paragraph) but it might be a start.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


      1. You’re wrong Roger. A gun is USED over 2000 times a DAY for protection. It doesn’t always end up with a death in many of those cases. And not all guns sales begin with “law-abiding citizens”.

        Take out four cities in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and New York) and the U.S. has one of the lowest deaths by guns in the world. With those cities included we are ranked fourth in the world. Gun ownership doesn’t cause crime people cause crimes. More people are killed in this country by fists, clubs and knives than all of the long guns combined including shotguns.

        I don’t have a problem with your gun control issues and I certainly don’t have a problem with gun ownership either. Your premise is that guns are only manufactured to kill people and that is not true. There are millions of gun owners in this country that haven’t killed any other people and as a matter of fact have never killed anything.

        I love to shot but I have never killed an animal and certainly not a human. This is a fun hobby for me and countless others. There are also millions of hunters that enjoy their guns. Thanks for your ideas.


  4. Rodger,

    I’m ashamed…”a dozen times a year”! Here is a “statistic” that I just grabbed. It may be ioff to, but a dozen is just plain ridiculous:

    Professor Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, indicates there are upwards of 2,400,000 defensive uses annually.v Kleck’s research is considered the largest national study on this topic, to date. In a follow-up survey of those who reported the defensive use of a firearm, one in six respondents said they believed their intervention with a firearm prevented the loss of life.vi This suggests that upwards of 400,000 lives are being saved by the use of a firearm annually-a sharp contrast to Dr. Kellerman’s claims.


    1. There is a point at which statistics are so outrageous you know there is a serious flaw, somewhere.

      Brady said 10,000 were murdered by guns and Kleck said there were 2,400,000 defensive uses by guns. So for every murder, there would have had to be 240 defensive uses of guns!

      Is Kleck counting every time a policeman draws his gun? Or did he count every time a gangbanger shot at another gangbanger in self defense? 240 to 1? C’mon.

      And the conclusion — 400,000 lives saved by guns vs. 10,000 murders. Think about it. You don’t really believe that, do you?

      Here’s what the researcher Kleck says: “. . . defensive gun use […] probably is substantially more common than criminal gun use. […] there are far more gun-owning crime victims than there are gun-owning criminals and that victimization is spread out over many different victims, while offending is more concentrated among a relatively small number of offenders.”

      Even discounting “probably is substantially,” does that make any sense at all? For there to be one defensive gun use, a criminal has to attack a victim, regardless of the total number of criminals and innocent people living America. How could defensive use exceed criminal use? It’s more of his nutty statistics.

      Meanwhile, Arthur Kellerman says, “. . . guns are ’43 to 1 times’ more likely to kill their owners or family members than they are useful to defend against criminal attack.” Kleck disputes that figure and says the real number is “only” 4.5 to 1.

      Kleck, Kellerman and their statistics all are suspect, but the point remains, there is way too much gun violence in America, and the only “solution” I hear from the NRA is to give everyone guns — preferably big ones.

      I offered a possible solution for discussion. What’s your idea?

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  5. I live in Maine, which has the second highest per capita rate of gun ownership in the United States (Alaska is #1). Interestingly, we also have about a dozen murders per year – a slow weekend in Los Angeles. Perhaps culture is the biggest factor affecting gun violence??

    Fortunately, monetary sovereignty provides a solution. Give every robber a special contact number to the Fed. Whenever he needs cash, he can simply dial the number and have his bank account credited! Voila, no more petty theft and no more shootings due to robberies gone wrong.


    1. Yes, I suspect culture, family and poverty are big factors.

      Net federal spending helps alleviate poverty. Monetary sovereignty encourages net federal spending. So presumably, monetary sovereignty would reduce gun violence.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  6. Your incorrect on two counts. I never agreed anywhere in my post with your solutions, I only said that I appreciate your gun control issues, and you do have issues. That didn’t mean that I agreed with you. I may not have been very clear.

    The statistics that I mentioned are not dubious they are real. They come from the FBI statistics on gun use in the U.S.. Your argument is with them not with me. I noticed someone else that posted on your site had said almost 2.5 million defensive uses annually, and that number is wrong.


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