In a couple of hours I’ll be off to Ukraine, a place I have grown to enjoy a lot. I like this country because, among other things, people walk the parks at two in the morning without fear of being assaulted or robbed. This includes lone women with or without dogs, large or small. They are not hassled, hit upon, or otherwise bothered.
The first time I witnessed this, I was amazed. I live in a reputedly safe neighborhood in a Washington, DC, suburb, and I’m a pretty big guy, but I wouldn’t walk by myself anywhere in the area at night.
Ukraine, I might mention, has extremely restrictive gun laws. Ah, what do I hear, the agonized moans and groans of Second Amendment fans? Ukraine is a socialist country, the gun-rights folks say, and it would be better off with an armed citizenry.
Oh, what crap. Really. Ukraine is a lot like the US in the mid-50s, which is to say largely devoid of street crime and paranoia.
Here’s a not-so-original idea to settle the gun issue. I say not-so-original because certainly people must have thought of it, it’s so simple.
Let’s treat guns like automobiles.
Cars operate under certain restrictions.
- You need instructions before you can drive one.
- There is a minimum age to operate a car.
- To get a driver’s license, you must pass a written and a driver’s test.
- You must requalify for a license every decade or so.
- You need insurance in case you harm someone with your car.
- Your car must be registered.
- Your car must be inspected.
- You pay taxes on your car.
- If you drive your car while drunk, you get punished.
- If you steal a car, you get more than a slap on the wrist.
- If you use your car to commit a crime, it gets taken away.
There are more rules and regulation, but you get the gist.
A responsible gun owner, like a responsible car owner, would not see this as a threat. Nobody wants to take your car away, and very few people really want to completely strip law-abiding citizens of their weapons. What we need is to know who has what, so if a crime is committed, the miscreant can be identified quickly. If a gun is stolen, it can be traced. If a gun is sold, it should need attending paperwork, proving that the gun is not a stolen item, and that the new buyer has insurance.
A car can be modified within reason. So can a gun. A car modified in such a way that it can no longer pass a state inspection is not allowed on the roads. A gun modified to semi- or fully automatic might be used for sport but would be illegal to carry either openly or covertly.
Oh, and one last thing—treat bullets like gasoline. Tax ammo and make it available only from licensed dealers.