For the second time this year, a self-identified Navy veteran yesterday proposed strict gun control measures including licensing, 80 hours of training for a concealed carry permit and an ammunition tax of ten cents per cartridge to pay for all of that, plus mental health screenings for gun owners every five years when their licenses are renewed.
Shawn VanDiver, identified as “a 12-year navy veteran and adjunct faculty at three universities teaching military studies, national security, homeland security and international security and trade,” also wrote about gun control in May. At that time, VanDiver proposed, “We should consider putting a cap on the number of firearms purchased for personal use. Allowances could be made for licensed gun dealers, but home protection and hunting require don’t require individuals to keep an arsenal.”
He also suggested that some misdemeanor convictions “should be added to the list of crimes that preclude offenders from owning firearms.” All of this seems almost designed to both discourage gun ownership and disqualify as many people as possible from ever having firearms. And there’s that ammunition tax to raise all kinds of money to pay for hammering down on the firearms community.
VanDiver might get some blowback on his proposals, if one reads a letter that appeared over the weekend in the Salt Lake Tribune from a reader in Layton, identifying himself as J. Vetter. That letter referred to a 2013 survey by PoliceOne.com of more than 15,000 rank-and-file law officers, on the subject of gun control.
Likewise, his ideas might meet considerable resistance from gun rights organizations and individual firearms owners who would find VanDiver’s suggestions to be Draconian. But VanDiver argues, “Before you tell me how I am violating your rights by proposing a record of gun owners, note that the constitution does not say that you have the right to bear arms and not tell anyone.”
Where does it say, specifically, that government needs to know who legally has a firearm, one might counter. Unless someone is breaking the law, the average gun owner will say it’s none of the government’s business who has a gun, how many guns they have, what kinds of guns they are, and how those guns are stored.
The latter issue brings us around to the tragic shooting mishap in Lake Stevens that has been headlining the news over the weekend. A 3-year-old boy is in serious condition after being shot in the mouth Friday night while playing with a 4-year-old friend. An investigation is underway, but right now the incident is being treated as an accident.
The case raises serious questions about how the particular gun owner stores his firearms. The incident, as discussed this morning on KVI by morning drive time talk jock John Carlson, will be the perfect launch pad for re-introduction of a “safe storage” bill by gun control proponents in Olympia come January.
Laws should be aimed at punishing criminals, not treating responsible, law-abiding citizens as if they were criminals. Five-year licensing schemes with mental evaluations, taxes on ammunition and limits on the number of firearms one can own, plus safe storage requirements that careless people will ignore and careful people already do voluntarily are not going to stop crimes or tragedies. But somehow, ratcheting down on people who don’t have it coming seems to appeal to anti-gunners who just want to “do something.”
Turning the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms into a heavily-regulated government privilege doesn’t qualify as “doing something,” rights activists would explain. Indeed, it may amount to doing less than nothing, if that is possible.