If you haven't read the Introduction, Episode 1, Episode 2 , Episode 3 or Episode 4, you should do so now.
A man once stood before GOD his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. "Dear GOD," he cried out, "look at all the suffering and anguish and distress in YOUR world. Why don't you send help?" GOD responded, "I did send help. I sent you."
- A Jewish Folk Tale
What do I want? I want a safer more civil society. We need to work on many things in order to achieve this but gun violence in one area that deserves special attention. I advocate for the steps below to be taken.
- Remove laws that prevent government agencies from researching and advocating for effective ways to prevent gun deaths. There are too few facts about gun violence and we should not be beholden to laws created by the gun lobby to hobble us in this regard. The best data that can be found is biased and spun. We need real science. The shackles that exist on the very people we task with discovering the causes of injury and death must be removed.
- Appoint and approve a head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and change the laws that restrict the BATF from creating effective regulations. How can we effectively enforce our gun laws if the agency charged with safeguarding us against the illegal use and trafficking of firearms has no leadership? The President gets his choice here. And they get to do their jobs; revoke the Tiahrt Amendment and other such nonsense.
- Increase enforcement of existing laws. For example, while it is a felony to lie on a background check application, virtually no one is prosecuted for that felony. 80,000 people lied on background check applications in 2010, 44 were prosecuted. Research has demonstrated that criminals who lie on a background check and are denied a firearm purchase are 28% more likely to commit a crime in the five years post denial than the five years before the denial. Ironically, those same criminals are 80% more likely to use a firearm in a crime after being denied than before. Let's get them before they commit a crime. Fix this.
- Create a National Firearms Permit that would be required for the purchase and ownership of firearms. Rules for firearms sales, firearms training and background checks must be standardized at the federal level -- the myriad of state laws creates gaps in regulation that criminals can drive a truck loaded with firearms through. This permit would also authorize holders to carried concealed weapons.
- Eliminate private sales of firearms. All sales should require a background check and be a properly documented transaction between two parties who have a permit.
- Criminalize the negligent storage of firearms. If you own a firearm, you need to lock it up. Just like I need an inspection of my plumbing when I renovate my bathroom, if you buy a firearm you have to demonstrate that it can be safely stored. If your weapon is stolen or harms someone because it wasn't locked up, you go to jail. For a long time. And you surrender your guns, cause you're now a felon.
- Require the registration of all firearms. A centralized database of all firearms in the United States is required to ensure that when someone gets certified as mentally ill or commits a crime that causes them to lose gun ownership rights, we know how many guns they own and where they are. This database would not be subject to disclosure under Freedom of Information requests.
And finally, the most controversial:
- Stop selling military grade weapon systems to individuals. Suffice to say, if our troops are using it on the Taliban you don't get to have one in your house.This will be the most difficult to define and the most difficult to swallow. But it's time to draw a new line on what's allowed for civilian ownership. I believe that civilian versions of military firearms, euphemistically referred to in the industry as "modern sporting rifles", should be restricted. We did it before, in 1934, and we need to do it again.
The first bullet is the most important. If we as a society cannot agree to study and understand gun violence then we back ourselves into the most extreme recommendation of all - the only way to curb gun violence is to eliminate all the guns. But that is a low road. It is one that we do not deserve. We are worthy of better.
I've sent these recommendations to my Congressman.
The ball is in your court now. You can sit on the sidelines and let the extremists duke it out or you can make your voice heard with your elected officials. Chose a side, even if it's your own side, and act.
Thanks for tagging along over the past week. Thanks to you who have left thoughtful comments and to those who have tolerated this diversion. It's now back to fishing. As it should always have been.
Rest in peace, Charlotte.
 I could not find the original DOJ data for this. Quoted from NY Times Article, Both Sides in Gun Debate Agree: Punish Background-check Liars.
 Recidivism of Denied Prospective Firearms Purchasers