Monday, February 04, 2013

Gun Licenses and Gun Users Licenses for Maryland

We license cars and drivers. Why not license guns and their users?
Licensing Guns

Why not require that there be a license for each pistol and long gun? The state could define a set of licensing fees for different kinds of weapons. The fee for a simple shotgun used for hunting or a deer rifle might be modest, while that on an attack weapon might be quite high. High quality weapons cost hundreds of dollars so that licensing fees could not only pay the costs of a registration system, but net the state a modest income.

Individuals found carrying or using an unlicensed weapon might have the weapon expropriated and be subject to legal penalties. This would seem parallel to the practice of sanctioning a person driving an unlicensed automobile.

At the least this would provide the state authorities with information on where guns were to be found and a means to remove guns from criminals who would be unwilling to license them.

Licensing Users

It occurs to me that if we require licenses to drive a car or fly an airplane, we should require licenses to carry and use guns. In all three cases there are dangers justifying public intervention.

To get a license, one would take a written examination and demonstrate the ability to safely use a gun before a state examiner, as one takes a written exam and a driving test to get a driver's license. As one can be denied a license to drive if one can not pass a test of visual acuity of if one is subject to epileptic seizures, there would be standards for gun users licenses. In the case of weapons, a conviction for a crime involving violence of the threat of violence might disqualify a person for a license (as a driver may have his/her license revoked for traffic violations).

As there are different requirements to fly different classes of airplanes or to drive personal vehicles or to chauffeur, so too there might be different firearms licenses for pistols, rifles and shotguns.

As in the case of driver's licenses, gun user licenses would be renewed periodically. The testing for the initial granting of a license might be more detailed than a renewal.

A fee would be charged to someone applying for a gun user license to cover the costs of testing and issuing licenses. One side effect of licensing would be to make is more expensive to obtain and carry guns.

And of course, carrying or using a gun without a license should carry severe penalties.

Should there also be insurance required for people carrying guns, as there is for drivers???

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