Paul Deavereaux (no relation to Claude) sent me this comment which I woiuld like to make the starting point for a discussion on Firearms ownership rights. He lives in California. pl
"Well, in brief, some kind of laws that won't take my guns away from me :-)
As I posted, I currently own three firearms -- a riot shotgun and two antique but nicely maintained .22 rifles -- no handguns at all. Speaking for myself, with my level of training and no official need to carry a handgun any longer, any protection offered by handguns is way offset by the danger to myself and my family. So I got rid of my handguns. And feel good about it. Safer. Which is the point.
As for controls, I think long guns and handguns should be legal but need to be treated a little differently in terms of oversight.
Gun ownership/purchase should be permitted only to those individuals who have completed a proper, certified and rigorous course in their use and their legal liabilities and responsibilities (service in the military does not exempt one from completing the civilian course). There should be individual courses for handguns and long guns. The courses can be administered by gov't agencies or by duly licensed private individuals and groups (NRA etc). Cost for the course should be fixed at a reasonable figure so as to not be prohibitive (used as a 'gateway' to restrict gun ownership to only the affluent).
Gun ownership should be limited to full citizens of the United States.
Both handguns and long guns should be limited in magazine capacity to six rounds.
After-market modifications or manufacture of parts assembled as a unit or otherwise whose intention is to contravene or evade any restrictions on type or capability of handguns or long guns should be banned.
Both handgun and long gun ownership should be unavailable to minors without signed parental consent and signed acknowlegement of legal/financial responsibility.
Both handguns and long guns should be unavailable to convicted criminals and the mentally ill.
Both handguns and long guns must be purchased and/or transferred thru a federally licensed gun dealer, the fee specified nationwide similar to a Notary Public fee ($10).
Firearms laws should be standardized nationwide to prevent 'cherry picking' of states with lax requirements -- like Virginia used to be. Yes, I know this opens up a can of worms with states rights issues but what the hell.
Both handguns and long gun private sales should be limited to designs commensurate with civilian use and not military designs (and yes, I know most if not all guns started off a military designs but ya gotta draw the line somewhere so out with the Barrett Fiftys/full-auto/high-capacity/supressors/"collectors Thompsons" etc fetishist stuff).
I'm not happy about the 'concealed-carry' thing at all. Out here in CA we have a bunch of nitwits parading around with weapons displayed in what is best described as guys wearing their jockstraps outside their trousers at Starbucks. If this is the mentality of folks interested in concealed-carry, then I say no. Also, from personal experience, there is a tendency to modify ones behavior when carrying a weapon (concealed or otherwise) and act in a less-thoughtful and responsible manner. I had to carry a concealed weapon while working for an alarm company when I was in my 20's and my good sense sometimes took the back seat to "I'm carrying a gun". Stupid, but I suspect a lot of people fall into the same trap. BTW, I had no training other than my dad with the .22 rifles and the USAF -- which I'm sure you know is no training at all other than how to obey orders on the firing line and not take any souvenier rounds home to Betsy.
I haven't had my coffee yet so go easy as I know these can all be nitpicked to death -- but you asked what my thoughts were on the subject. If reasonable people can agree (something this country seems to have forgotten how to do) that reasonable adjustments to behavior serve the public good more than the absence of restrictions at all, then we're making headway in a LOT of areas, guns included. This used to be a country were everybody gave a little so that all of us would have something.
Now, with all that said, my opinion about this issue has been 'evolving', to quote a political hack. Evolving and biasing towards gun ownership as opposed to increased gun restrictions. I really don't know how effective personal gun ownership is as oversight to tyrannical opportunists but hey, its gotta have some effect, at least on the gun owners sense of independent thinking. And maybe thats what it was supposed to be all the time.
Paul "The Pelican" Deavereaux"