Bullet control. It is a term used by some to describe good marksmanship, and a rallying cry for responsible gun ownership and use. I do not disagree, I do, however, believe it has not gone far enough. A gun without bullets is pretty much just a club. It isn’t intelligent, responsible, “good guys” with guns that we need to worry about, it is the the others, the irresponsible, the uninformed, and the overly scared and overly funded gun “nuts” that are worrisome. Which brings me to the crux of what I am saying: Keep the large stockpiling of ammunition at Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges. Make them get licensed, and register with, at the very least, local authorities, and preferably, a national registry. Limit the amount of new ammo purchasable by individual citizens. There are holes in this, for sure, but there is no foolproof plan, and we have a guaranteed right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. However, we have no guaranteed right to a personal arsenal large enough, and supplied enough, to massacre dozens, or worse, hundreds of people. A well armed civilian militia is NOT a lone gunman with body armor holed up in a cabin with a personal arsenal. If our civil system, or if we are militarily invaded, our regulations of civilized life will be null and void, and ammunition stockpiles would be as close as a local gun range.
So, here are details of my idea, in a generalized manner. Limit personal ammunition, is first and foremost. There are several ways to do this, and Colorado has started (link here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/colorado-senate-gives-final-ok-to-gun-bills-including-magazine-limits-and-background-checks/2013/03/11/01ac55dc-8aac-11e2-a88e-461ffa2e34e4_story.html ) and I like the idea. Limit large capacity magazines, and to slightly address the other part of this, expanded background checks. I will come back to the expanded background checks. Limiting the amount of ammunition available for personal purchase has a few logistical snags, not the least of which is keeping track of who has bought what, and how often. However, just as the weapons themselves are registered, a centralized database of ammunition purchases, and a “soft” limit on how often (I will come back to this) individual citizens can purchase ammunition will encompass most of private citizens, and nearly 100% of responsible gun owners. I know of very few responsible gun owners that would need more than 2-5 clips, magazines, or the equivalent amount of ammo, and/or the materials needed for reloading that equivalent amount. There are a small number of, mostly high profile (read Nugent) gun owners who would disagree, but they are the minority, and, if I may say, possibly borderline sane. (Ted, I like your hunting show and your music, but you are the full version of fan, you are a fanatic…) While limiting ammunition in this way will present some issues, most can be controlled by manner of implementation, proper time of that implementation, and adoption of the commercial opportunities the regulations will present.
First, limiting personal ammunition will garner some pushback, which is to be expected. Some will be in the form of lobbying, but most will really be a purchasing rush by individual citizens. Businesses will not need to make a rush, as the regulations would preclude that. This is to be expected, and implementing the national registry BEFORE the regulations (i.e. upon passing, or even prior, a national database will have been setup and the bugs worked out) will allow for tracking of individual stockpiles. We should not be concerned with people who have 50 guns, but only 10 bullets per gun, but 1 person with an assault rifle, and 1000 rounds is possibly a threat, and by the nature of their stockpiling, possibly a mild sociopath. either way, registering the ammo type, and amount, and being able to correlate with registered firearms, will be the first major step. Claiming your weapons, and your responsibility, should not be an issue with educated, responsible gun owners. While I do not know for certain, I am sure that any massive purchase of ammunition is already somewhat tracked, but once purchased it is no longer regulated, and tracked or correlated. This should be changed, and explicit when purchased. Any person that has that much ammunition and weapons should be registered, I would, and I am sure many others would, like to know if I and my children are living next to a small arsenal that could be turned against us at anytime, with devastating effect. And, conversely, any person that is responsible, registered, and known in the community, I would want to know, as they would be a valuable asset to any neighborhood watch program. With expanded background checks, both for violent charges, mental health history, and other violations of law, as well as historical violence, we can ensure responsible gun owners can continue exercising their Constitutional rights, and those who present the most clear and present danger are prohibited from taking as many people with them as they can.
Secondly, by allowing Gun Clubs and shooting ranges the ability to buy wholesale ammunition, as well as other regulated weapons to be available for rent, a whole new commercial opportunity, and still regulating while also educating, will be offered. Rather than expound on this in a linear, logical manner, I will attempt to present a picture not unlike an advertisement. Imagine for a moment, if you will, a family of gun enthusiasts who are also responsible gun owners. They wish to enjoy their passion, which they are constitutionally entitled to. So they do what any responsible family would do, they go to their local gun range. Nothing new there, it would be the standard way to do such things. No changes, still what people would do. The change? They do not bring ammo with them, they purchase it at the gun range, much like golf balls at a driving range. Also, for those who are so inclined, and have taken courses in safety, as well as proper use, can rent weapons that would otherwise be unavailable to everyday citizens. You can’t buy a Barrett .50 cal, but you can rent one for a day, and with proper construction and preparation of the range, you can fire one, and enjoy a rare thrill for anyone not involved with military or law enforcement. You want to fire a grenade launcher? Come on down to Guns-R-Us and fire off a few! Just purchase our complete package of safety class, ammunition, and you can make use of the Grenade and Rocket range. You wouldn’t necessarily need to even pack your own weapon around, but education and practice with your own weapon would be the main reason for going in my mind, but commercial possibilities abound. Competitive shooting, recreational shooting, and educational practice are all regulated, contained, and monitored. Also, with all the weaponry, private security has a whole new market with which to provide a needed, and valuable service. While there will always be a fringe amount of people that facetiously take advantage of the system, this layout limits that, and also allows for massive tracking, and easier pinpointing, of those likely to, or already engaged in such activity. Increased gun education, safety, commercial opportunity, and access to safe areas for enjoyment of these things, are all benefits to this idea, while there are no real practical detriments. No Constitutional rights infringed, general public safety is increased, and law enforcement would have a more effective and comprehensive tool when dealing with armed citizens, and their mental makeup, and personal arsenal. While it would not be perfect, after time, and enough ammo has gone past its shelf life, the regulations would be effective, and unintrusive. And an increase of commercial Gun Ranges would be likely, which would need significantly greater regulation, but that SHOULD be so. Any large depot of weapons and ammunition should be registered publicly. The general public has a right to know whether it is guns, ammo, nuclear missiles napalm, or any other weaponry that has a potential for causing massive public harm. Individual rights, as well as the public interests are maintained with this plan.
Thirdly, background checks, as well as violent crimes, especially domestic violence or a history of using weapons while committing crimes, should be a deterrent to owning your own. I do not believe that it should always preclude someone from going to a gun range. I believe in second chances, and given enough time, education, and some other factors, i believe that gun ownership could be reinstated. That is my opinion, but my reasoning is thus: if someone commits a violent crime with a weapon when young, but after 20 years, they have been through gun education, have no other offenses, violent or otherwise, and have a clean record and possibly even required recommendations from certain people involved in commercial gun use, they may be able to be granted provisional, and leading to full reinstatement of, their gun rights. They may be in a minority, but if they can do all those things, they may have done enough to show they are not a danger to society at large, and with the regulations I present, any lapse of such, by a singular individual, or small group thereof, would be limited in the damage they can do.
My ideas are not perfect, no attempt to regulate the behavior of people is. However, it presents, at least to me, the best balance of regulation in the name of public safety, while still allowing individual rights to continue with the least amount of infringement, and providing an expanded commercial sector that will only continue to grow. As I said in the beginning, a gun without bullets is just a club, and with this type of regulation, it would also be a Club. I would want to become a member, and i would still be unlikely to actually own a firearm, but I can tell you what, I would be one hell of a good shot. And judicious marksmanship, along with proper regulation, my friends, is bullet control, not gun control.