The steps needed to end gun violence are clear. I hope you will use my template to help achieve the goal of ending gun violence for all time.
The First step is to make people aware of the problem. The easiest way to do this is to take advantage of high profile incidents that involve guns and to use them to get media time for our cause. This bigger the incident, the better so be sure to highlight the carnage and the emotional aftermath. People will readily make decisions when their emotions are elevated that they would not have considered at other times. It’s important to ignore comparisons to incidents that involve other implements such as explosives or planes since these will distract from the ultimate goal. Treat all defensive uses of guns as suspect and doubt their credibility and viability. It might be helpful in these circumstances to confuse the lawful use of guns for protection with criminal use since the moral difference isn’t easily distinguishable to some people. When using statistics, remember to include all gun deaths including those that could be self-defense or suicide. As an example 15,000 people commit suicide with a gun each year. By labeling these deaths “gun violence”, readers will assume they passed because of a criminal act. Since this doubles the number of true gun violence victims from 15, 000 to 30,000 then the number is twice as high and therefore seems twice as tragic and should produce twice the emotional response.
The Second step is to marginalize legal gun use and historic precedent. The Revolutionary War was over 200 years ago and the country has not faced a serious threat to its security for 50 years. Additionally, confusion has been created about weather gun ownership is tied to Militia membership and the difference between the Militia and the National Guard. This creates an opportunity to minimize the need for civilian arms for the greater defense. Additionally, many cities have modern police forces so leave people with the impression that these forces can protect them from all threats and at all times. As an example, since the majority of citizens are not currently living in high crime areas or are not involved in crime themselves, these forces alone can be considered as sufficient without personal security measures. It is often helpful to further marginalize civilian arms ownership by portraying gun owners as paranoid, fearful, and to be compensating for some other shortcoming. In today’s modern world, most people no longer have to hunt for food and accordingly, less people are proficient with arms and use them for sport. For profit media outlets rarely report on legal defensive uses of arms since they don’t sell ad space nearly as well as high profile events so, doubt about the value of owning a firearm for personal protection should be easy to impart. Using isolated incidents of the mishandling of arms can further create doubt about their usefulness as well as create uncertainty about their safe use.
The Third step is to make some guns seem more dangerous than others, even if they are not. This will allow for some fear among the populace that could sway them to support the banning of some types of firearms. Examples would be Saturday Night Specials (Cheap Guns), Assault Weapons (They Look Military), Semi-Automatics (Sounds like Automatic), and High Powered (the industry always moves forward). Take advantage of the fact that many people have no functional understanding of guns and use this to distract from issues such as the criminal element and a person’s intent. Targeting these guns will set the atmosphere that some guns can be prohibited and others can be added as opportunities arise. An example would be to create fear around semi-automatic rifles as “assault weapons” verses bolt actions rifles preferred by hunters. Once support is obtained and semi-automatics are prohibited, bolt action rifles can be labeled as “high power sniper rifles”, employed by the military and the prohibition can be expanded.
The Fourth step is to register every sale. It’s important to know who owns guns and what type they own for future reference. Some people favor privacy so this should be done incrementally with only the dealers documenting local sales while police tracking and a national database can be implemented at a later date. Support for dealer documented sales can be increased by highlighting crime statistics. Most people are unaware that criminals do not get their guns through legal sales but instead get them through theft, black market sales, and straw purchases. This leads them to believe that records of sales will lead police to those who committed a crime with a gun and highlighting crime statistics can drive a perception of need for registration of sales and owners. The registration and documentation of the sale of ammunition should be pursued as well since it will provide a registry for those who owned arms before registration was in place and enforced.
The Fifth step is a robust “Shall Issue” permitting process. Permitting has been found to be constitutionally acceptable in many circumstances including permits for otherwise protected civil rights such as free speech in parades or protests. Permits can help to solve the privacy issue since many gun owners will voluntarily register through permitting if it makes their gun ownership less onerous. An example would be concealed carry in a climate where open carry is socially unacceptable or illegal. If legislatures enact concealed carry prohibitions with exceptions for those who are permitted, then gun owners who do not wish to draw attention to themselves by the open carrying of arms or break the law if that is the circumstance, will go out of their way and pay fees to obtain the permit. In a “Shall Issue” scheme, local police can then decide a person’s eligibility for a permit based on “Good Cause”. “Good Cause” can later be legislatively defined to limit carry to those who are law enforcement or retired government (as socially trusted groups) with further prohibitions as opportunities arise. Future implementations of time and place restrictions could be patterned from curfew policies and expanded as necessary. Permits for gun ownership itself should be compared to licensing and permits for automobiles since most people are familiar with these permits and see their benefits. With proper implementation of Step Two, citizens will likely not concern themselves with privacy or intrusion implications concerning permits and gun ownership or even other civil rights.
The Final step is to encourage and incentivize the forfeiture of arms. An effective strategy in encouraging the forfeiture of arms is to expand on the concepts mentioned in Step Two. If people believe that they no longer have a need for arms and that arms are dangerous to own, they will be more likely to forfeit them. One popular incentive can be provided through “gun buy backs” where cash is given in exchange for arms. Additional incentives could include cash or food stamps for information about unlicensed neighbors or family members as well incentives of freedom from incarceration through immunity programs for illegal gun ownership by those who don’t have proper permits. Lastly a serious of ongoing compliance inspections based on gun and ammunition sales registration and credit card activity would complete the goal of a world free of gun violence.