Yesterday, I took to social media to ask what measures ought to be considered in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. I made it clear that I’m not interested in rehashing the same partisan talking points, and I wanted to hear constructive suggestions that could be effective and that I might not have considered.
So I wanted to report back and share the five suggestions I received that I think are most deserving of a closer look:
1. Requiring gun fingerprint ID.
This ubiquitous smartphone technology can be applied to a weapon so that only its owner is capable of firing it. This would prevent people from using stolen guns, and, perhaps more importantly, it would prevent a great number of accidental shooting deaths, particularly when a child accidentally gets a hold of a gun. There are certainly a number of details to discuss, but, in principle, I like the idea.
2. Outlawing conversion kits
News reports are surfacing that the Vegas shooter used a “bump fire” kit to effectively transform semi-automatic rifles into full automatics. Some of these kits are illegal, but many more are not. They should be.
3. A “Sudafed” rule for ammunition purchases
Many of the suggestions I received focused on regulation of ammunition instead of guns. The one I though had the most merit was a rule that would limit the amount of ammunition that could be purchased in a single day, much the same way grocery stores limit the purchase of over-the-counter medications that contain ingredients that could be used to make methamphetamine. Waiting periods for gun purchases can prevent heat-of-the-moment gun violence, and a Sudafed rule for ammo might do the same.
4. Requiring liability insurance for gun owners
Much the same way all drivers have to insure their cars, perhaps gun owners should have to purchase insurance to shoulder additional responsibility for guns that are used for criminal purposes. It would also be compensatory to victims of gun violence. At the same time, it may drive more people to purchase guns illegally. There’s a lot to be considered in this idea, but it’s worth exploring.
5. Studying the issue
The Center for Disease Control was engaged in a comprehensive study of gun violence, but funding for the research was pulled in 1996 when gun rights advocates introduced legislation prohibiting the CDC from using money “to advocate or promote gun control.” Since then, there has been no publicly funded research into this issue, which seems short-sighted, While it’s true that any study can be used for partisan purposes, that doesn’t strike me as a solid excuse for refusing to ask the hard questions.
These suggestions came from people of all political persuasions, which I find encouraging. There is far more that unites us than divides us on this issue, and if we’re going to solve the problem, we’re going to have to find common ground and work together to do it.