6 Bold Ideas for Gun Reform That Could Actually Happen

Once a right of first refusal is passed, the National Rifle Association or other gun rights groups can sue a city for regulations that are already on the books (e.g. prohibiting guns in bars or banning open transport in city parks). Any gun ordinance that goes beyond state law becomes a potentially expensive liability. With rural areas disproportionately represented in state legislatures, this tactic has allowed red states to keep their blue cities in check. Indeed, the firearm pre-emptive blueprints have become so popular in Republican strongholds that lawmakers have adapted this model to other areas of regulation. (Texas, for example, has used pre-emptive laws to undermine large city bans Fracking and Disposable plastic bags.)

In one Declaration published after the boulder shootThe Colorado ceasefire mentioned only one legislative priority for the state: “The Colorado General Assembly must act now to remove the state’s right of first refusal.”

However, is there an appetite among officials of the Republican State to reverse course on prevention? Historically, home rule was a conservative idea, so it stands to reason that some Republicans might be convincing. This turned out to be in Nebraska, where gun violence prevention advocates have done so recently defeated two firearms preemption bills.

“While Nebraska is a super-majority Republican-run state, it is often centrist and populist in many ways,” said Melody Vaccaro, executive director of Nebraskan’s Against Gun Violence. “We could really refer to very specific examples and tell people, ‘This is what Preemption does, it takes away your ability to sort these things out,” Vaccaro explained. “We could call a small town and say,’ Hey, you know, you have this ordinance that says people in cemeteries can’t shoot guns. The state is trying to rob you of the ability to have such a rule. “The communities know what’s best for them, even with Weapons.”

2. Make weapons training more meaningful

Many states have gradually lowered the bar to get permission to carry a pistol in public places. The trend was towards fewer lessons (reduced to zero in some cases), eliminating the on-track shooting requirements and lowering fees. Tennessee now offers a gun carrying permit course that can be Completed completely online. Other states like Kansas have completely abolished licensing. When Texas lowered training standards for its covert pistol license to just four hours of instruction in 2013, lawmakers said there simply wasn’t enough material to justify the 10 hours previously required. A typical curriculum includes the operation of a firearm and some pointers on where and when it might be appropriate to use it. Some proponents of gun violence prevention would like the curriculum to be expanded to include strategies for de-escalation, risk avoidance, safe storage and first aid. Everytown for Gun Safety goes a step further and suggests that such training should take place compulsory for everyone who wants to buy a gun, not just those seeking permission to wear in public.

So far, the NRA has consistently supported state legislation to reduce or eliminate training requirements for carrying permits. This position, however, puts the gun lobby in the uncomfortable position of working against the interests of gun teachers, whose livelihoods depend on the money they earn teaching government-mandated classes. There may be a window of compromise.

3. Encourage gun owners to support one another through difficulties

Decades of social science research has linked access to weapons with a higher risk of suicide. People who attempt suicide with a gun die nine out of ten cases, while other common means (like cutting and overdosing) are much more viable. It is for this reason that the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (New York SAFE Act) trained mental health professionals Report suicide patients to a government agencywho could then seize any weapons they might have and put their names in a no-purchase database for five years. Even in New York, however, this provision is controversial and has been tried repeatedly. We shouldn’t expect similar laws to spread across the country anytime soon.

Instead, suicide prevention activists have tried to foster a culture of community stewardship among gun owners, asking them to reach out to friends in crisis to save their guns after a divorce, job loss, family death, or other trauma. The idea of ​​letting your neighbor or hunting partner lock your gun up in their safe for a while might be tastier than handing it over to the sheriff. Suicide prevention groups initially teamed up with gun shops and shooting ranges New Hampshire and now in 11 other statesto spread the idea through posters and brochures.

4. Enforce the surrender of firearms

If someone has been convicted of a crime, is on restraining order, or has been found mentally incapacitated by a court of law, their name will be added to a list of banned buyers in the National Instant Background Check System. If the system works as intended, you will not pass a subsequent background check and will not be able to purchase a weapon (at least not from a federally licensed dealer).

But what about weapons they already own?

The protocols vary widely depending on the jurisdiction. Some municipalities set deadlines by which individuals can hand in their weapons, with mandatory penalties if the deadlines are not met. Other locales not even inform the person they are supposed to hand over their weapons. To resolve such inconsistent enforcement, the Center for American Progress proposed that the Federal Office for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives set up task forces to draw up logs for the seizure of firearms from prohibited persons and instruct local law enforcement agencies to comply with those logs.

Given that gun rights advocates have long insisted that better enforcement – rather than new gun legislation – is their preferred means of addressing gun violence, this idea could be supported by either party.

5. Challenge industry immunity

From baby foods to cigarettes, manufacturers and retailers have changed irresponsible business practices, either as a result of a lawsuit or to avoid the prospect of one. However, the arms industry has a unique immunity from civil claims thanks to the Law to Protect the Legal Arms Trade, signed by George W. Bush in 2005. The PLCAA and similar state laws protect gun manufacturers and sellers from liability for damage caused by their products.

One of the most outrageous examples of industry immunity is the case of Sandy and Lonnie Phillipswho tried to sue the online ammunition dealer who fed the gunman who killed his daughter and 11 other moviegoers in an Aurora, Colorado theater in 2012 The lawsuit was dismissed on the initial motion, and they were ordered to pay the defendant’s legal fees of $ 200,000.

The Coalition to Combat Gun Violence has collected signatures for a petition to repeal PLCAA, and the Giffords Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence has stated that lifting industry immunity is a legislative goal. Still, any solution that depends on action by Congress has a long way to go – this is why activists continue to test the limits of industry immunity in court.

The parents of one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre recently won a victory in their ongoing lawsuit against Remington Arms, the owner of the Bushmaster subsidiary, the maker of the AR-15 rifle used in the attack. The basis of the lawsuit was not the weapon itself, but the way in which it was marketed – with the slogan “Forces of the opposition, bow down. They are outnumbered on their own. “(According to plaintiffs, the weapon was intended to be used for” assault “purposes.) The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that this is the case Suit can continuedespite Remington’s argument for immunity under PLCAA.

6. Liability Insurance

For years, gun violence prevention advocates have argued that guns should be regulated more like cars – with the obligation of every operator to maintain a registration, license and, most importantly, liability insurance. As early as 2017, I reported on a new insurance product that the NRA was offering its members: Carry Guard. The guidelines came with a stiff metal wallet card with a phone number that could be called in case the owner shot someone – not to call an ambulance but a lawyer. This wasn’t the type of insurance that the GVP community had envisioned. The cover was not intended to pay medical expenses for gunshot victims – it was intended to pay legal fees to protect the shooter from civil or criminal charges. Critics called it “Homicide insuranceAnd feared that Carry Guard would encourage people to shoot first and later ask a lawyer to ask questions rather than encourage caution. The program violated New York state insurance regulators, one of a series of missteps the NRA has led to File for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Protection earlier this year.

Just because the NRA’s experiment in liability insurance was a colossal catastrophe doesn’t mean the idea might have no value if designed differently. Indeed, prominent ethicist Hugh LaFollette argues in his most recent book In defense of gun control (Oxford University Press, 2018) that liability insurance can be both a practical and a morally fair tool to mitigate the harm caused by gun violence. LaFollette devotes the last 11 pages of the book to presenting the liability insurance argument – more space than it needs to close gun-free zones, banning offensive weapons, or any other single political initiative.

When asked about measures to combat gun violence beyond banning offensive weapons and background checks, proponents of gun violence prevention often refer to the Denver Accord, a plan that emerged from a 2019 conference hosted by Gun Violence Research Aggregator, GVPedia. The agreement includes some of the policy initiatives outlined here and many more that could be pursued at all levels of government – from the White House to city councils. Po Kim Murray, chair of the Newtown Action Alliance, told me she hoped the Biden administration would approve the Denver Accord. This is the only way that Biden could signal to state and local activists that this is the roadmap they should follow.

“We know the political solutions that are needed to end this gun violence crisis. We have the Denver Accord, ”said Murray. “We are ready for him to lead and be a warrior and a champion for the movement.”

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