A Modest Proposal for Solving America’s Gun Problem by Constitutional Means

I am a salty ex-lawyer who did much of my practicing of law in criminal defense. Does it show?

This post originally appeared on my Patreon.

While I’ve always been sympathetic to the “let’s require gun insurance like we do auto insurance” idea, the fact is that the two aren’t equivalent in one material way: Firearms are a Constitutional right. Cars are not. Fortunately, there’s another, analogous system for simultaneously assuring and limiting a Constitutional right: the public defender system.

Therefore, I propose:

1. Require gun manufacturers, distributors, and/or resellers to include the purchase price of insurance in the purchase price of every gun. The gun and the policy are a package deal; to buy one, you must buy (and pay for) the other.

2. Allow people to buy guns at whatever price the market sets to adequately address the risk posed by a machine designed and purposed to kill things.

3. For those who cannot afford a gun via this market, institute a system through which they may apply to the government for a free or affordable gun.

4. ‎Like the public defender system, the public firearms system should be chronically underfunded, treated with total contempt, and administered on a state by state or county by county basis.

5. ‎Like qualifying for a lawyer under the public defender system, qualifying for a gun through the public firearms system should be based on arbitrary criteria with punitive results. Can you afford a car, Uber, or bus ticket to the public firearms office to fill out the form? Sorry, you have too much money to qualify for a gun. Buy one privately, and if you can’t, there’s always some pro bono pepper spray.

6. ‎If you do qualify for a public firearms system gun, you will need to apply for ammunition separately. Sorry, but the public ammunitions system is a separate office, and they have a three-year waiting list.

7. Make the public ammunitions system the only legal source of ammunition. Run it as a public corporation like Amtrak or the U.S. Postal Service and subject it to the same onerous self-funding measures, ongoing battle for support, and general contempt. Better yet, simply turn over public ammunition regulation to Amtrak or the U.S. Postal Service – for no additional funding.

8. ‎ Start a federal War on Ammo.

Starving the public defender system has worked marvelously to deny justice. Let’s use it to deny firearms, too.

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