First, this is not my idea. It was presented by an author on a web-site that concentrates on economics.
The proposal is this. Do not attempt to curtail gun ownership rights. Rather levy a federal tax on all fire-arms and ammunition. The tax, much like the gasoline tax, would only affect those with fire-arms. The tax would pay for permanent disability, loss of income (due to death), and property damage caused by fire-arms. This would be far better than trying to implement an gun owner insurance plan since each state's insurance companies would be expected to set fair rates. Insurance companies also have a history of mitigating risk by curtailing rights.
It would also be equitable in that any fire-arm owner would be expected to pay the exact same tax for fire-arm type regardless of where in the United States (and possessions) they live.
This will take the disabilities and loss of income figures off the books of Social Security and SDI. It would place these liabilities squarely on the shoulders of those who own fire-arms.
The tax would be an annual tax, it would make gun-running and gun theft that much more difficult because gun transfer would require a tax record trail. Failure to pay the taxes would result in fines. Repeated fines would result in gun confiscation UNTIL the taxes and fines are paid.
While there is some merit to this proposal, there are still many issues with it. I won't reiterate what some of the other responders have said. What about requiring all gun owners to have a license to own/buy/use them? This would be a national license that includes testing and training. If done correctly it would help prevent people from owning guns that should not have one. This would be very similar to driver's license. If you don't have a driver's license you can't legally drive a car right? Therefore, if you don't have a gun license you can't own/buy/use a gun. Also The license should be tied to a person and not to any particular firearm that you own. Of course this isn't a perfect solution but perfect solutions don't really exist for a problem such as this.
Training would have to be accepted from a wide number of sources INCLUDING the NRA. Their training program is actually pretty good. Older shooters should be able to cite family members. Things have changed a lot in fifty years. Gun knowledge was much more widespread back in the early 1900s through 1950s.
LaPierre is already suggesting that violent mental health patients be registered in some sort of database, though he clearly still resists a gun owner registry.
Of course, everyone can benefit from training. This proposal would have to have a 'phase-in' period to allow for a proper transition into the program. Also, I understand the perils of having a database of gun owners however a gun license wouldn't necessarily equate to a list of people who own guns. It just means that you have been trained and are now legal to own/purchase. I know many people who have driver's licenses but do not own a car.
I don't like it for two reasons.
1. You are requiring responsible gun owners to pay for the damage caused by the small handful of irresponsible owners. Those that feed their family by hunting will find the cost going up because of the actions of someone else. In addition those taxes that are limited to a small segment of the population somehow always seem to end up in the general fund to use as the politicians see fit rather than pay for the specific problems they were intended for. Cigarette tax is a good case in point - it is most definitely NOT limited to paying the costs of tobacco addiction. Neither is the alcohol tax.
2. The process requires that all guns be registered and that the govt. knows exactly who has guns and where they are. Which, of course, makes the ultimate goal of confiscating all guns much easier. No thank you.
When you buy gas you are paying, via Highway tax, for bridges you will never cross, road signs you will never see, and highways and roadways you may never drive on.
Highway funds do not end up in the general fund do they?
A tax registration not a "where is the gun stored" registration.
There's another component to this. With a fire-arm tax compensatory damages in law suits become moot. e.g. if the families affected are already compensated from the FFF (Federal Firearm Fund) expecting someone to pay for damages would be unfair.
Yes, gas taxes DO end up in the general fund, paying for anything the politicians want to buy. Some is aimed at road construction, some is not.
A tax registration shows where I live and, presumably, where the gun is.
I'm not sure of your final paragraph, except to say that the general population should be paying for the damage caused by one of the citizenry, which is far more reasonable than requiring specific individuals or groups (innocent of any wrongdoing) to pay for it.
My last paragraph addresses punitive and compensatory damages awarded in lawsuits. If the injured is taken care of from a general fund "compensatory" damages would likely not be awarded. I'm not as sure about punitive, but I would imagine they would also be reduced.
Wilderness, So how can we make certain taxes collected from specific groups for specific reasons actually be spent ONLY as intended? I actually like this gun taxation idea...
Here's a link to the original proposal.
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/ … rship.html
From the article: "Rather than parsing the Second Amendment one more time there is an easier approach, one typically favored by conservative gun owners for other public policy issues: end cost-shifting. Force those who chose to own guns to bear the full cost of the mayhem their hobby unleashes. Ending the gun subsidies will eventually end the gun violence."
I guess the difference in opinion originates in the idea that a hobby unleashes mayhem. Hobbies don't do that - individual people do. That they use the tools of a particular hobby is immaterial - it is still individual citizens that unleash the mayhem.
there is a commercial on tv for a car dealer, it goes like this:
Santa Claus is casually leaning by a big truck, having a small talk with a potential customer.
Santa says "Nice truck. Good for hunting"
Customer: I am a big hunter.
Santa: Oh yeah? What do you hunt?
Customer: Deer....uh...i meant fish, yeah, that's what I hunt, fish.
A tax on gun ownership is a very good idea but as wilderness pointed out, the money should go where they were intended.
Also, I think this tax should be paired with a series of other regulation regarding gun ownership:
- no more then one per household
- waiting period very long (maybe some of the people that have criminal intent may be caught, treated or else in the mean time)
- guns should be in a safe - mandatory!
- double, triple background check, maybe from different institutions, or the owner should be approved by so many institutions before being granted the permit...
Part of the purpose of the tax would be to avoid any new regulation on guns or gun owners. Rather shift the cost of the loss of life and property from SDI or insurance to the source of the mayhem; the gun.
Good point; let my gun pay for the cost of the mayhem out of it's earnings.
Just don't ask ME to pay that cost. I didn't cause it and have no reason to pay for it.
I understand, but I own no guns (any more) and yet I do pay into the Social Security fund. SDI is a source of funds for those permanently disabled by gun-fire. Why should I have to foot that bill since I have nothing to do with the cause of the disability? This is the very crux of cost shifting.
Why should I have to pay when I had nothing to do with it?
Why should I have to pay when I have even less to do with it?
How can you have less than zero responsibility?
That seems to be the crux of the disagreement; the assumption is that because you own a particular item or tool you are responsible for the uses that others put it to.
Some use that concept as a reason to tax you for what society as a whole is responsible for, rather than paying the cost themselves.
I own a lot of firearms and the only person putting a use to them is me. Liam is saying because I own a firearm then I am contributing to the problem. I ask how?
No, that's not what I'm saying. I am certainly not pointing to any one person and saying this is your problem not mine. I am suggesting that a group of people share responsibility for the costs incurred. This has nothing to do with morality, ethics, or right and wrong. It is entirely financial in nature.
That's right, if I cannot afford the tax then I will be forced to sell them, I will not sell them to a gun dealer or a pawn shop because I will only get a quarter of what they are worth. I would sell them to private individuals and trust that they would register them. How is that a good idea.
We can afford taxes on cars, homes, telephones and a wide variety of other goods and services.
The tax liability would follow the weapon. The buyer would be restricted from purchasing your weapon if they had a past tax liability. This could conceivably increase the value of the fire-arm.
By the way, thanks for giving this some serious thought. It may not be a solution, but it is an interesting alternative to an outright ban.
There will not be an outright ban, my point about selling the weapon is this. When I sell a car I sign title over and tax affidavit. The buyer has 20 days to register that vehicle in his name and pay a title transfer fee. I sold a car 3 years ago and title and taxes are still in my name and the car is nowhere to be found. That would happen with firearms too.
That's a good question and I have no good answer. Yes, it could conceivably happen with fire-arms too unless there's a mechanism in place to record the sale immediately. After all, if the buyer has not paid taxes on weapons in the past and are restricted from purchasing for that reason, there would have to be some way of knowing that they did not qualify for a weapons tax transfer. I honestly don't think it would have to be tied to an address though it should be tied to an owner name.
Absolutely let a group of people share the responsibility. The group comprising the citizenry of the United States, which are ultimately responsible for the actions of its individual citizens.
Not a select subset who are no more responsible than any other subset.
I hear you, but let me point out that if I sell my car and stop driving I'm no longer required to pay for roads, signs, or bridges via gasoline tax.
Not via a gasoline tax, but you are still paying.
Fair enough - you no longer use the roads directly and thus don't damage them as a direct result of your actions, but you still benefit from the use of those roads. Your food is delivered that way, for instance.
True but those costs are picked up in the price I pay in the food, clothes, and other goods. Just like anything else transportation costs are rolled right into what I pay for an item.
The same is true if I take a bus, train, or taxi. Those taxes are picked up from my fare.
I would ask you the same question on my own behalf.
Neither of us has responsibility for what someone else does.
I absolutely agree, yet my SSN helps pay for the cost of disability. Why should my SSN taxes pay for something I have no responsibility for?
Why does my money go to things I have no responsibility for?
Because society as a whole has decreed that every citizen (or wage earning citizen in this case) has a moral duty to provide aid.
Yes, you could ask small children or other people without income or capability to help, but it wouldn't do much good.
I want to hear your ideas on how to reduce the likelihood of this recent tragedy happening again (other than arming teachers). Many people no longer consider doing nothing a viable option. You don't want access to guns restricted (I assume), and you evidently don't like the idea presented in the OP. So what's your idea for dealing with this issue? Do you have any?
Rather than repeating in this thread:
I can't say that I have any good, concrete, suggestions. I don't, however, feel that treating the symptoms of the problem will do no good; that the roots must be attacked. I don't believe that gun control, even a total enforced ban somehow including criminal ownership, is going to end or significantly impact the mindless slaughter we saw at Sandy Elementary.
Everything I can come up (like arming teachers) is unacceptable. Not necessarily ineffective, jut unacceptable to either myself or society in general. Shall we then continue to pay the price for our inaction or shall we try to find a real solution instead of futile limitations on those that would never do such a thing? Like gun control?
Excellent and I agree. This is a thorny problem. Surely we can come up with a solution acceptable to everyone. I just find it hard to believe that it is simply not possible.
I agree 100%, at least in that we can find a solution.
I'm not so sanguine that we can find an effective solution that is even acceptable to most, however. Everything I can think of is either ineffective (gun control) or unacceptable (arming the entire population).
The problem isn't with the tools most commonly used and it isn't (I hope) with American culture in general. It is with the minds behind that use of the tools. Somehow those minds need to be identified and controlled - kept away from situations where they can cause damage.
Yes, and that particular system is crippled at best. My beef is the fact that the drugs are the only avenue being used to address the problem of mental illness. I call it "catch, medicate, and release." It doesn't spend enough time on individuals to get a good sense of just how unstable they might actually be.
It's crippled, all right. The "catch" doesn't catch enough of them, and the "release" is all too often causing the atrocities.
It just looks to me that that's where our efforts need to be directed. Not at gun control, not at more security not at the things that attempt to treat the symptom or the result. We need to attack the cause.
That might be by a superior "catch, medicate and watch", it might be at finding a cause for the instability in the first place. I don't know and I don't trust our leaders to do that - it is far simpler to do other things and then cry later when it all happens again.
I don't want to cry yet again when we once more let down the children that depend on us.
I agree with you. A ban on assault rifles, high capacity magazines and high power ammunition seems a sensible thing to try. Trying is the best we can really do when no one has all the answers. Methods for tackling mental health issues more effectively is also something that seems sensible to try.
wilderness, your last response was great.
Here's another link. I think it echos your proposal.
http://banoosh.com/2012/12/18/the-solut … president/
That article is scary. It's making mentally ill people out to be second class citizens, people that have nearly no rights. It's hateful and puts us back 100 years in how we treat the disease.
Is that the only solution? If so, are we willing to pay that price to protect our children? Recognizing that the mentally ill are a major part, if not the whole part, of what we're talking about I think we can do better than that.
The gun ban and auto ban seem reasonable. After all many of these meds specifically state "do not operate machinery." The vote bit I disagree with. The other thing to consider is some mental illness is temporary.
That seems to be the only thing you are willing to try. Why not allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons? I'm sure you will have a reason not to try that.
Probably because a fair number of teachers have said "I'm not doing that."
Maybe. And maybe it will exacerbate the problem. If a madman can't find a gun will he use a car? Perhaps filled with diesel and fertilizer?
We could make the problem 10 times worse, and as I don't believe that limiting guns will do any good at all I'm not sure it is part of the answer.
There is only one way to answer those questions. Try it and see. That's not ideal, but it's the truth.
True, we won't know until we try, but shouldn't we try things that don't impinge on constitutional rights first?
We could require that no one wear the color red - associated with the color of blood it might set off violence. When it doesn't work, and we lose another classroom of children, we can go on to something else.
That's the problem,of course - when we try something and it fails it costs us, and that cost is prohibitively high to simply try everything in sight, losing our children every time it fails. Better to try something that might actually work.
I agree. More research is needed so we can understand what might actually work, instead of just taking a stab in the dark. Know why there is so little research being done on the subject? Because the N.R.A has successfully lobbied to reduce funding for such research.
For example they, and their political allies, tried to have the National Centre for Injury Control and Prevention closed down, because they were doing research into gun violence as a public health issue.
When that failed, they found another way to interfere with the research. In 1996, Jay Dickey pushed through an amendment to the appropriates bill stripping $2.6 million from the center's budget. That's the exact amount it had spent on firearms research the year before.
So any lack of insight and understanding of this issue can in part be attributed to the N.R.A and it's attempts at shutting down any discussion on the subject. Why would they want to do that? Well who do you suppose the N.R.A are funded by? I'll give you three guesses.
Unfortunately, I have to disagree. The NRA isn't the problem; as far as I know they have never come out against research on mental illness.
Keeping the mentally ill from even trying such a thing is the problem, not denying their preferred tool. Guns are a definite side issue - a red herring in the fight to understand this problem and correct it. Guns are obvious, they are hated by millions and they are a political target, but they aren't the problem. Mental illness is, and the ability to control the actions of those that suffer from it.
The N.R.A have lobbied (successfully) against research into gun violence. Your ignorance of that fact doesn't change it.
And you never answered the question. Who bank rolls the N.R.A?
A tax would infringe on my rights. Y ou asked yesterday for a link about what the Supreme Court has ruled on gun ownership. District of Columbia v. Heller,
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Then you must feel "infringed upon" pretty often. Thanks for the link. I forgot about Heller. By the way, wasn't Heller a police officer? You do know, don't you, that in a national emergency he (Heller) is required to report to the president or the president's appointed commanders?
"1. You are requiring responsible gun owners to pay for the damage caused by the small handful of irresponsible owners."
Same thing with owning a car. or smoking cigarettes. Laws aren't always made in this country to be fair. Many are made to reduce unnecessary deaths (stop signs, yield when a school bus makes a stop, , less people can afford to the high cost to smoke so now we have less people smoking cigarettes)
I can say just one word that is also not fair, TSA. It exists because there were deaths caused by a few irresponsible people.
I wish these pro-gun groups would see things unbiased for once. A new gun law is long overdue.
Who pays for TSA? Who pays for a stop sign? The general public pays, which is proper.
Using the tax code to protect people from themselves (cigarette taxes) is just plain wrong - as responsible adults we aren't supposed to need a nanny state to watch over our actions and make sure we don't hurt ourselves. It is none of govt.'s business whether I do or not.
"Unbiased" is almost funny - the anti gun crew is about as biased as you can get. They have an agenda - get rid of guns - and haven't a care about actual results, why they should have a right to control others or anything else. They just want guns gone and will use any excuse they can find. Biased? Just a little.
"as responsible adults " ?
Our responsible society is the most obese in the world. We have the highest number of prisons in the world. There is so much irresponsibility it is ridiculous. A new gun control law is imminent whether you need a nanny state or not.
DUI laws exist to protect innocent people from getting killed or seriously injured. Any device or instrument that can kill, and this one does it instantly, needs laws. It is logical and responsible. Teens and people over 18 do not need easy access to firearms. This argument can go on until our kids kids have children but it won't. A new form of gun control law is coming whether the public likes it or not. There's always a few loons with access to gun just like there are always a few people who do 70 mph in a 25 mph zone. A nanny is needed ( and quite better than a big brother, I couldn't resist.)
There will still be gun deaths, car accident deaths, swimming pool deaths, animal maulings, fans falling from bleachers to their deaths, suicides, overdoses, but if we can make some laws to stop some of the unnecessary deaths, then so be it whether it infringes on the responsible or not.
I have to agree with much of this. We will see additional gun control laws out of the tragedy - it is a convenient and popular whipping boy and will placate the populace. At least until it happens again, whereupon more controls well be added, with the same result of losing more of our children to a problem we refuse to address.
I also agree that Americans seem to be moving towards a nanny state. They want the controls, they want someone else to take responsibility for their lives, they want the false security that comes with big brother's "protection". They no longer demand the freedom or responsibility of caring for themselves. Unfortunate, and it will cost the country in the long run, but all too true.
Your comparison to DUI law doesn't work. DUI laws say you can't drink and drive. They don't ban alcohol.
We have laws that say you can't shoot people. So, you are, in essence with that argument arguing that we should ban alcohol and guns.
Which is fine. We banned drugs and gave the drug lords in Mexico a mechanism to get rich and powerful, and they kill children every day. Adding guns to the list of things they sell will result in more death. Much, much, much more death. And people will still have guns. They will be more deadly, because those cartels will have the economic incentive to build the networks, and once they have them set up, they won't stop at just selling the legal stuff we have now, they'll sell everything. Full auto, the whole enchilada.
Giving up freedom in exchange for safety is the road to tyranny. This has been known forever. Plato said, "Good people do not need laws to act responsibly, and bad people will find ways around those laws." Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Every time someone's loved one gets hurt or dies in the country, we reduce liberty and add more taxes in the name of safety.
Levying a tax is not going to accomplish anything in terms of gun violence. If that were the case, let's drop the tax on hotel rooms and maybe the homeless can move off the street. The problem associated with gun violence is not the guns but the people. We have a mental health issue which is manifesting itself in violence with guns. Eliminating guns will only divert the focus to some other component. The availability of guns is also a human issue in that those with mental issues are allowed to know how to access the guns in a household....a definite "no-no" in gun safety. Security is also a "human issue" in that we fail by declaring areas such as schools as "gun-free zones" literally making them targets for anyone with ill intent and willing to break the law. How many assaults have you heard of on gun ranges in the past few decades? Taking actions on guns as a solution to this scenario is nothing more than political symbolism and a step along the path of some sinister minds to disarm the American public entirely...one type of gun at a time. The Nazis had the Jewish people give up their guns in return for protection....that did not work out so well. We might also consider Marijuana...banning that did not eliminate it but simply raised the price on the illegal market. Maybe some of the concern over guns should focus on the hundreds if not thousands of partial-birth abortions which take place every year depriving all those children of their lives. Where is the outrage there? Oh, I forgot...it's legal.
Well said. The public attack on guns is ultimately going to be shown to be a red herring - a sop to the masses that will accomplish nothing but taking more freedom from them.
The sad part is that it will cost us more children, more slaughters, as we sit back so pleased with ourselves that we have fixed the problem forever.
I'm still here. Just reading the responses. Good discussion with a lot of well reasoned thoughts and ideas.
And no name calling. Wow!
I do want to remind everyone that the purpose of the proposed tax is strictly financial. The idea is not to ban fire-arms, just the reverse, it does not touch on gun laws at all. The idea is to shift the financial burden from everyone to those who own fire-arms. That's all it is proposed to do.
Why do owners of firearms have to be burdened financially for someone else's crimes? That's the part I can't get my mind wrapped around.
Why do car owners have to be burdened with registration fees and insurance? It's not a new idea. Far from it.
Insurance protects the driver as well as any harm he might cause to someone else through his negligence. You are asking me to pay because someone else may be negligent.
I don't see why the fund would be limited that way. Liability insurance is supposed to work because everyone is supposed to have it. No fault accidents often result in both parties suing each other's insurance carrier.
It would also protect, to some degree, an alleged shooter by limiting his/her liability to what the fund covers. Compensatory damage awards could become a thing of the past.
Still you are asking me to pay a tax for what someone else may do. If you want to burden me financially then require that I have insurance for damage I may cause, it still would be an infringement in my opinion but one I might be willing to accept...or not
Sounds good. If people want to play with objects typically designed to kill and injure, they should be insured. Now add licensed and registered to that, with a ban on high capacity clips, and AR-15s, and you got my vote.
I don't want or need your vote. I don't play with weapons that is the difference between you and I.
Sorry, but I've got to ask. What do you do that is serious with your weapons?
Before and during my military service I had a shotgun (Remington WingMaster), Lee-Enfield, 1911, AR7 (which was a joke), a Remington M7400 and some black-powder arms that I had made myself. They were kits from Spain and quite good. Those were my personal fire-arms, which, by the way, I was not allowed to have on base.
As a soldier I was issued or trained on the M16/M4, M203, M60 (my favorite), M2, M1911, Walther P38, and indirectly (as acting FO) an M109.
As a civilian, I never considered my weekly trip to the firing range a "serious" endeavor. I admired my weapons for a number of reasons. They were beautifully engineered and manufactured, the wood and steel used in their manufacture beautifully finished, and their ability to hit things at some distance remarkable. I also liked the smell of burnt powder and gun oil. Never during casual shooting did I imagine taking down anything other than a target or deer. Usually I imagined punching holes in paper as close to center as possible.
During military training I tried to concentrate on hitting what I aimed at and did not put much more thought into what that target might represent. You may find this hard to believe, but the military's primary goal is in getting the soldier to prepare the weapon, get a good site picture, control the breathing and fire when commanded to do so. Too much of a soldier's time is taken up concentrating on these things to devote a lot of thought to what you are actually shooting at.
This is by design.
Anytime I am using my weapons for whatever purpose I am serious. I don't take them apart just to take them apart, I don't just go to the gun range just to shoot and be around others. I take the time to carefully place shots and work on accuracy rather than speed. I don't handle the weapons unless I am using or cleaning them and I am very diligent about where they are kept when not in use. I was also in the military but it wasn't where I learned to shoot.
If you actually read what I had to say you'd see we are on the same page regarding gun safety. As to where you got your training I'm biased. I had instruction before the military, but I got the most from their training.
I read it and I understood, just was telling you. Yes the military taught me a lot of different things but I was very proficient before joining.
Don't play with your weapon? Do you sit gazing lovingly at it instead? Do you polish it until it's all shiny? Do you oil it so it's all smooth and lubricated, then put it through its paces? Sounds like a serious relationship. I wish you and it every happiness.
I've got to go with whoisit here, Liam.
Auto insurance is designed to protect someone else from my actions. No fault insurance has been instituted to reduce the enormous spending on lawsuits, not to actually add to the protection or to shift the cost of that protection. It does shift the cost, but when dealing with a statistical universe, such as insurance, the shift has no actual results. It is a paper shift only.
What you are proposing is to force one person to pay for the costs incurred by a second person. To "insure" if you will, a third party from the actions of a second party while being paid for by the first party. Auto insurance doesn't work that way. The second party (that causes the damage) is left entirely out of the cost/benefit equation.
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