By Emil William Chynn, MD, MBA
Let me start by establishing my credibility to both sides of the debate. As a teenager, I was a Junior Member of the NRA. This was an extension of my positive introduction to guns in the Boy Scouts, where I earned the Rifle Merit Badge on my way to becoming an Eagle Scout. By college, I was a member of Handgun Control, an organization that gained broader recognition after James Brady was paralyzed by John Hinckley during his attempted assassination of President Reagan. I didn’t see any incongruity between appreciating the skill of target shooting and even hunting, and wanting to reduce homicides and suicides with reasonable gun restrictions.
Americans must find a common ground to reduce the needless deaths caused by handguns and automatic weapons. To put this carnage into perspective, more civilians have been killed by guns in the last 50 years than all the soldiers who died in all wars since the American Revolution—about 1.5 million. Every day in the U.S., about 32 people are murdered with a gun, and 58 people commit suicide. That’s two Orlando tragedies each day. No other industrialized country approaches this level of death by gun.
Although many bright minds have offered common-sense proposals to reduce gun deaths, to date nobody has compiled a comprehensive list. By doing so, I hope to make obvious that so many good potential solutions exist, every American—Democrat, Republican, or Independent—should agree that something can and must be done.
Some items on this list will cause disbelief in those who haven’t been following this issue closely. Readers may wonder how certain items could even be controversial. Hopefully, this will “trigger” people to get off the sidelines and to get involved.
So here’s a list (in no particular order) of 30 Ways to Decrease Gun Deaths in America:
- Restrict the sale of automatic and semi-automatic weapons to law enforcement and the military.
- Restrict the size of magazines for automatic and semi-automatic weapons (to allow people to jump a killer while he is reloading).
- Ban the sale of armor-piercing bullets to the general public (makes killing cops harder).
- Require people to pass a proficiency test before buying a gun (similar to a driver’s test).
- Require people to register their guns with a national database (to aid law enforcement to trace guns used in crimes and retrieve guns from persons who have become legally prohibited from possessing guns).
- Limit the number of guns an individual may purchase to no more than one gun per month (to hinder weapons trafficking).
- Require guns to be stored unloaded in a gun safe in households with minor children.
- Require ammunition to be stored in a locked safe in households with minor children.
- Limit ammunition sales to no more than 100 rounds per month (with no limits on ammunition used at gun ranges).
- Require new guns to employ existing microstamping technology (which marks each cartridge uniquely, to facilitate tracing casings found at crimes).
- Prohibit gun purchases by those with a violent felony conviction or a non-felony domestic violence conviction.
- Prevent gun purchases by those on the terrorist watch list.
- Prevent gun purchases by those on the no-fly list.
- Expand Federal law requiring a background check before purchasing a gun to include sales at gun shows, on the internet, and between private sellers.
- Increase gun background check time from 3 to 10 days (to allow for better checks—and a “cooling off period”).
- Require gun sellers at gun shows and on the internet to get a license (like gun store owners).
- Require those selling more than 20 guns per year to obtain a dealer’s license.
- Remove the prohibition on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study how to prevent gun deaths.
- Require gun owners to carry liability insurance (similar to mandatory car insurance).
- Repeal the 2005 Federal law that specifically exempts gun manufacturers and dealers from liability suits.
- Require gun manufacturers to devote 1% of their net income to researching how to improve technology for “safe guns” that can only be fired by their legal owner (existing fingerprint matching technology can be foiled by dirt).
- Expand the 1968 Federal law preventing persons involuntarily committed to mental institutions from purchasing guns to those who voluntarily commit themselves.
- Allow family members with a court order to temporarily prohibit mentally unstable/incompetent people from buying/possessing guns.
- Allow law enforcement with a court order to temporarily prohibit mentally unstable/incompetent people from buying/possessing guns.
- Expand the “Safe to Tell Hotline” used in Colorado, where people can call a hotline to anonymously report people who may be unsafe to own guns, so law enforcement can investigate.
If any of the above proposals strike you as sensible, please take the next step and:
- Sign a petition at www.MoveOn.org.
- Write to your senator or congressman.at www.ContactingTheCongress.org.
- Donate to, or join a gun control/gun safety organization, such as www.BradyCampaign.org.
- Vote for candidates who support gun control/gun safety measures.
- Share your views with your friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, etc.
Dr. Chynn is a new columnist at WestView News and can be contacted at: dr@ParkAvenueLASEK.com.
Dr. Chynn received his MD from Columbia and his MBA from NYU, is a member of MENSA, had a letter published in The NY Times which was the impetus for NY Restaurant Week, has been featured in the NYT and Wall Street Journal and on every major TV network, was the 1st doctor to help at Ground Zero on 9/11, and is the owner of www.ParkAvenueLASEK.com