A Silver Bullet Solution for Gun Control

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

It takes a split second and pennies to end a life but hours of surgery and months of rehab, often hundreds of thousands of dollars to save someone struck by a bullet.

Gabrielle Giffords, living proof of this lopsided human cost accounting, visited Newtown this week with her husband former astronaut Mark Kelly to rally support for efforts to prevent future gun violence

In a USA Today OpEd, they write, “We don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.”

As Joe Biden’s task force meets with anti-gun groups and prepares to confront NRA lobbyists, prospects are dim for meaningful political action anytime soon, barring any unlikely unilateral executive action.

Such a sad outlook recalls a proposal by the late Sen.Pat Moynihan two decades ago. The scholarly sociologist suggested that, since the nation is flooded with guns that will “last forever,” lawmakers concentrate on bullets instead.

“We have only a three-year supply of ammunition,” he observed, proposing a tax, not on bullets for hunting or target shooting, but those designed to penetrate armor and cause unspeakable damage to human bodies.

“Ten thousand percent,” he suggested to make a 20-cartridge pack cost $1,500. “Guns don’t kill people, bullets do.”

Since then, in Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine,” Chris Rock has raised the ante.

MORE.

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

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13 Comments

  1. Should the NRA (and arms manufacturers) pay for any medical expenses caused by gunshot wounds? Like other manufacturers have to pay for defective products, except this would be for effective products?

    Taxing the high capacity clips (or whatever they’re called, EE) nearly out of existence sounds fine to me. Let’s get the NRA right on it. They can drop their resistance to an effective ATF department while they’re at it.

  2. It seems to me that cheap counterfeit HCMs would flood the country. The only good thing about that would be that they might jam.
    Anybody contemplating an attack could simply start saving rounds at whatever price they are. And since most plan on their own suicide, cost isn’t a big factor.
    That said, I would still ban and make HCMs illegal.

  3. I doubt there is a high enough tax to dissuade stupid people. dd is right, counterfeits would be everywhere anyway. ( just like people who are willing to pay $10 for a pk of cigarettes, they buy the cheapos at $5). Stupid always finds a way.
    Again, I am the broken record here at TMV, but I want the 2nd amendment repealed. Not rescinded, not revoked, but repealed. A replacement of the amendment.
    It needs to be rewritten for today’s world.
    Those who wish to hunt and shoot for sport SHOULD be allowed their rifles to do so. Hand guns, semi-automatics, and everything else not used for those purposes should be relegated to military and law enforcement personnel only.

  4. I would also say that the efforts to use cost to restrict guns is, well, discriminatory at best. It basically removes a right from poor people and disproportionately so from minorities. We are ok with the well off white people being armed but those other people scare us.

  5. “I would also say that the efforts to use cost to restrict guns is, well, discriminatory at best. It basically removes a right from poor people and disproportionately so from minorities.”

    I find such concern to make sure that poor people and minorities have equal access to guns very touching and commendable…

  6. Taxing the high capacity clips (or whatever they’re called, EE) nearly out of existence sounds fine to me. Let’s get the NRA right on it.

    One thing I’ve never understood on the high-capacity magazine argument: When I go duck or pheasant hunting I’m limited to 3 shells in the the gun – 1 in the chamber and 2 in the magazine. I need to, by law, have a plug in the magazine to limit its capacity to 3 shells. I’ve never heard anyone complain that they needed more shells, nor have I heard of the NRA working to increase the shell capacity to greater than 3. If 3 shells is enough for ducks why are any more than 3 needed in other arms?

  7. “I find such concern to make sure that poor people and minorities have equal access to guns very touching and commendable…”

    If we were discussing a constitutional right other than the 2nd, I don’t think we would be considering restricting exercising the right through economic means. Whatever is done, needs to be consistent for all.

  8. Hi Suza1,

    Could you expand upon/clarify your comment:

    If we were discussing a constitutional right other than the 2nd, I don’t think we would be considering restricting exercising the right through economic means. Whatever is done, needs to be consistent for all.

    Thanks

  9. Dorian,
    Well, to choose another controversial issue, what if a 10 thousand percent tax on abortion were proposed? Of course the purpose would be to economically outlaw it, with the practical end result of making it economically legal for some and economically illegal for others.

    By placing a 10 thousand percent tax on the most powerful weaponry, you essentially skew the balance of power, literally, between the classes.

  10. Thanks ZusaI.

    I think I now understand what you are trying to say and I guess I should have made it clear that my comments complimenting the concern that poor people and minorities may not have equal (economic) access to guns, were intended to be satirical, sarcastic, etc.

    But now that you have shown the same concern that “some classes” may not be able to have access to “the most powerful weaponry” that “others” do, I will say the following, and it is not meant to be sarcastic at all:

    I wish the gun lobby and its sympathizers would have the same concern and urgency to make sure that minorities and the poor have equal access to medical care, housing, other essentials as the compassion and concern they apparently have to ensure that these minorities and poor have equal access to guns as the “more fortunate” do.

  11. Dorian,
    I understood your statement to be sarcastic. My comments are not regarding the government taking action to ensure equal access, they are regarding the government taking action to ensure unequal access.

    “But now that you have shown the same concern that “some classes” may not be able to have access to “the most powerful weaponry” that “others” do”

    My comments are not regarding what weaponry anyone should have. It is regarding the means to make something unlawful. By using a 10 thousand percent tax in lieu of making something unlawful, you are in practice placing the wealthy above the law.

  12. Z, as reported today in the NYT, a fellow recently sold an AR-15 he bought for $500 for $1700. Now that’s the American way. Guns are flying of the shelves, and I’m sure going up I-95 from the South to NYC illegaly. Terrific, the big mouths in DC are helping gun sales by over reaching as usual.
    BTW: There are plenty of people in the U.S. that can’t afford the more expensive semis, both rifle and hand types so rising prices will ensure the next murderer will either be well off or good at burglary.

  13. I understand Suza, and I was commenting on the fact that — apparently — one of our commenters is concerned that efforts to use cost to restrict guns would disproportionately make it more difficult for the poor and minorities to buy guns.

    My reaction is that we should be more concerned about making sure that our poor and minorities have better access to adequate medical care, housing, education and other basic services before we worry about access to guns — and that applies access to weapons of mass human destruction to everyone, the rich and the poor.

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