You say you want “common sense gun safety” laws. Fine. Propose them. Specifically.
Specifically. Don’t issue vague wishes about “mental health,” and “safety.” Don’t use the term “assault weapon” unless you live in a state that has defined that term in law. Know the differences between “assault weapon” (where such exists), “assault rifle,” and “machine gun;” and do not use the wrong term in discussion; it makes you look ignorant at best.
Do tell us exactly what you intend; preferably by providing the text of law you propose. Be prepared to address the following points:
- If your rationale for a law refers to semiautomatic firearms as “military-grade,” “military-style,” or “weapons of war,” identify the nation which uses semiautomatic rifles as standard issue to regular troops.
- If your rationale is based on “90% or (whatever number you like today) of Americans want,” please show where that number was proven in an actual referendum.
- If your rationale references “militia,” please know what the militia is, and the legal differences between the militia, national guard, and standing army.
- If your rational includes “if it saves a single child/person,” explain why the converse — if it results in a single innocent’s harm — does not count.
- If you are banning and/or confiscating any firearms, explain how you will locate the items when you don’t even know how many there are.
- If you are licensing gun owners, explain how you will identify them when you don’t know to the nearest ten million how many of them are out there.
- If your law purports to address “gun violence,” explain why it would be imposed on the 99.9814% of gun owners who aren’t the problem.
- Similarly, explain how a restriction will not be a prior restraint, nor violate due process.
- Explain how you will induce criminals to comply with the law, when they don’t comply now.
- Given the low compliance rates with other firearms laws, explain why people will comply with this one. Explain how you will deal with malicious compliance.
- If you are reinstating something that failed to reduce gun violence in the past, explain why it would be different this time.
- If you are expanding a restriction, explain how it will improve the situation.
- If you are expanding the definition of “prohibited person,” please research existing law to see if those people are already prohibited.
- In any case, please understand your own law.
- Your law must include a stated goal and metrics to determine if it is accomplishing that goal, and an automatic sunset clause to end the law if it does not work by its own metrics.
- If your law involves federal employee action such as adding a prohibited person to NICS or conducting a NICS check, include penalties for failing to do the job properly, with particular penalties those who act maliciously. Individual penalties.
- If your proposed law conflicts with other laws, explain how you will resolve the conflict.
That’s a starting point. TL;DR: know the subject and honestly address all aspects you can think of. If you cannot address those points intelligently and honestly, there is no reason why gun owners should take you seriously as anything but a threat to constitutionally-guaranteed human/civil rights.
If you propose something in reaction to a specific event, do not whine when someone questions how your proposal would have prevented that event. In wake of The Sandy Hook, Mandalay Bay, and Sutherland Springs church shootings, I have heard “gun safety” advocates call for “expanded” background checks; in these cases “expanded” means requiring privates sales to go through NICS as FFL dealers already do.
Both of the Mandalay Bay and Sutherland Springs shooters went through — and passed — multiple NICS checks. The Sandy Hook killer bypassed checks by killing his mother and stealing her guns. This causes knowledgeable gun owners to wonder what the advocates’ real agenda and goals are. Or if they are simply ignorant.
Many of those advocates also decry the elimination of the Obama administration rule that placed thousands of Social Security disability recipients on the prohibited persons list used by NICS. Congress blocked that rule because it violated federal laws (yes, plural) regarding adjudication and due process, not because they want crazy people to have guns. Such claims — again — cause informed people to question the advocates’ agenda or intelligence.
Sadly, at this point, having given a gun controller facts, the response devolves into, “You’re a heartless person who doesn’t care about people — CHILDREN! — being killed and hurt!”
I care enough to spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours on defensive firearms, ammunition, training, practice, maintenance, licensing, and studying rules and laws in order to protect myself, family, and friends. I’ve trained other people in how to protect themselves, and occasionally provided one with a firearm or other tool until they could afford their own.
So what have the gun controllers done, other than trying to pass laws to stop me?
Tell me again about those common sense gun laws you want. Intelligently and honestly.