In the renewed discussion about gun control in America after the Newtown massacre, I wish to put forward an idea that may work and is perfectly legal.
The right to bear arms in America dates back to 1791 provided by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights. At that time, the machine gun and other sophisticated weapons had not been invented yet. It is obvious now that the Constitution needs to be updated regarding modern firearms. However, changing the Constitution is out of the question because it requires an impossible two-third majority among all the 50 states in order to become law.
Talking about public safety regarding firearms is a waste of time. For decades, we have been talking about this every time after a massacre in a school or a public place. The pro-gun people, especially the powerful National Rifle Association, have succeeded in drowning all the public outcries for gun control. The argument has always been “We have the right to defend ourselves. Don’t take away our freedom! Guns don’t kill. People kill.” However, they never mention the fact that a deranged murderer with a pistol kills more people by just pulling the trigger. He will sure kill more if you give him a machine gun.
This paralysis about gun control can be overcome much easier with taxation. People generally accept being taxed. They only complain when taxes are too high. In life, we must pay taxes on nearly everything although we hate them. So, let me recommend the following taxes on arms:
Knife or sword: regular tax applies.
Pistol: 200% tax.
Machine gun: 2000%.
Attack drone: 5000%
Stealth bomber: 10,000%
The list goes on based on the devastating effects of the weapon. Now every weapon made in the US is available for sale to the public if you can afford the tax. How does that sound? Does it give you enough freedom? Nobody can possibly object to this due to the following reasons:
First, we let the free market do the regulating. The free market is considered sacred by many naïve Americans although it is by no means free in reality because the big guys control it. The point is: Everyone should have the right to own arms but not everyone can afford them. The same is true that everyone has the right to own a car but few can afford a Rolls Royce. You can only blame yourself if you cannot afford a luxury car.
Second, everybody will benefit including: people with money who can buy as much as they want; the government which just keeps on taxing; the arms dealers who can focus on catering only to those who can afford. What about those who cannot afford? Well, we cannot afford many things besides guns. No big deal! That’s life, isn’t it?
Third, the government has every right to impose taxes, which the US Constitution allows. Recently, the US Supreme Court has ruled that the health care reform known as Obamacare forcing citizens to buy health insurance is legal because it can be considered as a tax. In addition, US laws require that car owners should buy car insurance in order to drive on the road; and people comply with few complaints.
Fourth, if the government controls guns via taxation, the question of gun rights will fade in the national debate, and thus will not waste people’s time. The focus will instead shift to the effects of the gun tax on the economy and on jobs. This will naturally lead to discussions about the weapons industry and its importance in the US economy. So let us shine a spotlight on the weapons industry and its business network. It will be interesting to find out if the US weapons industry is as big as other major sectors such as banks, aerospace, electronics and automobiles. I suspect it may be the biggest of all, considering how much money and blood the US has wasted on foreign wars.
Despite the simplicity of my proposal, I have doubts that it can fly. Why? Can you imagine the weapons industry wants to be more transparent about their business? They’d rather prefer the public to remain ignorant about their operations so that they can do business as usual. Furthermore, no legislators have the guts to support high taxation on guns and other weapons for fear of being voted out of office. So children and innocent people will continue to die while the nation continues to talk and debate about the rights of gun ownership.