Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 01.18.13
Just Outside Washington


License all guns, and tax ammo, too

Dear US Senator Kaine and US Senator Warner,

First, some background. I am a veteran, a gun owner, and a good shot.

I had sense enough to leave the NRA in the 1970s when the NRA set out to promote gun ownership, promote a legislative agenda, and change the interpretation of the Second Amendment. The NRA and its political allies have spent forty years promoting fear of the "government" and the need for guns to protect oneself from the government.

In my opinion, there is no justification for normal citizens owning military type weapons, specifically assault rifles like the AR 15 with removable and large capacity magazines -- particularly when fully automatic conversion kits are available for sale from magazines or the Internet. However, any law passed by the Congress to ban these weapons will not do anything about those assault weapons in the almost 300 million guns in circulation in the US.

The NRA and the gun manufacturers have spent forty years hampering government at the local, state, and federal level from passing any laws or regulations relating to gun control or data gathering on guns and gun violence.

While the gun proponents have said for years that "the government should enforce the laws that are on the books," it has lobbied against funding said enforcement. As a result, few states license gun dealers, many have laws against restricting carrying in bars, schools, and churches, gun-related data collection and transfer have been restricted, and the ATF has been restricted by Congress in its enforcement.

I think that 30,000 gun deaths per year in the US are unacceptable and we need laws at the local, state, and federal level to deal with this issue. I agree with the gun proponents that both mental health and the availability of violent movies, games, etc., are contributing factors. Addressing these aspects of the gun-violence problem raises even tougher constitutional issues than the Second Amendment.

So what is my solution?

For starters, I would require licensing all guns. This could be done at the state level in a manner very similar to licensing cars and drivers. Second, since we are arming schools (also, the NRA's suggestion), I would tax guns and ammo sales to pay for the armed guards at schools.


Frank Bernheisel
A constituent from Virginia