Reasonable Gun Control

I’m going to post something political. If you’re actually here to read this, please do read the whole thing. Frankly I’m not a huge fan of politics anymore because it seems that they’re just so polarized that it’s impossible to really talk about any issue that matters without simply turning the conversation into a screaming match of equally opposed sides. I hope as you read you’ll give me the chance to actually tell you my thoughts on this.

It’s clear that there needs to be additional legislation to support gun safety in the United States. Even if you’re ardently “pro-gun” you shouldn’t deny this is the case given how much energy there is supporting gun legislation in some parts of the nation. However, it’s also clear that simply ‘disarming’ all civilians is not a thing that should happen. So many “anti-gun” folks seem to think only police should have guns, but also then spin around and support reducing the effectiveness of the police. This leaves only criminals with guns.

There’s really no counter-argument to either of the points above. It is true that we need government intervention to stop things like mass shootings. It is insane that a disturbed person is able to arm themselves with enough firepower to kill many people in a short period of time. We should not allow this. Similarly, it is insane to believe that we should limit civilian ownership of firearms while also limiting the power of the police. Then it seems that the only remaining option is a stronger police force, with diminished civilian access to guns, right? Certainly many countries have gone in that direction. But this third option is very much not the law or the doctrine of the United States.

So what can we actually do to solve the problem of gun ownership? Please keep in mind that so much of the legislation that has already been tried does very little to reduce real crime. To prove this point, consider the reaction to the horrible mass shooting in a grocery store by a man with an ‘AR pistol’. The designation of ‘pistol’ for certain AR type weapons is controversial. Today, the designation depends on whether or not a specific piece of the weapon qualifies it as a pistol or rifle. The Biden administration immediately set off to get the ATF to classify ‘pistol braces’ as illegal without additional registration and special handling.

But how would such a law have actually changed anything in this case? Would a determined mass murderer have decided to carefully register their weapon before going out to kill? Would the mass murderer carefully consider how illegal it is to attach a certain type of ‘brace’ to their gun before taking it to kill? Only legal gun owners carefully work to follow these rules. So the complexity of them, the cost to follow them, it only harms law abiding citizens. It also does very little to stop any real criminal determined to do great harm.

The Solution

I’m not even joking I think this is the actual solution. Frankly I’m kind of annoyed that we’re not doing this. Perhaps I’m just being a fool and I don’t see how this doesn’t work. But if I’m not being a fool – then I’m ashamed we as a nation aren’t working harder to solve real problems, and save real lives through the following method.

“A well regulated militia”; but what does that really mean? To be ‘well regulated’ is to be well trained, armed, disciplined, and equipped. We don’t use the word ‘regulated’ like this much in the 21st century. But if you rephrase the second amendment it makes perfect sense this way. Try replacing the word ‘regulated’ with some of the aforementioned words and you’ll see they fit.

  • “A well trained militia being necessary to the security of a free state.”
  • “A well armed militia being necessary to the security of a free state.”
  • “A well equipped militia being necessary to the security of a free state.”
  • “A well disciplined militia being necessary to the security of a free state.”

This is literally the problem with modern gun control I think. Our use of the word ‘regulated’ today is often only in the judicial sense. However, there is clearly a right to own firearms (and other weapons) in the second amendment. So attempts to simply refuse to allow civilians to possess firearms have often being restricted by the courts. If our lawmakers understood the actual use of regulated in this context, then the answer should be obvious.

Gun control legislation should require training and discipline of firearm owners. It is actually explicitly in the second amendment that ‘regulation’ is part of the militia. The government can require training and discipline that would make the ‘militia’ better at doing its job. This includes the training and discipline necessary to ensure that the ‘militia’ is not simply arming mass murderers who wish to go out and do harm to others.

Here is what you do. Pass a law that says essentially the following:

  • All gun owners are required to pass yearly marksmanship training
  • All gun owners are required to pass yearly small unit tactics training
  • All gun owners are required to pass yearly defensive tactics training
  • All first time gun owners must undertake an intensive 2 week training course

You pass these laws, you are literally following exactly what the 2A asks for. You are enabling the militia to protect the free state. You are providing training that ensures safety, and helps dissuade invasion and crime. Guess what else you have just solved:

  • A suicidal person does not want to go through a 2 week training course to purchase a firearm.
    • They are also likely to be identified in the training course in many circumstances and can be failed from the course and potentially offered assistance.
  • A mass shooter does not want to go through a 2 week training course to purchase a firearm.
    • They are also likely to be identified in the training course and can be failed and reported.
  • A criminal who needs a gun for violent crime does not want to go through the required 2 week initial course or yearly training.
    • They likely don’t want to look the instructors in the eye at all.
  • Folks who just want a gun but don’t take it seriously enough to be safe don’t want to do yearly training
  • Unsafe gun owners who mean well but aren’t well trained are now forced to take training or turn in their firearms.

Essentially what you’re doing with this scheme is creating a lightweight version of the national guard. Something that is far more accessible to the average person, but with real training and requirements. That is far closer to the intention of the second amendment and it would be hard for a court to challenge this type of regulation I think.


A note here real quick. This must always be paid for training. You cannot expect folks who are required to take the training to pay for it. Otherwise this is just a way to make sure only the rich can afford firearms. The training must be subsidized by the tax payer – end of discussion.

About the author

Professional hacker & security engineer. Currently at Google, opinions all my own. On Twitter as @zaeyx. Skydiver, snowboarder, writer, weightlifter, runner, energetic to the point of being a bit crazy.

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