Firearms: Not just a right, but a responsibility

Firearms play a very important role in our society. Their uses are numerous: protection of our lands from invasion, hunting for food and sport, as well as individual self protection. Because of this, the ability to keep and bear arms is a right, specifically cited and protected in the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution. However, despite this protection, and in outright defiance of that amendment’s call to secure the state, less than half of US homes have firearms in them. I believe this is due to the cost of firearms ownership, a lack of competition by firearms manufacturers, and the lack of access to ranges on which to shoot.

My friends, we have a crisis–no one can deny this. Our National Security is suffering: Chapter 13, United States Code Title 10 calls “all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age …[and] female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard” to be in the militia of the United States, yet less than half of these people would be able to bring a firearm to the fight, if called. Our personal security is suffering–and it is costing taxpayers: a recent article states that in one section of the country, residents pay approximately $1300 each to pay the salaries of their police force. Does anyone think that police services are getting better? Finally, hunting is suffering: the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation pegs the national participation rate of hunting at only 5% (link to PDF document here). Clearly we must act to bring the cost of firearm ownership down, in order to protect this Constitutional right.

To that end, I have come up with a number of proposals, which if enacted, would increase competition and bring down the cost , ensuring access to firearm ownership for all persons living in the United States, bolstering our National Security in the process. But first, let me state this: if you like the firearms you already own, you can keep them. No one is telling you that you must change firearms. I want to be clear about that. Now, on to my plan:

First, I would create the Firearm Bureau of Law Enforcement (FaBLE). This would be a federally operated office, with a cabinet-level secretary which would coordinate firearm sales, training, manufacture, and availability–virtually every aspect of firearm ownership. The FaBLE Secretary would be responsible for:

– Determining the minimum firearm package which qualifies under the new law, but as a minimum would include one handgun, one shotgun, and one rifle (scoped). The secretary would determine which cartridge sizes qualify, as well as the minimum power scope.

– Ensuring adequate training in firearms for each person living in the United States by determining minimum range services which must be offered at local ranges and establishing a minimum concealed carry training curriculum.

– Establish personal ammunition storage standards, and ensure adequate supply of each qualifying cartridge is available.

– Establish minimum hunting license and permit requirements.

– Create, through FaBLE, a firearm/ammunition/training/hunting (FAiTH) exchange which would provide for cost-effective firearms, training, and ammunition, regardless of ability to pay.

Obviously, firearm ownership is not only a right, but a personal responsibility, and all persons in the US must accept that responsibility. To this end, each household would be required to purchase the minimum FAiTH package determined by the FaBLE Secretary. Subsidies would be available to households at or below 175% of the poverty level. These would be funded by eliminating fraud and waste in the existing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) programs, as well as various taxes on non-qualifying firearms and ammunition, elective guided big-game hunting expeditions, and training classes above and beyond the minimum training established by the FaBLE Secretary.

Please join me in supporting this important initiative. I’m sure we can all agree that this will transform the United States, and be an historic precedent.