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The Political and Religious Views of a Not Quite Normal Citizen of the Greatest Country in the World

Friday, February 23, 2018

My Gun Proposal

Recent event have had me thinking of what kind of common sense gun laws were should have at the Federal level. I think I've come up with some that can work, but may not be too popular. Let's see what you think.

1. Gun Owners Must Have A Firearms License: This is a blanket license that will be like a drivers license, in that it will have different endorsements. Each type of weapon (revolver, semi-automatic pistol, rifle, shotgun, etc) will be it's own endorsement. The license itself will require the completion of a 40 Hour general gun safety course. Each endorsement will require a specific 10 Hour safety course on that type of weapon. The license can be renewed every two years without additional courses. The endorsements, however, will require another 1 Hour refresher course every two years.

In addition to the safety courses, applicants will be required to pass a mental health screening and an in-home inspection of where the firearms are to be stored. Both or these requirements will be required for each renewal.

This would be a National License, so that the requirements can be standardized across all States, and all aspects will be supervised by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That means that this will be a National registry of everyone that is qualified to own a firearm.

2. Gun Owners Must Carry Specific Firearms Liability Insurance: Just like you're required to have liability for your car, you need to be liable for your weapons. Each owner can have one policy, but each individual weapon must be covered. These would be recorded by serial number and only allowed to be removed with a copy of a bill of sale or certificate of destruction (see below). If your gun is stolen and used in a crime you would still be liable, since you didn't take adequate preventative measures to keep it in your possession.

3. Each Firearm Owned Must Have A Permit: This would be a locally governed item and must be done for every weapon. The first step would be to have the correct endorsement on your license (see #1). Beyond that it would be up to the local jurisdiction as to what is required. No sale of a weapon will be allowed without a valid permit for said weapon.

What I would like to see, though, is that the permit process is integral to buying the weapon, since it would be tied to the serial number (like the insurance). That would allow for a built in waiting period, since you'd need to go through the permit process after selecting the firearm you want to purchase.

This would also allow vendors at gun shows to take orders, but not to hand over weapons, as the permit process would still have to be observed.

4. Fully Automatic Weapons, And Parts To Convert Weapons Into Such, Will Be Fully Illegal: Yes, I know that this is technically already on the books, but I'd like to see it expanded for items like bump stocks and anything that would make a weapon behave like it's fully automatic.

5. Those Found With Unpermitted Firearms, Without A Valid Firearms License, Or Without Liability Insurance Will Be Fined $10,000 And Jailed For A Minimum Of Two Years, Per Offense: Yup, this is harsh, but I think it's a tool that law enforcement needs. This way, if someone has a single uninsured, unpermitted firearm and they don't have a license, the can spend 6 years in jail and will owe $30,000. That just might make people think twice about what they want to do.

6. The Use Of A Firearm In The Commission of Any Crime Will Immediately Double the Minimum Sentence And Remove the Possibility of Parole: Let's say that robbery is punishable by 2 years minimum in prison. If you used a gun for that crime, then you now must spend at least 4 years in prison and can't be paroled. Again, this just might make people think twice.

7. Ammunition Will Not Be Allowed To Be Sold Online: Right now anyone that wants to buy Sudafed has to produce their drivers license at the pharmacy. This would make it the same for ammunition. You'd have to drive to a physical location and produce your firearms license in order to buy ammunition. This will then be entered into the ATF system so they can see who's buying what and how often. Controlling the weapons helps, but weapons can't fire without ammunition.

8. Private Owners Will Only Be Allowed To Sell To A Store Or Surrender To The Police: In order to get rid of a weapon, it can either be turned into the police, who will destroy it, or owners can sell it to a valid firearms dealer. This would generate either a certificate of destruction or a bill of sale, either of which can be used to remove a weapon from the insurance policy above. Selling to another private owner will no longer be allowed, which should increase the ability to track weapons.

I should also point out that no one would be grandfathered in under these rules. There would be a grace period to get the license, permits, and insurance, but EVERYONE would be required to go through the process for themselves and each weapon they own.

Are these fairly strict? Yes, they are. Will they stop gun violence? No, they won't. I would hope, however, that they would reduce the instances of mass shootings, as well as give law enforcement more tools to make us all safer.

I would love to hear rational, thought out opinions on this. What changes/additions would you have to this list?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Lose an Argument

Recently I've been thinking about the discourse, or lack there of, regarding many things. Whether it's politics, religion, geek fandom, or whatever you discuss with someone, there are two ways to do it. You can either be civil and respectful, calmly discussing differences of opinions, or you can act like a child. Unfortunately, it seems like most people today want to act like children, either throwing a tantrum when they don't get their way, or rubbing their victory in the faces of their opponents. So, I'm hear to tell you, in no uncertain terms, how you can immediately make yourself lose an argument.

It's really a lot simpler than you might think. When you boil it all down, it turns out that the one true and certain way to lose is start name calling. Once you get to that point, you obviously have no further valid points to make, so you have to start attacking your opponent, and not their viewpoint.

Let's break it down, just in case that wasn't obvious enough. Once you accuse the person you're disagreeing with/about of being one of the following, you can just walk away, because you've lost.

1. Hitler/Nazi - This is an oldy but a goody. It seems like every time someone in power does something people don't like, they're suddenly Hitler and those that agree with them are Nazis. Let's get this right out there, there was one Hitler and he was, and this is what I have told my daughter, the single most evil person in history. So let's not be so free in comparing people to him, alright? Now, as for "Nazi", unless someone specifically says that they are a Nazi, or were a member of the National Socialist Party in Germany in the 1930's & 1940's, then they aren't a Nazi. You calling them that does not make it so, and just shows how low YOU are willing to go.

2. Communist - Just like in #1, unless someone tells you that they are a communist, they aren't. You remember Senator McCarthy, right? Don't be like him.

3. Racist - I'm not going to tell you that there isn't racism in the world. Heck, I'm not even going to tell you that you might be valid in calling someone a racist, under certain circumstances. However, if someone disagrees with your point, and you happen to have different ethnicities, they probably aren't racist for disagreeing with you. Just like anyone who was white that disagreed with President Obama wasn't being racist, those in that are not white who disagree with President Trump aren't being racist. Let's stop throwing that word around without justification, OK?

4. Sexist - Yup, just like racist. Disagreeing with/about someone of the opposite gender from you doesn't make you sexist. Do you want to know what does make you sexist? Making gender the primary reasoning for anything where gender doesn't matter. Here's an example: "She's the best person for the job because she has these qualifications" is not a sexist statement, but "She's the best person for the job because we need more women in that position" is sexist.

5. Uneducated - This one really gets me. Calling someone uneducated, stupid, what-have-you, because they don't agree with you is the ultimate in pomposity. "If you were smarter, you'd agree with me" is probably the single most annoying thing that I hear. So, what's the minimum level of education where you're allowed to have an opinion? In my mind, everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you think they need more education about a topic, then EDUCATE THEM, don't insult them. Layout your facts and let them draw their own conclusions. Of course, they might just educate you right back, which isn't a problem, in my opinion.

There are many more examples, but these seem to be the top five that I hear constantly. Here's a simple rule, if your opponent can do the old "Sticks and Stones..." bit from grade school to what you just said, you've lost.

I hope this helps everyone out there to start being a bit more civil in their discourse.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Voting Decisions

The other day we were having a family discussion on voting, which I've written about before, and my 7 year old daughter asked me if there was ever a time it that I wouldn't vote. I explained to her that no, I would always vote. Not only is it my right, but it's my obligation as a citizen. Sitting home and letting any voting day go by without going to my polling place just doesn't make sense to me.

Then she asked what if I didn't have anyone I wanted to vote for? You see, I've already explained to her that I need to find the candidate that's most closely aligned with my world view. I don't care what the letter is after their name, if they align with me then that's who I'm voting for. That being said, I've already told her that I'm not voting for either of the two presumptive nominees for the Big Two, since I don't think either of them will do a good job.*

So, to answer the question, if I don't find anyone who I feel that I can vote for in a given position, then I'll write in my own name. At least then I know that I've cast a vote for someone that I can agree with. The conversation then got into the mechanics of the voting booth, so I won't bore you with that, but I'm very happy that a girl of 7 is asking about this stuff.

* And don't give me any of that "throwing your vote away" crap. People blindly voting for a party rather than a person is what's got us into this mess. At least I'll be able to sleep at night.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Unified Theory of Santa Claus

I figured that I'd write up something that I told my daughter this past holiday season. You never know, this might just be useful to some of you parents out there. It concerns Santa and how he operates. I freely admit that some of this is stolen borrowed for the great comic series Fables, mainly how Santa makes it to each house.

Here's how it goes:

Santa is magical and doesn't need to stop at each individual house one after the other. He actually creates duplicates of himself and they are what travels to each house. Each house has it's own Santa, and that one is customized for the household.

So, if you have a house in the United States, Santa is dressed in the familiar red with white trim (thank you Coca Cola). If the house in in the United Kingdom, then Santa looks like Father Christmas. Along these same lines, if the house has a white family, then the Santa is white. If it's a black family, then Santa is black, and so on.

No, the guys in the malls, town halls, museums, or where-ever you go to meet Santa aren't really him, but they are, in fact, his helpers. These men (and women, where Mrs. Claus is around) have a direct line to Santa and they tell him what each child said to them. So, while the child is not really talking to Santa, Santa will know what was said.

Even though he doesn't require a chimney to enter a house (remember, he's magic), Santa does need permission. This permission can come in several forms. The one our family uses is something called a "Santa Key" that we leave outside on the door knob. Santa uses this to enter the house and he then hangs it on the tree.

So, there you have it. My unified theory of Santa Claus that, I think, helps explain some of the "unexplainable" things about him. Feel free to adopt or adapt this for your own use, and please let me know how it works for you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Comfort Zone

Yeah, I know I haven't posted anything in awhile, and that's primarily because I haven't had anything to say, of substance, on politics or religion recently. Today, however, I want to talk about something that came up recently. You see, because I'm not a Christian, people tend to think that I get uncomfortable when something Christian comes up. This couldn't be further from the truth.

You see, I was raised as a Roman Catholic, going to CCD, etc, so I know a lot about Christianity. When I was in High School, everything that I had learned about the religion and my world view had a disconnect, so I left that faith. I eventually found my own path, but that was due to a large amount of research on my part. Consequently, I probably know more about the bible than most Christians do, although I can't quote it chapter and verse.

Due to this journey that I went on, I'm perfectly happy talking to people about religion, Christianity or some other, as long as it's a reasoned discourse and not, "You're going to Hell!" (My typical response to this is "Yes, but it only has one "L", which tends to get me odd looks.) So, if you want to discuss religion, please feel free to. I might just jump in and tell you something you didn't know, so be warned.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Yuletide Greetings

I would like to wish everyone that reads this blog a Glad Yule. I know it's been rather quite around here this year. I can't guarantee that will change in 2015, but I know I'm going to try and post more over here, specifically continuing the "My Worldview" stuff.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Worthy Cause

Event LogoMy buddy, Paul Spataro, is raising money for Pancreatic Cancer Research. If you have a few bucks to drop in the jar, please consider donating here. Thanks.