Mike: We should not restrict guns but their owners are different story

Jan 13, 2020, 6:59 PM

guns, assault weapons, gun, 1639, 1639 gun initiative, gun tax...

Guns. (KIRO 7 image)

(KIRO 7 image)

If you are a commercial pilot or general contractor likely you understand the value of licensing; So why not license gun owners?

Tell me I’m wrong.

Yesterday, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker dropped out of the race for U.S. President. The Democrat simply wasn’t getting any traction in the polls. And this is too bad. He was the only candidate pushing hard on a plausible facet of gun legislation: Gun owner licensing.

Before you start getting overly reactive or tune into another station or podcast or story, hear me out. Booker’s idea about gun licensing is pretty straightforward and you’ll be surprised who supports it.

First, the plan.

Under Booker’s plan, anyone who wants to buy a gun must apply for a license in much the same way a person applies for a passport. The application would involve submitting fingerprints, sitting down for an interview, a state and federal background check and completion of a certified gun safety course.

The presumption would be that people would be issued a gun five-year license unless red flags came up. The presumption also would be that barring any problems, that license could be re-issued indefinitely.

Daniel Webster, the director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research, said a 2018 national poll of gun owners showed a 63 percent in favor of this sort of gun licensing. The support is, obviously, even higher among non-gun owners.

Other parts of Booker’s proposal were non-starters, such as an assault weapon bans, limits on ammunition purchases, and the like. But those items are easy trade bait to get the central idea into legislation. And polling for those ideas are as polarized as you might guess.

But licensing stood out for its popularity.

Gun rights people — same as gun control supporters — talk a good game about background checks, mental health, warning signs, red flags. But existing laws and loopholes prevent effective, universal screening.

And before we argue that the Second Amendment means that no restriction should be put on gun ownership, we already place limit on every constitutional amendment, including the Second.  And the argument that it would not affect criminals is true for every new criminal law – until someone gets arrest for violating it.

In fact, I like licensing so much I’d be willing to toss out any bans on so-called assault weapons or ammunition restrictions. Heck, I’d be fine with no purchase restrictions on any firearms sold today in this country in exchange for licensing.

If the real problem is, as I am often told, “it’s the person not the gun,” then let’s put our money where our thoughts and prayers are and license the person. Everybody wants to lionize that good guy with a gun; I simply want to license him – or her – as well.

Tell me I’m wrong.

And by the way, those of you who have tweeted at me during the presidential campaign that I look and sound like a white Corey Booker, I’d simply like to say two things: One, I am flattered and two, I’m three years older. So maybe Corey looks like a black Mike Lewis.

Listen to the Candy, Mike and Todd Show weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Mike: We should not restrict guns but their owners are different story