Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Amendment

The purpose of this blog is to propose a detailed Constitutional Amendment designed to protect individuals' rights in regards to firearms and firearms ownership, as well as respect the original views of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

It is clear that the original wording of the Second Amendment has been twisted and abused to reduce its effectiveness under such judicial doctrines as "reasonable burden", and other such malarkey.  Additionally, as firearms have become more potent and destructive, there needs to some method of ascertaining whether an individual is capable of safely owning and operating a particular firearm.

Unfortunately, most legislation to date has been a battle between the "gun nuts" and the "gun grabbers", with most arguments fueled by inaccurate information and an inability to communicate properly.  For this reason, this blog's author will be considering any feedback received in an effort to refine the core proposal.

What is ROFL?
A) A slang term meaning "Rolling On Floor Laughing"
B) A serious proposal that has no chance in Hell of passing

Unfortunately, I doubt this will receive the sort of attention and traction it deserves, but maybe Fate will be kind.

Requirements for ROFL:

  1. It must be a Constitutional Amendment
    1. This does include serious restrictions on firearms
      1. Because of that, it must be on the same footing as the 2nd Amendment
    2. This is intended to stop further restrictions on firearms
      1. Because of that, it must be immune to casual tampering by Congress
  2. It must include an EXPLICIT ban on all further restrictions on firearms and other man-portable weapons, outside of any specific legislation it requires Congress to pass
    1. Again, this is to prevent casual tampering by Congress
  3. It must be phrased in a way that prevents future weaponry from falling outside of its bounds
    1. Specifically, if directed energy weapons or the like become commonplace and affordable, they should not fall outside of the bounds of this legislation
    2. Additionally, it should be phrased to be adaptable to any future, inconceivable, forms of weaponry

With that in mind, here is my initial set of suggestions:
  1. All weapons in use by military personel, state and federal law enforcement, and other government personnel, as well as foreign firearms of comparable capabilities, may be owned and operated by private citizens of the United States
    1. The only exceptions will be for:
      1. Genetically-modified biological weapons
      2. Chemical toxins meant for dispersal over an area
      3. Weapons intended to create a supercritical nuclear, thermonuclear, or antimatter reaction
        1. Should some form of space travel become commonplace, space-to-space weaponry and space-based mining operations will be exempt from this
      4. Weapons designed to disperse alpha, beta, x-ray, or gamma radiation-producing particles over an area
      5. Other weapons where an individual unit or device represents a significant strategic danger to the nation
    2. All weapons includes vehicles, such as tanks, aircraft, and ships, that are built for warfare
      1. The government does not have to directly sell such weapons, but cannot bar a citizen from legally acquiring one
      2. ONLY in the case of currently-utilized models of vehicles, such as tanks, aircraft, naval vessels, and spacecraft, the government may require a citizen to acquire a clearance identical to that required for relevant government personnel who utilize such vehicles
        1. These clearances may be marked, once issued, in such a way as to indicate they are only legal for ownership of a particular weapons platform and do not qualify the owner to access other confidential information
        2. For the purposes of examination and issuance, posting a down payment of 20% of the sale price of the particular vehicle in question will be considered sufficient cause to permit application for a clearance
          1. A group of citizens may pool money to post the 20% amount
          2. The group may be no larger than twice the operational full crew complement of the vehicle
        3. There will be no distinction between a would-be owner's application for such clearances, and government personnel applying for the same clearance, during the evaluation of the application
      3. A citizen who is applying for ownership of such a vehicle may place the down payment with the same manufacturer that produces the vehicle for the government, and may not be charged more than the government for the product
    3. The government may bar the international export of any weapon, so long as it utilizes technology considered confidential by the United States
  2. All weapons will be registered in a national database
    1. This database will only be accessible to database administrators, licensed firearms vendors, law enforcement personnel who have active warrants specifically authorizing database access, and to the President and their staff during specific times of emergency
      1. The only emergency that authorizes general executive branch access to this database is when the United States is being actively invaded by a foreign power
        1. The purpose of this access is to assist in the formation of well-balanced, well-equipped militia units to assist the armed forces of the United States in protecting sovereign American territory
      2. Warrants must specify specific individuals or serial numbers of firearms, and only permit access to those specific records
      3. Database administrators who willfully and unlawfully expose information from the database will be held guilty of a crime
        1. This will be a felony
        2. A minimum of 20 years of prison time will be attached to this crime
        3. No one found guilty of this crime will be eligible for parole in less than 10 years
        4. No one found guilty of this crime may hold a public sector job at any point after their conviction
      4. Licensed firearms vendors will be permitted limited access purely for the purpose of verifying purchase eligibility
      5. (I am considering adding authorization for a LE officer who is getting ready to enter a home to access, but I believe this should be covered under the warrants section)
    2. The database will contain, as technology allows:
      1. The current name, address, and telephone number of the citizen
      2. A photograph of the citizen not more than 6 years old
        1. It is highly recommended this be tied to a citizen's driver's license, for ease of maintenance for both citizen and government
      3. A list of weapons owned
      4. Any serial numbers for those weapons
      5. Any uniquely-identifying marks left on the projectile or target by discharge of the weapon
      6. The expiration dates of any timed licenses
  3. All weapons will require certifications to own and operate
    1. These certifications will be for the express and sole purpose of demonstrating that the citizen is capable of firing the weapon accurately and maintaining the weapon properly
      1. These requirements will be based on classes of weapons, such as revolvers, semiautomatic handguns, semiautomatic or automatic rifles, etc.
      2. Congress may set these requirements as appropriate
      3. Military personnel, law enforcement personnel, and private citizens will all be required to meet the same standards
        1. This means that, in a target shoot, the range conditions and minimum score to pass will be the same for all three classes of personnel
        2. For weapon maintenance, all three will again be held to the same standard, with two exceptions
          1. Private citizens may not be held to a time standard for successfully completing a maintenance cycle
            1. For example, while a soldier may be required to be able to strip and clean his weapon inside of a certain timeframe, a private citizen will only be required to demonstrate that they can strip and clean the weapon, even if they take significantly longer
            2. Private citizens are allowed to use books, guides, manuals, or video walkthroughs to assist them in this test, even if soldiers or officers are prohibited from such assistance
          2. In the case of vehicular weaponry, a private citizen has three options for the maintenance test
            1. They may demonstrate the ability to maintain the vehicle, on their own
            2. They may demonstrate, as a group with any other owners, or with outside assistance, the ability to maintain the vehicle
            3. They may sign an agreement stating they will have the vehicle maintained by a qualified individual
              1. The required period of maintenance cannot be more stringent than that required for military vehicles
        3. Once these two tests are passed, the certificates will be considered "Shall Issue", meaning they must be issued to anyone passing the tests
        4. All certifications will have an expiration date
          1. These certifications will remain valid for a period of time no less than three years for private citizens, barring a special event
            1. Events authorizing confiscation of that individual's firearms
            2. Events requiring legal transfer of weapons to another
          2. Certifications for weapons used by military and law enforcement in the performance of their duties shall be valid for no more than three months
            1. Military members actively deployed to a war zone will be exempt from this timeframe
            2. They will be required to re-certify within one month of returning to the United States, barring injuries preventing them from complying
      4. If there are no private instructors qualified to certify an applicant, that person may schedule an appointment with a military installation to be tested by their range personnel
        1. Dates for these tests will be announced no less than two months in advance, and offered at least 6 times per year
        2. At least two of these days must be offered on weekends
        3. At least one of these must be offered at night
    2. When a certification is set to expire, the government must demonstrate they succeeded in delivering a certified letter to the certification holder at least one month before attempting any enforcement action
      1. This means that if the government fails to send the letter, or cannot produce a signed receipt slip, any enforcement action must be dismissed
      2. If an owner can demonstrate that they made arrangements to re-certify prior to the expiration of the certification, any enforcement action must be delayed until after that date, and dismissed completely if the owner complies
        1. If the owner fails due to medical emergency, natural disaster, or other acts reasonably beyond their control, they must be permitted to reschedule
        2. If the owner fails the certification tests, the government may require that the owner place their weaponry in approved, secure storage, be transferred to another individual with the appropriate certifications, or surrendered
          1. The owner must be given all of these options
          2. If the weapons are placed in storage, they may be utilized by the owner in further attempts to re-certify
          3. If they are transferred to another individual, they may again be utilized for certification
          4. Transfers do not have to be full transfers of ownership, but can simply be a transfer for safekeeping
          5. Weapons surrendered to the government as a result of failed certification tests must be retained by the government for no less than six months, or until the owner has taken and failed two more sets of certification tests, whichever is more, before they can be sold or disposed of
          6. An individual can voluntarily waive this holding period if they so choose, but the government may not attempt to entice or pressure the owner to do so
          7. Under any of these circumstances, the owner is still entitled to the full amount of any proceeds generated from the sale of their weapons, and may direct that the weapons be sold to specific buyers the owner has made arrangements with
          8. If surrendered weapons are destroyed, the owner is entitled to the full fair market value of the weapons
      3. If the owner can demonstrate medical or financial hardship, any enforcement action must be delayed until they have had an opportunity to comply
    3. Antique, demilitarized, and/or extraordinarily valuable weapons may not be removed from their owners under any circumstances other than the active use of the specific weapon by the owner in the commission of a felony
      1. If a weapon fitting this description is stolen and used in a felony, it must be returned to the owner
      2. If the owner uses the weapon in a felony, it may be confiscated only if and when the owner is convicted
      3. Confiscated weapon that are antique and/or extraordinarily valuable will be distributed based on the following priority:
        1. Next of kin who is legally allowed to own that weapon
          1. Next of kin who are not currently certified, but express interest in the weapon, must be given sufficient time to acquire certification
        2. A museum or other publicly-displayed collection that cannot be sold for individual profit
        3. A private collector who agrees not to sell the weapon except to either of the above
        4. Auction
        5. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES is an antique or extraordinarily valuable weapon to be destroyed or demilitarized
      4. If the original owner is later exonerated of the crime that warranted confiscation, any weapon of this class must be returned to the owner
        1. If revenue was made through sale of the weapon, the entity that received the revenue is responsible for repaying the party returning the weapon
        2. Fulfilling the sentence is not exoneration
  4. Once certification is acquired, a background check is required in order to finalize the ability to purchase a weapon
    1. These background checks will be extremely limited in scope
    2. All government personnel and private citizens will be held to the same standards
    3. For all weapons, the following will bar ownership:
      1. Conviction of a violent crime of intent
        1. Rape and murder are prime examples
        2. Domestic violence will qualify
      2. Conviction of a violent crime demonstrating extreme recklessness
        1. Manslaughter resulting from drunk driving is an excellent example
      3. Involuntary court-ordered confinement to an in-patient psychiatric treatment facility
        1. This only qualifies if it is in response to a felony-level criminal action where conviction would qualify for a ban under 4.3.1 or 4.3.2
      4. Dishonorable discharge from the armed forces
      5. Congress may, at their discretion, set standards permitting someone who has completed their full sentence for specific disqualifying crimes to regain their right to own a firearm
    4. For fully automatic weapons, vehicle-mounted weapons, and explosives, the following will bar ownership:
      1. Failing a psychiatric evaluation designed to screen owners of such weapons
        1. Any psychiatrist or psychologist certified by the state or federal government will be able to conduct these evaluations
        2. An applicant may try multiple times, with different examiners, to pass
          1. This is to prevent an individual doctor from blocking a large number of people due to personal bias, i.e., failing every applicant
      2. Conviction of any crime of intent that resulted in bodily injury to another human being
      3. Conviction of any crime of reckless disregard for the safety of another, leading to bodily injury to another human being
      4. Conviction of any crime of intent that resulted in significant destruction of private property belonging to another person, without their consent
        1. If you blow up an old car you own, and get charged with a noise violation, that does not bar you from owning explosives
        2. If you blow up an old car your neighbor owns, without their consent, you do get barred from owning explosives
      5. Explosives, in particular, refers to quantities of explosive materials in excess of the amounts required for business, farm, or personal use that can be explained by employment or possessions
        1. Someone who owns a black powder rifle is not to be held to these standards in order to own a can of black powder
        2. If they own a hundred pounds, though, then there's questions to ask
      6. As with all above requirements, military and law enforcement personnel will be held to the same standard as private citizens
    5. As in the certifications, private citizens will be held to the same standards as government personnel
    6. A new background check may not be demanded more often than once in a period of time equal to three certification renewals
      1. This is working on the basic assumption that a conviction or the like will result in immediate action, as opposed to being discovered years later
    7. The status of the background check will be tied to the applicant's certifications in the national database
      1. This status will only report as "Permanently Barred", "None", "Basic", "Advanced", or "Complete", depending on the tier passed
      2. There will be no "failed" status for background checks; failing to pass without being permanently barred will result in no indicator
      3. "Permanently Barred" will only be applied to individuals barred under 4.3
  5. Possession of the appropriate certifications and background check markers will allow constitute complete qualification to purchase a weapon
    1. A firearms vendor will be required to submit the make, model, and serial number of the weapon to the database
    2. If the database returns certification and background check status adequate for that weapon, the citizen purchasing the weapon may, provided they have sufficient money, purchase and leave with that weapon immediately
    3. The citizen must present their Firearms ID or other qualifying photo ID at the time of purchase, and it must match the photograph in the database
    4. Law enforcement and military personnel will be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as private citizens before being issued a service weapon
      1. Any weapon provided by any level of government will be considered a service weapon
      2. Any weapon used or carried in the performance of official duties will be considered a service weapon
  6. Concealed Carry will be an additional license requiring classroom tests and range certifications
    1. All law enforcement and military personnel must pass these tests, regardless of whether they will be carrying concealed weaponry
    2. Concealed Carry may only be prohibited on privately owned land by the legal owner of that land
    3. Concealed Carry may only be prohibited by the government in buildings currently and actively in use for gatherings of elected officials, court houses, prisons, and police offices
  7. Open Carry requires no additional license, and may only be prohibited under the same circumstances as Concealed Carry
  8. Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground will be the law of the nation
    1. A citizen whose home is being illegally invaded may use lethal force to repel the invaders
    2. A citizen who is assaulted on public property, or private property they are legally present in, may use lethal force against their attacker
    3. A citizen will be held to the same standard as law enforcement personnel when judging whether use of lethal force was justified
    4. Military members may be subject to differing rules of engagement when deployed
  9. All certifications, background checks, and licenses related to firearms will be "Shall Issue"
    1. Upon successful completion of the relevant examinations, the citizen will receive the appropriate documentation and the national database will be updated in no more than 30 days
    2. Due to the extensive certification and examination process, additional delays targeting law-abiding citizens are counterproductive
    3. A typical citizen should be able to complete the entire process in no more than 90 days for initial certification for a weapon and a Basic background check
    4. An Advanced background check may take up to 180 days
      1. The extended timeframe is to allow for the additional examination required
    5. A Complete background check is indicative of Top Secret-equivalent clearance for ownership of contemporary, active-use military vehicles, aircraft, and naval vessels, and should take no more than 2 years to complete, with the entire process concluded within 3 years
  10. No further legislation restricting possession of weaponry may be passed by any level of government, and no treaty restricting private citizens from owning specific types of weaponry will be respected for private citizens of the United States, within the boundaries of the United States
    1. Congress may only pass laws defining classes of weapons, the accuracy requirements, and the maintenance requirements for those weapons
    2. Congress may not pass any law banning or restricting any accessories or additional equipment, beyond requiring ownership of a compatible weapon
      1. This means that, in order to purchase a suppressor for a pistol, the buyer must have the certifications to own that pistol first
    3. Congress may set up requirements for firearms dealers
      1. Dealers should not be held to a higher background check than Advanced, unless they sell or own equipment that requires a Complete check
      2. Dealers will be held responsible for checking and updating the national database when selling or transferring a weapon
      3. All permanent transfers of firearms must go through a licensed dealer
        1. Permanent transfers between two private citizens must occur in front of a dealer, who will report the sale and purchase of the weapon to the database
        2. The dealer may charge his normal rate for one half-hour of labor to process the transaction
        3. Temporary transfers will not require reporting to the database nor the assistance of a dealer
          1. Temporary transfers are transfers where the weapon is returned to the licensed owner within seven days
          2. Temporary transfers for business purposes (ie., a guided hunting excursion) outside of range practice and certification classes must be preceded by a check of the renter's certifications, but the weapon does not need to be specifically reported as entering that person's possession
          3. This is to prevent an adult who is teaching their child to use a weapon, or who is loaning a weapon to a friend for a trip, from being charged with a crime
          4. During unreported temporary transfers, the firearm owner is responsible for any misuse of the firearm (Don't loan it if you don't trust them!)
          5. Temporary transfers due to loss of certification to possess a specific weapon will be performed in front of a licensed dealer, who will record their transfer, its temporary nature, and the proper owner of the weapons in the database
      4. Dealer licenses will be considered "Shall Issue", as with any other license
  11. The database referenced throughout should be digital, allowing for rapid checking and updating, to meet the timeframes given above
And...that's what I have so far.  A hell of a lot, but I believe it addresses most reasonable concerns.

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