Close the federal private sales loophole, regulating ammunition, add military-grade weapons to the National Firearms Act of 1934, mandate waiting periods, increase illegal gun possession as a policing priority:
Ezra Klein talks to the gun policy experts:
That’s where the private-sales loophole comes in: It’s depressingly easy for a gang member to drive to a gun show outside the city limits and bring back dozens of Glocks with few questions asked. That’s something we can, and should, stop.
As for the kind of guns you can buy, a tougher assault weapons ban, with fewer loopholes, and perhaps provisions outlawing bullets built to shatter in the body for maximum damage, would help reduce the lethality of the arms on the street.
“What would that troubled young man have done with less powerful weapons?” says Rick Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. “There very likely would’ve been fewer than 26 victims.”
Another option, says, Susan Ginsberg, coordinator for firearms policy during the Clinton administration, would be to add military-grade weapons — like the Bushmaster AR-15 Lanza used — to the framework set out by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which has been extremely successful in taking machine guns off the streets.
Instituting a real waiting period has helped reduce suicides. The evidence shows that if people can’t get a gun quickly, they often don’t kill themselves. A week should do it. And for the life of me, I can’t understand why I should need to take lessons and pass a test to drive a car, but I can, in many states, get a gun immediately, and with no demonstrated ability to use it safely. So perhaps some mandatory training could be part of that package, too.
Once people have guns, says Phil Cook, a gun control expert at Duke University, we should sharply increase the attention to and penalties for illegal gun possession. Many cops are told to prioritize drunk driving and drug possession well above unauthorized possession of a firearm. Top police departments across the country are learning that focusing on firearm possession can cut homicides. That’s a lesson the federal government could help other police departments learn.