(This is a followup to a previous post: Gun Control: Bring Back the Militias. This train of thought pre-supposes that post has been implemented and official state militias exist.)
You have what in your garage?!
First, in the modern era I thinks it’s quite clear that some weapons are simply too powerful, too indescriminate or require too much expertise to store or operate to have them floating around in general circulation. Things like artillary, atomic explosives, weaponized viruses and such fall clearly in this category. Some weapons are also none of those things, like a bow, or have significant non-weapon uses, like a knife, and so regulating them would be essentially pointless.
But those are easy points; where to draw the lines in-between is where you need to start having some framework for categorizing things.
I’m going to suggest four categories of weapons:
- Military – should only be kept and used by professional military
- Militia/SWAT – should only be kept and used by practiced and organized militias or specially trained police forces
- Civilian/Police – should only be kept and used by police forces and citizens who can demonstrate ability
- Unregulated – duh
These are those weapons capable of doing such damage or requiring so much expertise that they cannot be safely or effectively kept or used outside a professional context. Nukes, nerve gas, weaponized anthrax, etc. are obviously in this category.
These are weapons powerful enough to be useful in a civic defense context, while being safe to keep and operate for a practiced non-professional, and having really no non civic defense utility. Automatic and semi-automatic guns certainly fall in this category and flamethrowers (currently unregulated in most of the country) probably should too.
These are weapons powerful enough to be useful in hunting or personal defense but not particularly effective in a civic defense scenario, while being safe to keep and operate for a non-professional. Most hunting guns and revolvers fall in this category, as would human-powered projectile weapons and the larger bladed weapons.
These are either weapons of minimal threat or with significant non-weapon uses, like small knives and frankly almost everything else.
That’s obviously not written to be legally implemented as it is; a lawyer would want to use terms like “Class A(1) Weapons” instead. Sure, why not? A lawyer’s gonna lawyer.
In a later post I’ll get into how a sane regulatory system would treat these categories and talk about questions like “Who gets to keep what in their house?” and “Who can carry what on the streets?” etc.