Incentives Over Mandates: Encouraging Gun Owners To Do Better

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Why do we constantly hear from gun control proponents that gun owners should be licensed to reduce accidental gun deaths? Let’s ignore the fact that it’s basically a poll tax for the 2nd Amendment, resultantly wildly unconstitutional, and look at the merits:

One need only drive a car a few miles on their local roadways to understand the value of mandated training: There is none. Licenses to operate a vehicle do not decrease the rate of deaths on America’s roads due to collisions. The primary thing that’s done that over the last 50 years is regulations on driving under the influence, and technological advances in car design, manufacture, and safety equipment. The primary function of a licensing program for drivers is to generate money for the state.

Okay, so there aren’t any merits. Well, none beyond creating a registry of gun owners, which is 1. federally illegal, and 2. historically has always become a shopping list for a government intent on disarming its citizens. But if that’s the case, and mandated training doesn’t work, is there anything to be done about the admitted problem that is lack of gun owner education? Something which might put a dent in the small, but still tragic number of firearms accidents that lead to death or permanent injury in the US?

As it turns out, there might be, and it doesn’t require forcing anyone to do anything. In a measured response to the usual knee-jerk “We have to do something!” legislation recently signed, and the proposed assault weapons ban currently attempting to work its way through congress, Rep. Elise Stefanik, (R-N.Y.) proposed something entirely different from the mandates and bans we normally see: An incentive.

Her idea is basically this: If a gun owner wishes to learn, we should encourage that. Tax incentives of up to $250 for each firearms safety, or concealed carry class, or the purchase of a gun safe would become available to all Americans under her bill. While not everyone would immediately run out to sign up for a class, many certainly would, and even more would no longer have a valid excuse for avoiding such. It would certainly improve the level of firearms handling safety, and shooting quality of the average American gun owner, by some amount, and as we’re all familiar, it’s worth if we can save “just one life”, right?

While it’s unlikely this bill will get past a Democratic-controlled House and a locked up Senate, it will be interesting to see the anti-gun community explain why they won’t spend money on a program that could only decrease accidental gun deaths, and perhaps this bill or something like it has a chance in a future session of congress.

Lars Smith
Lars is one of Gat's Wordmancers, having come to the company after years of experience in biology, agriculture, management, marketing, and writing. He found the gun community through prepping, and after realizing where he was on the Dunning-Kruger scale, jumped into the self-defense community with both feet. Since then, the 80 hours of professional firearms instruction he's taken has only made him hungry for more.