“Mandatory licensing would reduce gun violence” – Arizona

This one out of Arizona, the AZ Capitol Times to be precise, a state known as a bastion of firearm freedoms.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety currently issues concealed weapons permits at the state level. However, eligibility criteria are lax and, due to Arizona being an open carry state, obtaining a weapons permit is not required to own a firearm. We propose a state licensing program in order to reduce gun violence in Arizona. All gun owners should be required to obtain a firearm permit. Licensing would include a rigorous training program including a classroom-based curriculum focused on firearm safety, Arizona gun laws and a review of gun violence in the U.S. Subsequently, a written exam would need to be passed in order to advance to live range training. Individuals would then learn how to properly handle and shoot firearms followed by a live range qualification exam. Upon successful completion of the program, individuals would qualify to obtain a firearm permit which would be required to purchase or own a gun in Arizona.

Compare this with Article II Section 26 of the Arizona State Constitution.

“The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men.”

State licensing (at a cost/tax) with a review of Arizona laws and U.S. gun violence statistics (at a cost/tax to prepare) with a written exam that is likely to have a cost/tax to take, submit, and grade. Then advancement to live range training (cost/tax to pay instructors and range safety personnel who maintain the state standard) and a qualification exam. Upon completion of the program (and paying your right access tax) individuals would qualify to obtain a firearm permit which would be required to purchase or own a gun in Arizona.

That seems to me, and maybe it is just me but I doubt it, to be impairing the ability of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves or the state. As the state will not be making the proposed training readily available and at no additional cost to residents or as part of public education I cannot see how this scheme in the least is feasible.

Nor how it will positively influence homicide rates into decline. Unless, of course, the theory is that by making exercise of the right a pain in the ass, especially to lower income individuals who are more likely to be victimized and statistically more likely to perpetrate, you intent to slowly filter out firearms from the ‘undesirables’.

Instead of focusing funding, policing, and prosecution efforts on targeting organized and semi-organized criminal activity that make up the majority of homicides nationwide… I’m sure taxing a human right is the way to do it. It has worked to well in Illinois after all, nobody gets shot in Chicago with all those FOID cards.

Oh… well… huh. Well I’m certain the licenses allow them to solve all those crimes at least.

Okay so… not that great, but let’s see what they say about the rest to justify this point of view.

The right to bear arms is guaranteed in our nation’s Constitution and many, including the NRA, are against new laws or requirements to gun ownership. 

That is what guaranteed means…

However, our law enforcement and military are trained extensively on firearm usage, both in the classroom and on the range, before they are allowed to handle and use guns.

Bold assumption. It would be accurate to say members of these organizations receive a standardized curriculum on service weapons. The Marine Corps has one that is drawn out, emmerive, and instructive, as part of basic training. But it is also very basic and doesn’t get more advanced unless your specific MOS requires it to do so in other schools. The Marine Corps is also a foundation up professional, high mobility, specialized, combined arms fighting force. Not Joe Americano of Arizona who just wants a 9mm in case someone breaks down his door or tries to carjack him.

Civilians should be held to the same requirements. 

No they shouldn’t. It is entirely unreasonable and unnecessary to expect all citizens, including those of less able body (who are at increased risk of victimization), to conform to some kind of military standard.

An independent study found that carrying a gun did not realistically provide self-defense unless a user is properly trained in the classroom and on the range (NGVAC, 2015).

Yes, this is true. Just as owning a tuba doesn’t make you a musician owning a firearm does not make you proficient in its use. This logic does not compel the state to make it mandatory to be proficient for ownership and right exercise. If it does, then let’s start talking about literacy and competency tests for voting again, since you have to be proficient to exercise a right with any good effect. Right?

The NRA (2019) even offers courses to help people learn firearm basics, safety, and improve marksmanship and shooting skills. Required licensure is not meant to reduce Second Amendment rights, but rather ensure that those who own guns are properly trained for their own safety and the public’s.

What it is meant to do is not at issue. We attack laws all the time that were not meant to do one thing but ended up disproportionately negatively impacting a group, usually minorities and lower income citizens.

Which. Is. Exactly. What. This. Will. Do.

If it were meant to work as you say we would make this part of public education and accessible to high school students, as a necessary part of their civic education, and adults at their leisure. But of course we won’t. Because the goal is to strangle the Right to Keep and Bear Arms slowly from the public consciousness through lack of accessibility. Why are we pretending otherwise?

Keith Finch
Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.