America is not going to shoot our way out of the gun violence problem, and that’s what these people are calling for. And I think that’s dangerous and I think that will lead to more of us being killed by bullets.
Although I don’t have – or even particularly like – children, the Newtown shooting has been just too much for me. Over the past few days, I’ve found myself paralyzed, staring into the middle distance, choking back tears. It’s thoroughly senseless. I mean, they were kids.
Hell, I’ve shot a dozen different guns and I totally get the appeal. They’re thoughtfully designed, exquisitely well-made, and timeless, which can’t be said for most of the crap we usually handle. When you squeeze the trigger and for a brief instant feel in control of thunder and physics and death: it’s exhilarating. They’re fun. That’s not going away.
So maybe we won’t be able to meaningfully control guns.
That’s actually a brilliant thought. But I think I have a better one.
We should tax every bullet sold. My twist: it gets higher with every gun death in our country.
The day we pass the law, it’s $0.00 per bullet. But for every gun death, every bullet will immediately cost a dime more. Each.
This sounds low, but at the rate people are dying from guns it’ll be over $3,122.40 per bullet after just one year, if 2007 is any indication.
Sound too harsh now? Make it one-tenth of that: an extra penny per bullet per gun death. I won’t waste the time to bend over for a penny, but a box of 9mm rounds will still cost over $15,600 after twelve months.
Sure, carve out some exceptions. No tax for police departments, maybe. Shooting guns is totally fun, so maybe if you purchase and fire a bullet at a licensed shooting range there’s no tax. But if you want to take that bullet outside the building it’s back to the cost of the bullet, plus $3,122.40 or however high it is that day. Better buy it now: it’s not getting cheaper.
I see a few benefits. First and most obviously, bullets would get more expensive and therefore harder to acquire. At the very least, as Chris Rock noted, you’ll have to think hard before you pump $30,000 or so into someone. If a black market for bullets develops, we should crack down on it with the same fervor that we do drug offenders. Or Lawn Darts.
Next, it’ll raise money. I say split it 4 ways:
Gun safety training programs and hardware like trigger locks for owners
Body armor for police
Health care for shooting victims
Mental health care for anyone that wants it. (Maybe everyone in this country because JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST how can a reasonable society accept so much death?)
Next, there’s no 2nd Amendment issue. No one is taking your guns away. Collect, carry, and worship them all you want. I don’t care. It’s when you want to use them with bullets that I care and when society should ask you to pay a little more.
But mostly it would be a daily reminder to gun owners what their freedom is costing us. Every time you buy bullets, you’ll know exactly how many people have been killed since the last time you bought them. A little extra monetary cost just so people are made aware of the staggering human cost.
My hope is that it gives people pause. Even if it’s just a little. We won’t change how people feel about guns, at least not quickly. But perhaps a gradual, growing reminder of the price of so many guns might change a few minds in the long run.
(Just about all links are via Jason Kottke, who has been on fire lately).