This debate shouldn’t be about the type of gun, but rather about the type of person allowed to own the gun. (Photo: Courtney Pedroza/The Republic)
As a Republican, and far more importantly, an American, I believe the rights to private property and gun ownership are equally important to maintain a free society.
Both are enshrined in the Constitution.
Only – and here is the key distinction – private property ownership never killed anyone (to my knowledge) when put in the hands of a mentally unstable person.
That’s why this debate shouldn’t be about the type of gun, but rather about the type of person allowed to own the gun.
How about a FICO score for guns?
In order to obtain private property, certain criteria must be met. The criteria are largely governed by the credit worthiness of an individual.
If a FICO score can govern the lending process of obtaining private property like a home or car, why not create a gun ownership equivalent to a FICO score? The gun FICO score could then be a tool to determine the propriety of someone owning a firearm or what type of firearm they could own.
Say, for example, you put too much on your credit card. It’s a minor ding on the credit score, and it may mean you pay a little higher interest rate if you purchase a car.
Similarly, say you get pulled over for a speeding ticket. You would get a minor ding against your gun ownership FICO. Nothing horrible, but it may impact your ability to buy a certain type of gun for 90 days.
What such a rating might require
To generate a real FICO-type score for gun ownership, it will require a significant investment by the federal government to ensure law enforcement and businesses are communicating with each other in real time.
Buying too many guns in too short of a period of time or buying lots of ammunition would also lower the score. Ultimately, anything that demonstrates a difference of behavior should generate a warning sign and make it more difficult to purchase firearms.
Within 60 seconds, the current FICO system is able to determine if I qualify for a credit card, a car or credit line. If we can enact this system with a high degree of efficiency for private property ownership, we can certainly do the same for gun ownership.
This isn’t a perfect solution.
The concept of a FICO score was created to protect the interests of big banks and comparable lenders. To put it mildly, I care far less about the interests of banks than I do about children at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the concertgoers in Las Vegas or the shoppers in El Paso, Texas.
The point is we need to seek a real solution, not a cliche soundbite for the political side you find yourself on.
Why the gun debate is like immigration
Sadly, this discussion, much like immigration, has been co-opted by the partisan extremes of both parties.
The vast majority of Americans believe that we need a secured border. The vast majority of Americans also believe in a comprehensive solution that allows those here illegally to pay a fine and become legal residents. You would think that if a majority of Americans supported something, our elected leaders could easily make it the law of the land.
But extreme partisanship lifts its ugly head. And instead of having a conversation that seeks real solutions, special-interest groups and their members fight to maintain the status quo.
Similarly, the vast majority of Americans believe in the right of gun ownership, but they also believe there should be reasonable limitations on who should be allowed to own a gun.
And just like immigration, every time we, as a country, attempt to find a real solution to mass shootings, special interest groups swoop in and the status quo is maintained.
Winston Churchill once said that “Americans will always do the right thing after they have tried everything else.”
He was right then, and he’s right now.
My biggest concern isn’t whether we will eventually put forward real solutions to stop mass shootings.
My biggest concern is what the size and scale of the tragedy will have to be for politicians to back solutions that are embraced by the majority of Americans.