The USA is once again embroiled in discussions about what to do about guns. On the one hand, our nation was born in armed revolution. On the other hand, we are no longer engaged in revolution, and guns are being use as weapons of injury and death against citizens on more than a daily basis. It is being suggested that the US government have stricter "gun control laws," but this doesn't seem to me likely to work for two reasons: First, those who would use a gun to threaten or kill another human have an infinite number of ways of avoiding licensure. Second, "if only criminals have guns, how are citizens to protect themselves?" 

As far as licensure is concerned, in the USA, it is considered appropriate for persons whose work or association with potentially lethal objects that might harm another to be "licensed." So why is licensing guns such a problem? The problem is that many guns are specifically designed to kill humans. This is what makes "gun licensing" different from the licensing of doctors, nurses, haircutters, cosmetologists, even drivers of trucks, cars or airplanes: In each of these cases, the object/vehicle isn't specifically designed to kill humans. If an object is designed specifically to kill humans, then it is not enough to license the user. What is needed is for the company producing such a heinous object to be held both criminally and financially responsible for its use. In my opinion, only when the makers of weapons specifically designed to kill people are held criminally and financially responsible for the "correct" application of what they've designed the object to do -- injure or kill humans -- will "gun control" ever work. 

At first, this may sound like too simple a solution to such a long-standing problem, but let me state again, that I think the problem isn't one of "gun control" but rather "weapon production responsibility." Control of weapon calibers, bullet loads, automaticity all become irrelevant. It only matters if the "gun" is manufactured specifically to kill humans. So what about a hunting rifle, designed to kill animals but not humans? Or a target practice weapon that just happens to be potentially harmful or lethal to humans? Can such devices be designed to specifically not to be able to harm a human? This is the real challenge that replacing "user control" with "manufacturer's responsibility" places on those engaged in producing heinous items of death. It is the challenge to re-channel the considerable assets, resources and energies of such companies into creating new "guns" that specifically can not harm humans.

How would this affect our daily civilian lives? Right off, licensing and the resulting onerous government bureaucracy required would become unnecessary. And how would it affect companies that buy and resell weapons? They would become second-in-line behind the manufacturer regarding financial/criminal responsibility. What about people whose profession it is to modify existing weapons to become more lethal to humans? And what about "bullet" manufacturers? The same standards could easily be applied. How many people would flock to this "new" form of weapons business? Not many, I suspect, as the very heart of lethal weaponry -- the enormous financial profit involved -- would be at stake. And what would this do in the long run to companies, corporations or governments involved in the trafficking and sale of weapons designed to kill people? Enough said, I think. 

I don't for a moment think this is a "perfect" solution, but it seems to me to be better, if for no other reason, it places responsibility where it belongs, and gives humanity a real glimmer of hope.