By Alan Dean Foster
Something a little different this month. Something maybe even a little more controversial than arguing about the aesthetic viability of giant balloon dogs or the presence of artificial coloring in food. A tad hard to justify as being about either science or art, although people have long spoken about the art of compromise.
Understand that the following is not necessarily the preferred political position I would take were it possible for me to adjudicate on the mat. But the essence of our democracy is cooperation. This usually entails both sides giving up something they want. It’s a difficult and laudable achievement because when a politician or government entity manages to pull it off, they’re more likely to be harangued and despised by both sides rather than applauded. The more difficult the compromise, the more contentious the issue, the harder it is to persuade multiple individuals and entities in government to deal with it. It’s so much easier just to stand back and shout, “This is my stance and I’m not wavering from it!” That doesn’t solve problems. So here’s my take on a simple, uncontroversial, hardly ever discussed matter. Bear in mind I would rather be discussing favorite flavors of doughnuts. But that isn’t a matter of national concern at the moment.
What to do about the private ownership of automatic and semi-automatic weapons, is.
You can have your AR-15. As many as you want. You can have your Kalashnikovs, your classic Thompson, your MR107 Barrett, your Armsel Striker. You can even have bump stocks.
Here’s how it works:
You purchase your weapon from an authorized dealer, or if you prefer, at a gun show. You and the seller register your weapon; just like you’d register your car or your dog. Hunting rifles and home defense pistols you take home. For the rest, the dealer packs and ships the weapon and any ammo or related devices to the authorized gun range or club of your choice. It is held there until you unpack it, whereupon it slots neatly into the locker you rent. Kinda like golf clubs, only … different.
The range or club has 24-hour security on site. Only you and club security have access to the combination and/or the two keys that are required to open your locker. Your weapons are fully protected, which means that you don’t have to worry about criminals, a disgruntled spouse, or your Aunt Bea’s son Billy, who has problems, stealing your weapons and taking them on a rampage at a school or mall or anywhere else. You have peace of mind because the range or club is taking responsibility for their security. Ultimate liability is theirs, not yours. You can insure your valuable guns separately if you wish, plus the club will have its own insurance.
Whenever you feel like it, you can go to the range/club and blast away at as many targets, cans, bottles, pictures of politicians you particularly dislike, and yes, cake, until your urge to sniff propellant is satisfied. Then you lock up your weapons and go home, worry-free.
You don’t have to buy an expensive and potentially fail-able gun safe. The range/club makes money on locker rentals which helps to cover security. Your collection is safer at the facility than it ever would be in your living room/basement, kitchen (yes, I’ve seen that). Kids and mentally-challenged adults can’t access your weapons. Your right to bear arms isn’t infringed. And if you need to form a militia to fight off an invasion, or theorized fascist/communist/take-your-pick-ist, why, you don’t need to struggle to organize your resistance via likely destroyed or compromised phones and computers. You already have an assembly point.
Everyone wins. Especially the rest of us.
Alan Dean Foster is author of more than 120 books, visitor to more than 100 countries, and still frustrated by the human species. Follow him at AlanDeanFoster.Com.