A guy with a gun license offers 5 common-sense laws that might prevent gun violence.

5 easy common-sense ways to fix gun control … and one that will actually work.

Watching Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate finally put their feet down to try to vote on gun control has been thrilling and inspiring — but the laws up for discussion aren't perfect.

One of the things they want to vote on is the so-called "No Fly, No Buy" bill, which would ban the sales of guns to people suspected of terrorism on the government’s “no-fly” list.

The American Civil Liberties Union has already pointed out that the no-fly list is an egregious overreach that can infringe on the rights of innocent people, including actual babies.


Logistically, we're never going to be able to ban guns outright (also, the idea of only police and the military having access to firearms might scare me more than our current predicament.). But clearly something needs to be done about gun violence in America, right?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.

Fortunately, I have a license to carry in a state with some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and it's taught me five easy common-sense ways we could reform our gun laws without impeding on the rights of lawful gun owners — or anyone else:

1. Limit all magazines to 10 bullets or less.

There tends to be a lot of confusion when it comes to what constitutes an "assault rifle." Unfortunately, "That gun looks scary, and I don't like it" and "Some people have used it to kill people," aren't really good criteria for legislation.

But if we just limited magazines to 10 bullets or less, we could seriously hinder anyone intent on the mass destruction of people. Besides, anyone who needs more than 10 bullets in a magazine to take down a hog or shoot a piece of paper should probably spend a little more time at the target range.

Oh, and if you already have a gun with a large magazine? No one is taking it away. You should be able to keep it if you register it. Easy enough, right?

Photo from St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office/Wikimedia Commons.

2. Enhance mandatory background check requirements and standardize them across all states, including for private sales.

This is something people have been demanding for a while now, and there's no reason it shouldn't be able to happen.But if we were to actually standardize and adhere to the bare minimum ATF background check that's currently on the books, anyone with a history of substance abuse, domestic violence, or other violent crimes would already be disqualified from purchasing a new gun.

Of course, we could make the existing background checks more robust too.

But in order to do this without punishing people who haven't committed a crime or discriminating against, for example, people with psychiatric conditions or former military personnel who received other than honorable or bad conduct discharges, we would also need to establish a fair and efficient appeals process that could evaluate each individual on a case-by-case basis. And that's a lot of work, which brings me to my next point...

Photo by Pål Joakim Olsen/Flickr.

3. We should make sure the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is built for confidence, instead of speed.

In states that do adhere to the very-very-very basic requirements of the FBI's instant background check system, 90% of them come back immediately with a positive result. But thanks to something called the "default proceed" loophole, if a background check throws any red flags, the FBI has three days to resolve those question marks or a person can buy the gun anyway. And if it turns out they weren't supposed to have access to one? The ATF has to actively seek out and reclaim the weapon that was already purchased. You know, because that's a practical solution.

This "compromise" that a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic senators recently offered on the "No Fly, No Buy" bill also invoked this three-day rule. But here's the thing: In 2015, nearly 16,000 ineligible gun owners were able to acquire firearms through the "default proceed" law — including Dylann Roof, who then went on to kill nine people in Charleston, South Carolina.

Look, I get it. Bureaucratic holdups are totally annoying. But maybe it's worth taking more than three days to look into these things if it might save lives?

Photo by Nomader/Wikimedia Commons.

4. We could treat firearms like cars — with licensing, registration, and mandatory insurance.

This has already been attempted with pretty clear results. As Vox reported, "After Connecticut passed a law requiring gun purchasers to first obtain a license, gun homicides fell by 40 percent and suicides fell by 15.4 percent. When Missouri repealed a similar law, gun homicides increased by 23 percent and suicides increased by 16.1 percent."

We could also require every firearm to be registered with a physical deed to accompany transfers as a written record of the gun's previous ownership. (Admittedly, privacy advocates do have some valid arguments against this, but it's a process that could still add value.)

In addition, what if we required mandatory gun insurance so that every gun owner has financial protection in the case of theft, unintentional discharge, or, you know, any of the other things that could possibly go wrong?

This would be good for the economy, too — let the market decide the insurance rate for each different type of gun in each different geographic area. For example, an AR-15 would probably be comparable to a red sports car, but that .38 revolver you keep around "just in case" would have a pretty low insurance rate. And costs would probably be higher in dense populations.

Photo by CB Agulto/Flickr.

5. Empower the government to actually collect and study information about trends in gun violence.

Imagine if the Centers for Disease Control wasn't allowed to collect data on cancer or the Zika virus, and we didn't have a centralized database for tracking epidemics. How can you make an informed decision to stop a crisis if you don't have any information on it?

That's what happened to the CDC thanks to the NRA, which began fighting those efforts in 1996. To this day, the CDC is essentially throttled for funding into gun research because — as the NRA admits themselves — gun enthusiasts oppose biased research. Which certainly makes some sense. Except ... isn't the NRA biased as well?

Photo by Slowking4/Wikimedia Commons.

And that's the crux of it: We're never going to get anywhere on common-sense gun reform as long as more than 200 members of Congress are in the pocket of the NRA.

Whether you're a staunch pacifist or hardcore antique gun collector, people not murdering other people is something that most of us can agree on. And there are plenty of options for ways we could make our country safer.

But all you have to do is follow the money — and the sales boost that seems to happen every time another mass shooting hits the news — and it becomes pretty clear why we keep allowing these same awful tragedies to happen over and over and over again.

Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the NRA. Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.

So here's the only guaranteed way for our country to take action on gun reform: If your senator or representative is on this list, then vote them out of office.

Doing that might not make the change happen right away, but until the majority of the government is no longer funded by the NRA, these other changes aren't likely to happen either.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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