It would be simpler to ask “What wouldn’t you change about America’s gun laws?” Other answers here have been interesting, but I think in this case I will answer a slightly different question: “What ONE gun law would you change if you could?”
I would change 18 U.S. Code § 922 (g)(1)
It shall be unlawful for any person who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
Do you have any idea how many “crimes” are “punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year”? Note that you don’t have to actually be sentenced to “more than one year,” just that the sentence could be more than one year.
Here’s a few examples:
- Walking out on a restaurant bill greater than $25 in Mississippi
- Sneaking into a second movie theater at a multiplex without paying.
- Stealing a chicken when you were nine years old.
- Tampering with a highway sign in Texas.
It used to be that “felony” meant:
a crime, typically one involving violence, regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor, and usually punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or by death.
Now misdemeanors come with possible sentences of two years, and you can be charged with a felony for failing to pay for a movie ticket. And there’s no path to get your rights back.
If I could change nothing else, I’d change that.
Well, it’s being challenged in court, and one of the lawyers challenging it is Alan Gura (h/t to SayUncle for the pointer). Gura won in the 3rd Circuit, but is also pursuing a similar case in the D.C. District Court. The government has filed a petition for certoriari to the Supreme Court after their loss in the 3rd Circuit. Hopefully a good replacement for Scalia will be seated on the Court in time to hear it, should they grant cert.
On an unrelated note, I just realized that this is my first post for 2017. I guess I really am cutting back.