For aliens from the planet Zork to visit Earth, they would have to be unimaginably more technologically advanced than us in order to travel faster than the speed of light. Keeping that in mind, if they came to the USA and studied the issue of gun rights vs. gun control, this is what they would find:
1. The Bill of Rights of the US Constitution, amendment #2, states: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
They would also note that the US Supreme Court, which interprets the constitution and rules on interpretative disputes, has concluded that the second amendment protects the citizens’ right to own guns in the USA.
The Zorkians would also note that the 1st amendment protects freedom of speech. Some low-information Americans think that their right to own guns cannot be qualified in any way, but the Zorkians would realize that the 1st amendment constitutional guarantee of free speech is qualified, since one cannot yell “fire!’ in a crowded theater without severe legal and civil consequences because laws exist that qualify freedom of speech. The Zorkians would conclude that gun rights can likewise be qualified with requirements.
The Zorkians would study human psychology, human passions and weaknesses, and human history. They would also study the history of guns and their various iterations and characteristics. They would study the recent massacres committed in the USA over the past few years including Columbine, Aurora, Phoenix, and Newtown. They’d absorb the history of gun control laws in the USA, from the gangster-inspired 1934 National Firearms Act, through the JFK assassination-inspired 1968 Gun Control Act, then the 1986 Firearm Owner’s Protection Act, the Reagan assassination attempt-inspired 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Act, and the 1994 The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which banned some, not all assault weapons until it expired in 2004. They would also study the 50 states and their often-contradictory gun-control laws and they would note with utter bewilderment that what is legal in one state is illegal one inch away in another state.
Finally, they’d study humans on both sides of the issue, with emphasis on the extremes. They would first hear from the anti-gun lobby that the only way to stop gun violence is to ban all handguns, all assault rifles, all ammunition that can penetrate clothing, all large-capacity bullet cartridges, and any weapon that doesn’t emit a loud siren wail when loaded. This statement would baffle and perplex them, in light of the well-established second amendment.
Then they’d listen to the pro-gun lobby (consisting mostly of men and Sarah Palin, the Zorkians would note curiously), and they would evaluate the following repeated arguments:
1. “Gun don’t kill people, people kill people! Without guns, people would just uses knives !” Of all the idiotic rationales that the Zorkians would hear, this one would win the Zorkian Supreme Prize for Stupidity. Zorkians would know that guns in the hands of people kill people, and that guns enable killing from a distance that knives don’t. “WTF”, they would say in Zorkian, as they laughed through their armpit openings.
2. “The democrat-controlled government will take our guns away from us, but we’ll defend our constitutional right to own guns by revolting against the government”. The Zorkians would consider this the epitome of fantasyland paranoia and hypocrisy, because the constitutional US government has repeatedly acknowledged the constitutional right to private gun ownership; however, overthrowing the US government is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!
3. “If all Americans had guns, gun crime would disappear!” This argument would convince the Zorkians that the human race is simply not ready for prime time. They would look at humans and see that all of them have hands, and then point out that hands are the primary item universally used in every single crime ever committed in the known universe (among all those races that actually have hands).
The Zorkians would then, after spending 1.2 seconds on all of the above (remember, time has no meaning to them), conclude that controlling gun crime is no more difficult than controlling a starship through a time warp – something their offspring learn to do while still in both their parents’ shared womb.
They would offer this simple and elegant solution to humanity:
1. Via a federal system, register all future gun sales into a central database, thus eliminating differences, gaps, and even non-registration in some states.
2. Via a federal system, require a streamlined, computerized, centralized background check of all potential gun buyers. This background check would check for any past violent criminal convictions and also check for any psychological records indicating mental, emotional, or psychotic characteristics as inputted by psychiatrists, local medical experts and/or hospitals.
3. Via a federal system, encourage voluntary registration of currently-owned firearms by offering meaningful incentives like federal income tax credits (e.g., $500 credit per gun registration). While not perfect, gun owners would informed that if they didn’t participate and one of their guns was stolen and used in a crime, they might be prime suspects, or ultimately be charged as accessories to a crime committed with their gun. Kind of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” in reverse.
Then the Zorkians would depart, leaving an intergalactic traffic warning sign (invisible to humanity, of course) for the rest of the galaxy to avoid the planet Earth, which says,