The overwhelming response to my post on guns proved what we all knew (like all good social science): there are a lot of gun owners on Ricochet. As some pointed out, McDonald and Heller seem to introduce a balancing test for the Second Amendment that might allow reasonable regulation of firearm possession. I am curious how hard or easy it is to buy a gun in different states and cities.
In California, you have to take a written test, but -- contrary to the popular notion that everything about gun ownership is difficult in California -- the exam is ridiculously easy. There is a booklet on the internet that contains all the questions and answers (just like getting a driver's license). And only a fool would fail many of the questions even without study. I believe one of the questions was something like:
Q: What is the safest direction to point a gun
1. At yourself
2. At another person
3. In a random direction
4. At the ground
5. In a direction where no one or nothing is located
If you study for more than 10 minutes, you should pass. I think you need get only two-thirds right to do so. And if you fail, you can take it again right away. Then you get a license that allows you to buy guns. The whole process is sort of like the bar exam without the wait.
The serious lesson, I'd suggest, is that if you want to regulate something properly, putting up tests or rules for the activity itself is often ineffective, silly, or counterproductive. The most efficient method would be a tax. States, especially ones deep in the fiscal hole like California, should make it as easy as possible to get guns, but tax them heavily.
What are the gun possession barriers like in other places?