Treat Ammunition Like a Psychiatrist-Prescribed Drug

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COMMENTARY | Justice Antonin Scalia has written that though Americans have a constitutional right to own guns, that new right is not unlimited, according to Reuters. It's now necessary to discuss those limitations. The Second Amendment specifies the right to bear arms, but it says nothing about bullets.

It's time to establish a national standard for buying ammunition: If you control the bullets, you control the deaths caused by them. Ammunition should be obtained in a method similar to the prescription of drugs. Our country already has the infrastructure to make this idea a reality: psychiatrists, pharmacies and drive-thru windows.

Leftover ammunition could be resold to individuals or businesses with a valid prescription. Felons and the mentally ill would not be able to be in possession of bullets. Police would use standard probable-cause procedures for search and seizure of ammunition that is not prescribed. Bullets would be laser etched with control numbers to improve traceability.

The federal government could also include an excise tax on the sale of ammunition, much like on cigarettes or alcohol. Offsetting this new tax is the elimination of any sales tax on the purchase of a firearm, as it is our right to own one of these. I believe these sweeping changes would, over time, reduce the number of deaths significantly.

Gun owners are subject to life's stresses just like everyone else: alcohol and drug abuse, domestic problems, thoughts of suicide, anger and resentments, and more. The sane gun owner of today could become the disturbed individual of tomorrow just as easily as anyone else. A regular visit to a psychiatrist for an ammunition prescription would add a layer of much-needed security when dealing with something as lethal as a bullet.

Sound fanciful? It is another way to approach the problem.

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