Historically, proposals for new gun control laws have almost always targeted the gun owner. Rarely have measures focused upstream, “behind the gun store counter,” on the industry and its products. Most recently, increased public attention has focused on the idea of registering handguns and licensing their owners. Yet what can licensing and registration reasonably be expected to accomplish? In-depth analysis reveals that there are serious questions concerning such systems that have not yet been adequately explored.
The goal of this study is to explore the arguments made in favor of licensing and registration and to determine what effect such an approach could have on gun death and injury in America. Before beginning this analysis, it is essential to understand current federal law regarding firearm sale and possession in the United States.