, that is not always a bad thing. When I was a boy, my father owned two handguns, and it never occurred to me to pick one up. If I wanted to shoot, I asked my father and we went shooting. But those guns were my father's, they could hurt people, and they didn't belong to me. When I was very small they were out of reach, of course. When I was older, my father taught me how to use them safely.We live in a very different society now. The only reason I suggest mandatory sentencing for crimes committed with firearms is that the stigma of committing crimes with firearms seems to be quite low nowadays. An ethical framework begins at home, but not very many parents seem concerned with that at present...though I am finding more and more parents who do care about more than their salary or the newest fancy car to drive. Some of the poorest parents (in terms of money) are among the best of parents (in terms of parenting), if you will excuse the world play.I could be wrong, of course. Most posters to websites don't admit to that kind of possibility, but I do. Yet the facts remain. It is certainly true that crimes committed using firearms have increased greatly in number. I am happy to hear other, better solutions."Bobh" makes a great point, and it illustrates why my Libertarian friends don't seem to respect me much. On the one hand, I think it is strange that we require testing and licensure for drivers---along with mandatory insurance in the several states in which I have lived---but not for firearms. On the other hand, there is no mention of automobiles in the Constitution. I am reminded of the old science-fiction story where the motto goes: "The right to buy find weapons is the right to be free."But we don't live in that world, sadly. I am willing to compromise a bit. To me, it all comes down to personal responsibility. If I carry a firearm, I am 100% responsible for it. But most governmental entities do not agree. So they try to institute controls. I am trying to find a compromise (according to Ambrose Bierce, that is defined by a solution which angers everyone).I don't mean to trivialize the firearm issue, but I do tend to see it in light of the automobile issue. It costs money to get "drivers' education," to take the test, and to get the license. Ditto the insurance required most places. Does that discriminate against the poor? How about older people who lose the ability to drive safely. Yup. But notice that most places have "workarounds" for that in many cases.But "Bobh" makes good points. Playing Devil's advocate, I would say that drivers' licensure is not the same as firearm licensure due to safety issues of the license holder, and their ability to protect themselves.Yet, as Larry Niven once wrote: freedom multiplied by security equals a constant. The more freedom, the less security. The more security, the less freedom.Again, just my thoughts and I appreciate the responses. "Eric Blair"