In the wake of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, political pundits and 'gun control' zealots are again storming the airwaves - ignoring the mass of warning signs to focus instead upon his weapon of choice that killed 17 people and injured around the same number. Never mind that a lone Islamic jihadist killed 86 people and injured at least 400 others with a lorry, but no calls to ban cargo trucks. Never mind that a similar Islamic suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured 59 others at an Ariana Grande concert. Never mind that the airliners used in the September 11th Terrorist Attacks were hijacked using pocket knives and simple box cutters.
No, they create a moral panic over so-called 'assault rifles'.
'Assault weapon' is an all-but meaningless term concocted by the media to essentially refer to any firearm that "looks scary". The Colt AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14 pictured above are functionally identical - in fact, simply swapping out a few cosmetic accessories can make the Mini-14 look like the AR-15 and vice-versa is a matter of minutes. Yet the "scary black gun" will get branded as an 'assault rifle', regardless of what model it actually is.
Many have called to renew the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban (which expired in 2004) either not knowing or simply not caring that it was allowed to lapse because it had no measurable effect on the rate and/or severity of gun violence. In fact, The FBI's Uniform Crime Statistics consistently report around 250 people killed annually with long guns (all manner of rifles, shotguns, etc) combined while around 600 people are killed annually by "hands, fists, feet, etc" - even when including "Unknown Firearm", fewer people are killed each year by long guns than by TOTALLY UNARMED PERSONS!
Do we cut off people's hands and feet at birth to address this?
Of course not.
Unfortunately, many of the proposed 'solutions' are impractical at best and many are even worse than the problem they're attempting to solve.
Fortunately, we already have a proven archetype which can be readily adapted to address these issues.
I speak, of course, of the Commercial Drivers' License (CDL) system - assigned Class ratings to indicate which categories of equipment the driver is certified to use and specific endorsements for non-standard configurations.
Any law enforcement officer or comparable peacekeeper can demand said license to be presented whenever they encounter any individual they can visibly discern to be in possession of any number of firearms or related accessories. The serial numbers of any and all legally-obtained weaponry will be cross-indexed to the Federal Identification Number (FIN) in a federal database - persons found to be in possession of unauthorized equipment will be detained until any and all discrepancies can be accounted for and immediately arrested if said discrepancies remain outstanding.
Suggested License Policies
The United States Firearms License System would be a joint operation between the United States Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives - similar to the aforementioned CDL system, examination and issuance would be at the discretion of the individual States while the license itself is valid in all US States, Territories, and other possessions.
Typically, a license for an adult aged twenty-one (21) years or older would be valid until the licensee's birth-date approximately four years from issuance. An adult who has been licensed for at least ten (10) years may sponsor minor dependents for annual licensing. A sponsored minor may possess, carry, and use equipment registered to their sponsor (and vice-versa) provided that they are otherwise licensed to do so of their own accord.
Suggested Fee Schedule
Initial Licensing Fee : $100 for Adults; $60 for Sponsored Minors
This fee includes verification of proper training certification, criminal background checks, and the initial term (four  years for adults, one  year for sponsored minors).
License Renewal Fee : $30 for Adults; $15 for Sponsored Minors
This fee includes an internal reverification of applicable certifications, checking for interim flagging, and renewal at a flat rate of $5 per year.
Reinstatement Fee : $500
In most cases, the revocation of a Firearms License is PERMANENT. In certain extenuating circumstances, the department may permit an individual to reinstate their license - new training certification and documented psychiatric evaluation will be required, and the reinstatement will only remain valid for two (2) years.
Provided there are no further difficulties, licensing will return to the normal four-year schedule upon renewal. A second revocation is PERMANENT, WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
A revoked Minor's license CANNOT be reinstated. Such an individual may apply for adult reinstatement as outlined above upon turning twenty-one (21) years of age. A second revocation is PERMANENT, WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
If an Adult's Firearms License is revoked and/or expired, they have a maximum of TEN DAYS to sell their equipment to an authorized retailer, certify that it is secured in a dedicated storage facility, or turned over to a local police station for storage and/or disposal. If the Federal Database does not reflect such disposition within ten days, authorities will be automatically notified and dispatched to investigate WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
If a Sponsored Minor's Firearms License is revoked and/or expired, the minor's Adult Sponsor is IMMEDIATELY accountable for any and all equipment in the minor's possession. The disposition of this equipment is at the Sponsor's discretion, but they are required WITHOUT EXCEPTION to not allow the revokee to access it.
Federal Identification Number
It is recommended that the Federal Identification Number (FIN) utilize a system similar to that depicted above: preceded by the postal designation of the issuing State and succeeded by a similar two-letter code indicating the specific issuing agency within that State.
The intervening digits should be an encrypted 'checksum' generated from all other information presented upon the face of the license (name, Class, Endorsements, etc) as an additional measure of security to ensure that the FIN does indeed belong to the individual named and pictured upon the license.
Suggested License Classes
CLASS A : Unrestricted
The highest level of Firearms License; in addition to all lesser levels, includes the right to possess and purchase fully-automatic weapons, collapsable/modular weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other highly-restricted equipment. Generally restricted to current and former military and law enforcement explicitly trained to handle such weapons.
CLASS B : Advanced
In addition to all lesser levels, includes the right to possess and purchase pre-1986 automatic weapons with stock accessories only. Any additional accessories for such weapons require specific endorsements.
CLASS C : Concealed Handgun
In addition to all lesser levels, includes the right to carry concealed firearms on one's person in any public location where such is not specifically prohibited.
CLASS D: Standard Handgun
In addition to all lesser levels, includes the right to possess, purchase, and open-carry revolvers, semiautomatic pistols, and other similar handguns; includes all affiliated ammunition and accessories which do not require explicit endorsement.
CLASS E : Rifles and Shotguns
In addition to all lesser levels, includes the right to possess, purchase, and open-carry shotguns, rifles, and other similar long guns; includes both manual and semiautomatic models, as well as affiliated ammunition and accessories which do not require explicit endorsement.
CLASS F : Single-Shot Firearms
In addition to all lesser levels, includes the right to possess, purchase, and open-carry shotguns, rifles, pistols, and other similar firearms which completely lack automated reloading mechanisms; ie manual bolt-action rifles, lever-action rifles and/or shotguns, black-powder firearms, and so forth. Specifically excludes revolvers which utilize modern ammunition types.
CLASS G : Low-Power Target Arms
The lowest level of Firearms License; is only valid for low-power, small-caliber practice/sporting arms which operate exclusively by means of compressed gasses; ie BB and/or pellet guns using CO2 cartridges or manual air compression mechanisms.
A : Specialty Ammunition
Without an A endorsement, licensee is prohibited from possessing, purchasing, or carrying any category of restricted ammunition types; ie tracer rounds, extreme load/charge rounds, armor-penetrating bullet types, etc.
C : Large-Caliber Ammunition
Without a C endorsement, licensee is prohibited from possessing, purchasing, or carrying any firearm and/or ammunition in excess of .380 APC/9mm caliber. This also includes large-caliber black-powder weapons, deer slugs, and all other such instances.
X : Medium-Capacity Magazines
Y : High-Capacity Magazines
Without either an X or Y endorsement, licensee is prohibited from possessing, purchasing, or carrying any firearm and/or magazine capable of holding fourteen (14) or more rounds of ammunition.
An X endorsement permits licensee to possess, purchase, and carry firearms and/or magazines with capacities up to twenty-nine (29) rounds of ammunition.
A Y endorsement permits licensee to possess, purchase, and carry firearms and/or magazines of any capacity.
(These endorsements are merely presented as examples and is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of specific features and/or capabilities which should require explicit endorsement in order to possess, purchase, and carry.)
Anyone attempting to purchase firearms, ammunition, or accessories MUST present a valid Firearms License. The license will feature both a printed code and an encoded stripe on the back, and all such retailers must scan BOTH identifiers to process the transaction. At gun shows and other non-standard venues, sellers may use a dedicated mobile app and card reader to accomplish these same functions. Private transfers will be referred to local courthouses and/or police stations to validate the exchanges.
In addition to verifying that the licensee has passed all background checks and protocols to obtain their purchase(s), the serial number(s) of the firearms and/or accessories are automatically removed from the seller's inventory and cross-indexed with their unique Federal Identification Number (FIN). If, FOR ANY REASON, a licensee takes possession of unauthorized equipment (for whatever reason), the Federal Database will AUTOMATICALLY notify the closest law enforcement agency of the infraction.
Individuals and/or sellers found to be in deliberate violation of United States Firearms License protocols will be subject to immediate revocation of their licensing in addition to possible civil and/or criminal prosecution.