Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The need for gun control

Who will be the last to die from the effects of "small government." As long as I can remember (which is not that long in terms of the political landscape) liberal politicians have been accused of "trying to take away your guns" by conservative politicians who promise to UPHOLD YOUR 2nd AMENDMENT RIGHTS (always in all caps). During the Bush administration this debate fell into the rediculous with the Republican led Congress allowing the federal assault weapons ban to expire. That is the Congress decided that it was not important to continue to ban the sale of weapons that have no other purpose than killing en mass.

The Democrats showed that they were not much better by letting the debate teeter away after the Virginia Tech shooting, where it seemed clear to most that the shooting would have been made more difficult through more gun regulation. The New York Times Blog reported that:
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said, “The politicians are afraid to address this issue.”
And unfortunately subsequent action only proved Mr. Helmke correct. Despite shootings in malls, schools, and highways politicians have idled in DC and state capitols unwilling to alienate the gun owning voter.

Today, we were presented with another reminder of the detrimental affect of guns. There was a rally of over 300 people in Chicago to protest the gun violence that has affected Chicago's youth. From WaPo:
In all, 20 Chicago public school students have been fatally shot so far this school year -- seven in March alone -- compared with 24 the year before, said spokesman Mike Vaughn. Including those who died in non-gun violence, 22 students have been killed this year, and 30 last school year. School officials could not provide precise figures, but said that killings had increased markedly over past years.

These students that have died in Chicago have been between the ages of 10-18 and their deaths have mostly been blamed on "gang violence." An NPR report on this protest quotes individuals who argue, in a uniquely American way, that the gun violence cannot be lessoned by regulation. They argue that there is a bigger problem of "gang culture" that is causing this violence.

It is obvious that there are bigger problems in urban America. There are problems of poverty, violence, addiction, crime etc. These problems are intricately connected and if solved will take a national effort.

Guns must still be removed.

If you have have a couple fighting, will access to a gun improve or worsen the situation? If you have groups fighing, will access to guns improve or worsen the situation? If you have a divided society, city, area, will access to guns improve or worsen the sitution? Some would argue that guns improve the situation. They include this guy.

They argue that we need guns to defend ourselves from all the criminals who want to kill you and that if guns were omnipresent then criminals would never attack because they would be afraid that you have a gun.

There's a very good chance that every single student shot to death in Chicago was shot with a gun intended for protection against criminals. A gun would not deter a criminal, rather because their interests rely on succeeding in their criminal endeavor they would have significant incentive to invest in the best, biggest gun available. Should we have micro arms races among neighborhoods? No.

What we need are sensible gun regulations that make it as difficult as possible to obtain weapons with only occasional minor allowances where absolutely necessary. Many other countries have banned guns and have not seen the predicted criminal masses arise with their illegal weapons against the defenseless unarmed law abiding citizens. We must come together and face the issues of gun control. We must fight back against the NRA's red herrings (guns=freedom) and realize that regulating guns will cause it to be harder to purchase and use guns. Automatic weapons ought to be entirely banned, there is no reason for any law-abiding citizen to own a machine gun.

Yes, there are deeper problems that need to be addressed, however the Chicago deaths reminds us that guns magnify all problems to a level that cannot be allowed in any society.

This is cross posted at


Sailorcurt said...

1. The "Assault weapons ban" was nothing more than feel good, do nothing legislation that only banned scary looking cosmetic features. The semi-automatic rifles that look similar to military issue assault rifles were still readily and freely available throughout the duration of the ban...manufacturers simply produced them with less of the aesthetic features that frighten the ignorant.

2. The "Assault weapons ban" as with every other gun control scheme ever tried, had no effect whatsoever on crime. Two separate studies by the DOJ and the CDC found no evidence that any gun control measures (including the "Assault weapons ban" which was in effect at the time) had any crime deterrent effect.

What logical justification is there to keep a law on the books that serves no purpose? Just to make hoplophobes "feel safer?" Well, I "feel" safer with the ability to arm myself. Why should your "feelings" trump mine?

3. I own several sport utility rifles that you would consider "Assault weapons." If, by banning them, you are not "trying to take away my guns", then what ARE you trying to do?

4. Illinois in general and Chicago in particular already have some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country, yet gun crime in Chicago is strangely unabated. Short of "taking away my guns" which you imply is not your goal, how do you propose to stop it?

4. Guns must still be removed

Wait a minute...just a couple of paragraphs ago you implied that liberal politicians were being UNJUSTLY accused of "trying to take away your guns". Which is it? Are they (and you) trying to take them away or not?

5. You're projecting. Just because you aren't emotionally stable enough to have a gun in your house without using it in the event of a disagreement with your wife doesn't mean that the rest of us are cursed with that same lack of control. My wife and I argue as often as anyone and we have several guns in the house...including the one intended for self defense and kept loaded and at hand at all times. Neither of us has ever even considered using it to resolve our differences.

Tens of millions of families in this country own guns. Is your contention that they never fight? If even one tenth of one percent of the approximately 42 million gun owning households were as irresponsible and prone to violence as you suggest, there would be upwards of 42,000 domestic shootings per year.

Perhaps YOU shouldn't have guns in your home, but at least 40% of the population (the approximate percentage of currently armed households) are demonstrably stable and responsible enough to do so.

There is not a gun rights advocate in the country attempting to force you to own a gun.

They argue that...if guns were omnipresent then criminals would never attack because they would be afraid that you have a gun.

Yes, I've also found that it's much easier to knock down straw men than to address the ACTUAL arguments of gun rights supporters.

The bottom line is that your entire line of "reasoning" relies solely upon emotion, assumption and hyperbole. You concentrate on the thousands of gun crimes that occur every year and completely ignore the MILLIONS of incidents of armed self defense. Within the course of a couple of paragraphs, you go from assuring us that you don't want to "take away our guns" to saying "they must be removed". You ignore the basic fact that the majority of gun crimes occur in the areas with the strictest gun control laws. You ignore the fact that the very people who commit gun crimes are the ones who already ignore those strict gun laws and imply that they could be turned into law abiding citizens by just passing one more "sensible" law.

What, exactly, is "sensible" about that?

Earl said...

I have lived around and with weapons all my life, and have yet to fire one in anger, but I do fire them effectively. They are in my home, I take them with me when I travel, I find recreational use important and skill levels wonderful to improve. I find the idea that I could be a problem with or without a weapon troubling, for most people only see the EVIL in others that is in themselves. Most humans are so much better than the criminal, insane and the stupid. Most humans do just fine around and with weapons. Your ideas are false, to suppose that any government that can't protect its territory from illegal drugs and aliens could protect anyone from illegal weapons by making all weapons illegal. Really not clear logical thinking out there, but fantasy is a favored genre at your library and bookstores.

ROACH said...

assault weapons ban is protectionism for US gun makers, from affordable foreign made firearms. whos got 900 dollars for an ar-15, when you can buy an SKS for 150?
and heres some useful information about the brady bunch's point man:
"the Paul Helmke I know" and i'm telling you all this for free( & "15 minutes" of fame)
e-book autobiography:
google "paul helmke"
the brady center/campaign guy- wants to take away your guns
yea! that guy. a nice sized fish to skewer

i'm not a spammer. i'm a whistleblower. i'm seeking justice. I'm a citizen activist, who cleaned up a city of illegal gambling. (I deserve a police medal/citation, really)I have a true story to tell- relevant, timely- given all the other politicians going down like dominos.(or ON "Dominos"?)( 007-thunderball)
e-mail me back with any questions, or post to my blog.
thank you.
david c roach
x-wire publishing

please help turn this scandal "viral"- forward this to everybody in your address book, and re=post it to interested blogs. make sure it gets onto google- everywhere, global news- so my hometown/Indiana law enforcement/US Federal agencies cant say : we dont know anything about this. when they take away our rights, and guns, we all become slaves.
and please bookmark my blog, for your later amusement. thank you!

CTone said...

I agree with every word Sailorcurt said so I can afford to be brief.

Your argument is based on emotion rather than logic:

"A gun would not deter a criminal, rather because their interests rely on succeeding in their criminal endeavor they would have significant incentive to invest in the best, biggest gun available"

Actually, guns do deter criminals because their interests really rely on survival. Virtually all defensive gun uses result in no shots fired.

And spare me the absurd - "the bad guy will just take your gun and use it against you" argument - that one has worn thin.

As far as having the bestest and most manly sized gun, what a silly thing to say. There are different guns for different purposes, but a little .380 Kel-Tec will do just as well, in competent hands, as a .45 in the hands of the inexperienced. Perhaps you think a criminal will charge into my little Glock because he has a Desert Eagle?

Did you get this idea from watching too much Jack Bauer?