By HonestDiscussioner

Religion, Philosophy, Politics, and anything else I'd like to talk about


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gun Violence Means We Need MORE Guns??

Normally I try to give a shout out or some sort of credit during a blog post. I enjoy giving back to those that clue me in on the latest on the internet. This time is different; anyone I shout-out here is going to be the target of the criticism of this post.

In the wake of the tragic shooting of dozens of people during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado, where at least thirteen of those victims lost their life, that last thing I expected to see were arguments for less gun control. Yet on Facebook, I saw a slew of people begin arguing just that, and seemingly blaming liberal anti-gun policies for these tragic deaths. One took a situation in which someone with a concealed carry was able to stop the perpetrator in an armed robbery with no loss of innocent life thanks to his trusty concealed weapon and compared it to the recent Colorado slaughter where no such individual was present.

Let's ignore the fact that these are anecdotes for a moment and ask ourselves . . . so what? Seriously, if we are to follow the logic to its intended conclusion, what actions should we take? Perhaps we should allow for concealed carry in Colorado? If you are reading this, and are a gun advocate, ask yourself if you believe that would improve the situation in Colorado.

I ask this because Colorado already has a concealed carry law. In fact, the only state in all of the U.S. that doesn't allow for concealed carry is Illinois. If anything is clear about this situation, allowing for concealed carry is not an effective prevention measure against gun violence, unless we are to follow only the most favorable anecdotes. If you're really not convinced, I'd be happy to provide my own anecdotes, like the citizen who had a concealed carry that almost shot the retired Army Colonel who had wrestled the Tuscon shooter to the ground. That's right, in case you didn't know, the guy responsible for finally taking down the Tuscon shooter almost got a bullet to the head by someone trying to be a good Samaritan.

Now my example is also an anecdote, so don't think I'm arguing we should base all of our conclusions on that one example. I will point out that, in my research, I couldn't find any examples of "the lone shooter" scenario where the guns were purchased illegally. By "the lone shooter" I mean situations where one or more people go into a crowd and start shooting indiscriminately. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tuscon, and the recent Batman shootings were all done using legally purchased weapons. Certainly, other criminal activity done by professional criminals will likely be performed with illegal weapons, but that's because such criminals have criminal connections, they know where to go. There is no 7-11 convenience store equivalent for illegal gun sales. The type of people plotting such crimes generally lack the social skills to get such connections, which is why I think they all acquired legally purchased weapons.

*Note, check the bottom of this post. If anyone knows of any shooters that purchased black market weapons, leave a comment I will include them at the bottom.

One facebook post, reiterated by my friend good friend Adam McConnell (I shouted someone out after all), pointed to Switzerland as a good example for how we should handle gun laws. In Switzerland, there is compulsory one-year military service for all males once they reach 18 years old, and most if not all own a state-issued rifled that they get mandatory regularly training on. They have a very low level of gun violence in the country. The facebook post I learned this from was mostly accurate, enough that any criticism of its accuracy wouldn't change its overall message.

The problem with this actually resides in one of Adam's defense of low gun restrictions. ". . . given the established gun culture in this country and the extreme lack of broad education on the use of firearms; (mandatory) education on the use (not regulation of legal sale) of firearms should be the rallying cry."

The fact is, we already have a gun culture. Switzerland has had a healthy respect for guns institutionalized with very little tolerance for deviation from the laws respecting them. While most in Switzerland own guns at home, those not currently in service don't get to carry their guns around in public. Only those with a permit can do that, and only those in occupations that require weapons (such as security) can get a hold of that permit. You can go to the shooting range, but only directly, and you can only transport your gun and ammunition separately (i.e. no loaded guns while traveling). In a way, despite the massive amount of gun owners, Switzerland actually has more strict gun ownership laws than the U.S.

Frankly, if we were to institute a policy like the Swiss, I wouldn't be entirely against it. However given our gun culture, even with a significant push for education, it would be slow going to get to a point where the benefits actually outweighed the harms. We're talking decades.

All of this, is really getting away from the point, which is that concealed carry permits are not the answer and lowering the deadliness of the weapons allowed to be legally sold will certain do some good. Such suggestions have traditionally been dismissed out of hand by strawman arguments that equivocates any attempt to control guns as removing them entirely. To that end, I would like to ask gun advocates to consider the following provisions, and to frame the discussion as to whether they should be implemented wholesale, and not whether other more strict laws should be considered. This is what I propose:

• If you own a gun, keep it. That includes any guns that may later be illegal to purchase.
• If you want to carry your gun, open or concealed, get a permit and go right ahead.
• If you want ten guns, go ahead.
• If you want a hunting rifle, go ahead.
• If you want a nuclear weapon, no.
• Now here is the big one: Future legal sale of automatic weapons and extended magazine clips to citizens will no longer be allowed on the Federal level. Perhaps a "shots per minute" rate could be established, where a gun cannot fire more than 120 shots per minute (discounting loading times) in order to be legal.

Now tell me, what is the harm in this? Why can't we do this? What is the harm? I'm not expecting a land invasion of a foreign power anytime soon. And no, it's not because we have so many guns, it's because America is freakin' huge and would be next to impossible for even China to occupy even if our military suddenly vanished. Just look at the problems we have in Afghanistan.

*So far, no one has cited any instances of illegally purchased guns used in a shooting-spree scenario.