I addressed some arguments of the gun issue after the Las Vegas shooting.
I feel a need to readdress some of the same issues and also add some arguments I’ve recently encountered after the Texas shooting. Which right there indicates a problem. After Las Vegas we were told “Now isn’t the time”. And it still isn’t apparently. It wasn’t after children were slaughtered in Newton. It isn’t now, and it wont be after the next one. We couldn’t even get rid of utterly useless bump stocks after 59 killed.
What I would like it be time for is civil discussion. For the vast majority of moderates to try to work together. To do that, we have to address some theories that are either illogical, or have serious flaws inherent in them.
The topics addressed in the first post, HERE, were:
If we restrict guns only criminals will have guns; I own lots of guns and have never had an accident or done a mass shooting; Chicago; I need a gun to stop the bad guys; We didn’t have this in the gold old days; It’s my Second Amendment Right; Hitler, Mao, Stalin all started by taking the guns; Shouldn’t we ban trucks and knives and anything else used to kill people? What about all the responsible gun owners?
I want to amplify on some of those answers, given the latest.
Many people are pointing to the fact that a citizen with a gun fired at and wounded the gunman in Texas. The President has said this prevented “hundreds more” from being killed.
Perhaps, although it appears the gunman killed or wounded a large percentage of the town over the course of seven minutes and was exiting the church when shot at. Apparently there are many satisfied that a 26 to 1 kill ratio is satisfactory; personally I’m not big on it. And that more guns would bring that number down. “Let’s bring guns to church” is a new refrain.
South Carolina once passed a law requiring all males to brings their guns to church. It was after an attempted slave insurrection by Denmark Vessey and they realized Sunday morning would be the best time for that when the slave owners were at church.
But here’s the thing. The answer many come up with is we need more guns to combat guns. Let’s logically follow that one. The US has more privately owned guns per capita than any other first world nation. By far. We also have the highest death rate by guns than any other first world nation. By far. If the argument that more guns would prevent these events is true, then what’s wrong? Is there a magic tipping point of more guns where that will equal less deaths by guns? Shouldn’t we actually, by the “more guns” arguments, currently have the least deaths among first world nations since we have the most guns? We have enough guns in this country for every man, woman, and child to be armed.
Additionally, while we focus on these shootings, we ignore the #1 cause of death by gun, which is suicide. Yes, yes, just like we argue that someone who wants to kill will find something else to kill with other than a gun, someone who wants to kill themselves can find something else to do it; but let’s all agree a gun is far easier? Or else why do people own them and don’t go hunting with a knife or rental truck? Suicide is often an impulse and a gun makes it easy to act on that impulse. Something more difficult, requiring planning and more time, might allow some people, including perhaps a few of the 22 fellow Veterans who suicide every day (most by gun), to have a moment to get past the impulse.
We can add in accidental discharges, which far outnumber the stopping of the bad guy in terms of wounds and deaths. That’s called friendly fire. With hundreds of millions of guns in this country, it happens a lot.
“We don’t need automatic weapons.” This one is a non-starter because I have yet to hear of a mass shooting where an automatic weapon was used. The Las Vegas gun-man used a bump stock, which as noted above, is worthless and inaccurate, unless someone wants the ‘feel’ of firing on automatic or shooting at a crowd of 20,000 people massed together from the vantage of the 33rdfloor. Too many anti-gun people don’t know much about guns and they make inaccurate claims that hurt their case. Automatic weapons are very tightly controlled.
There is a lot of argument about “assault rifles”. Some unfamiliar with guns make inaccurate statements about them. But many who are familiar with guns also make inaccurate statements about them. Yes, you can use an AR-15 to shoot rodents and even to hunt other game. But the fact is the AR-15, the AK-47, and all the variants were designed specifically for the military. You can use it for other things; but there are other guns specifically designed for those other things that don’t take high capacity magazines and fire a round specifically designed for military use. In the case of the AR, it is the 5.56 round. Anyone who has seen what this round does to an adult, never mind a child, knows what I’m talking about. In fact, I am very much in favor of releasing the video of what happened in that church and the crime scene photos of every shooting. We cannot have a rational discussion about this topic with the vast majority of Americans having only a theoretical or Hollywood image of what happens. It would be terrible to do this, many families would probably be against it, but we have to face reality.
There are those who say the Texas shooter should have been stopped by the laws in place. True. The argument then goes that laws do not work, which is a rather ludicrous statement since our entire civilization is based on laws. In fact, using the Second Amendment, a law, to justify owning a firearm, and then saying laws wouldn’t work to get some control over those firearms, is contradictory. Because here’s the next thing: there is no illegal gun factory in the US. Every gun starts out legal. Many of the guns that criminals use are legal guns that are stolen. In essence, we are arming the very people we feel we have to arm ourselves against. Another snake eating its own tail argument.
Another thing I see is that the purpose of the Second Amendment is so we could fight back against a tyrannical government. This doesn’t factor in the fear of slave revolts as an additional impetus for Amendment, but that’s another story. My question is this: when will the time be for us to pull our guns out? How will we, collectively, decide our government has become a tyranny? I’m of the opinion we’ve had a coup in the past year and we have a Russian stooge as President, elected by a minority of the people with foreign influence — almost fits the definition of tyranny in a way. His comments praising Putin and against our own intelligence agencies just the other day are on the verge of treason. Who should I go out and shoot? I prefer to let the law and voting work. And many Americans disagree with me, which is fine. We can agree to disagree; I’m not going to shoot anyone. Today.
Another argument I saw was that we have an inalienable right to defend ourselves. Personally, and this is just an opinion, I rank the inalienable right not to get shot on a higher plane than that. Just saying.
We’re not going to do away with guns. I own guns. I’m trained on them and used them in my previous occupation and have always considered them a tool. I see a place for them, both as tools and for hobbyists. But I also see a place for rational discussion about the topic, which I believe the vast majority of people, including the majority of law-abiding gun owners, would be fine with. The extremists on both sides interfere with that, and sadly, I include the NRA which uses fear-mongering. It used to be a worthwhile organization but has gone too far.
I think we simply treat guns like driving and cars. Driving is a skill, so is handling a gun. Someone wants to own guns, they need training and to earn a current license for whatever class of gun they want to own.
Every car is registered, so every gun should be registered in a national database. When sold, the registration must be transferred.
Would it work? It would take years since we already have so many guns. But if we don’t start now, when? When will be the time for it? What is our acceptable level of bodycount? 59? 26? 20 six and seven year olds at school?
Licensing and registering would not be foolproof. Nothing is. We have tons of car accidents. We have people driving drunk. Texting while driving. Not getting licenses. Not registering their cars. (Interestingly, the factor of gun liability and insurance could be an intriguing aspect–Newton lawsuit). But something is better than the hodge-podge of inconsistent laws and regulations that dot our country. I had a carry license in WA state, but here in TN, there are different requirements. Interestingly, WA, a more liberal state only required a background check, while red TN, requires a background check and a day of training. Let’s get national on this.
I already anticipate two arguments against this: the tyrannical government will know who to come after to get their guns and where the guns are. But wouldn’t that be the moment all us gun owners know the government is tyrannical and we fight back? We’ve followed the law, we’re licensed and registered, have committed no crime and you want my gun? I don’t think so. It would be much clearer than the Night of the Long Knives or Kristallnacht and more national.
The second will be that criminals, of course, won’t obey these laws. Yes. But if we make mandatory prison of at least a year, such as New York City has (why did the guy driving the truck only have a paintball and pellet gun?), for those carrying a gun without both license and registration, that will put a quick chill on things and give police a powerful weapon against armed criminals. They won’t even have to have committed a crime with the gun. Just having it, unlicensed and/or unregistered would be enough.
But one thing for certain. Doing nothing other than “thoughts and prayers” is utterly worthless in real terms.
Originally published at bobmayer.com on November 13, 2017.