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Why Gun Control Won’t Work

February 17, 2013


Since the Newtown massacre and all the rhetoric about gun violence from all sides, I’ve been sitting back taking it all in and trying to see if there is a rational solution. Unfortunately, I have concluded that there really isn’t one, and here’s why. Humans are a violent species. They are the only species that kills for sport and pleasure. All other animals kill only for survival. If you eliminate all guns, knife-related crimes will increase. If you then take away all knives, bludgeonings will skyrocket. The killers among us will always find a way to kill, it just won’t be quite as convenient.

One solution bandied about is to pass mandatory minimum sentences for anyone using a gun in the commission of a crime. I like that, but the problem is there are not enough prisons to hold them all. Prison space could be freed up by pardoning all those who were sentenced for non-violent drug offences. There are a lot of vacant federal buildings that could be converted to prisons, but gun crime is such an epidemic that there still wouldn’t be enough space or money in the budget to house all the offenders.

Another solution might be to declare war on gangs. Police know who and where the gang members are, but they can’t seem to wipe them out. They should be dealt with like the terrorists that they are. Drone strikes sound like a good alternative but that won’t happen.

I used to think that the “wild west” approach might help. If everyone wore a pistol on their hip, others would be less likely to mess with you. It would be a form of mutually-assured destruction. But, after seeing states like Arizona pass such laws, it worries me. Even with a gun on my hip, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going into a bar filled with drunk, pistol-packin’ rednecks, one of whom might be itchin’ for a fight. So, while this may be a possible deterrent, I’m now on the fence about it.

The many benefits of legalizing drugs is fodder for another blog post, but legalization would go a long way toward lowering gun-related crimes. Drug laws force casual, non-violent, and otherwise upstanding users to associate with seedy, black-market characters in order to cop some recreational drugs. The proverbial “drug deal gone bad” only happens because of wrong-headed drug laws that feed the profit motive for traffickers and gang bangers.

As long as the republicans in congress are in the pocket of the NRA, no gun control legislation is possible. And, while the NRA is hated by liberals, they do have some very valid points.

1] Background checks and gun registries could lead to eventual confiscation of all guns – especially those from law-abiding citizens. Then, only the government (and criminals) would have guns. The whole reason for the 2nd amendment was to prevent the government from having all the power.

2] Background checks will do nothing to prevent criminals from purchasing guns and little to prevent lunatics from having them. Illegal guns are as available as, for example, marijuana. There’s no way to eliminate them. Legislation won’t do it.

On the other hand, I disagree with the NRA when it comes to automatic and semiautomatic rifles with high-capacity magazines. They can’t say that they are used for hunting because there is no sport in slaughtering a defenseless animal with such a meat grinder. Yes, they can be used for target shooting and defense, but why? I’ve had two guns stolen and, while I wish I had them back, I’m glad that they were only a single-shot shotgun and a 7-round, bolt-action .22 rifle that fell into the wrong hands.

So, must we all just learn to live with the proliferation of guns and accept the unfortunate casualties that happen when some people have the urge to kill indiscriminately? The answer seems to be “yes”, but the few things I’ve listed above should be tried and the goal should be minimization of gun crimes because elimination of them is impossible.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2013 8:25 PM

    I don’t know how you’ve handled this on your home planet, but if you just look at statistics, you’ll find that most uses for guns involves suicides, then shooting an acquaintance or a family member this gun is theoretically supposed to protect. And only then, in just of fraction of cases, guns are really used for protection. Also, if you compare USA to other countries populated by human species, but with much more restricted access to guns, you’ll notice a homicide rate twice or three times lower than here.
    And I don’t buy the argument that mandatory background checks and gun registry will lead ti gun confiscation – all cars are registered, yet no one seriously thinks that government wants to take them away.

    • February 18, 2013 11:00 AM

      We Uranians are a peaceful people. We don’t possess the “violence gene” that you humans all seem to have to some extent. I didn’t feel the need to own a gun until I crashed on this planet. If we want to end our lives prematurely, that’s a personal decision and there are acceptable and humane methods available to help us do so. If we find ourselves in a tense situation where tempers flair, we have sense enough to remove ourselves from that situation until the tension subsides. Occasionally a family member is strangled to death, but that is rare.

      I didn’t say that checks and registries WILL lead to gun confiscation, I said they COULD. New York has already made it illegal to own a gun. This is what hard core gun rights advocates irrationally feared when Obama was elected, and when he was re-elected. American voters too many times elect crackpot ideologues. Look at the Tea Party. All it would take for guns to be made illegal and confiscated would be a sweeping election of anti-gun politicians to congress.

      Cars kill as many people as guns, but we accept that death rate so we can get where we want to go. However, we have regulations in place to MINIMIZE the number of deaths caused by cars. Cars don’t kill people, careless drivers do. I hate the idea of driver-less cars, but that technology is on the horizon in an attempt to further reduce car-related deaths. As long as humans are allowed to operate firearms, there will be gun deaths. If only we could eliminate the human factor from that equation.

      • February 18, 2013 9:56 PM

        It’s nearly impossible for anti-gun politicians to be swept into Congress. A human colony on Uranus seems more likely at this point. But even if that does happen, it would still be impossible to confiscate all the hundreds of millions of guns currently in private hands, and most will remain out there pretty much forever. But if any stricter gun regulation does happen (I am not holding my breath for confiscation), it will still make the human society safer.

        • February 19, 2013 10:59 AM

          I hope you’re right. But what are you going to do about the criminals who don’t observe gun regulations? They will always have guns and won’t hesitate to use them.

          • February 19, 2013 11:53 PM

            Same thing we do about people who break the laws prohibiting rape, theft and murder. Just because some people will break a law doesn’t mean we should stop enforcing it.

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