The only person currently arguing against guns so far – little old me.
To be frank, I think US gun laws are stupid.I think that owing a gun should be illegal. I know that will offend all the rednecks and police officers and militia members and ex-military people reading. I know. But it’s my opinion. Here’s why.
Guns kill people.
Yes, I am oversimplifying things. But that’s still what I think. For one thing, guns don’t actually kill people. Blood loss and organ damage caused by a fast-moving projectile caused by a person holding a gun kills people.
In the United States, guns are legal to own, carry and buy. I get that there are lots of controls, but the fact remains that you can walk into Walmart and come out ten minutes later with an armful of guns. And I insist that in that kind of society, people will get killed. People will shoot and people will die.
In the UK, we have a low murder rate – a few hundred murders a year, of which a few dozen were using guns (most were done using blunt objects). In the USA, it is tens of thousands. Of which more than half are from gunshots. Need any more numbers than that?
What I think is that the US should do is make the selling of guns and ammo illegal. Then you can have an amnesty on gun ownership, and people give up their guns. If you then give the population 5 years to give up their arms, we can eliminate most of the guns that hang around in society. That leaves rednecks, criminals who feel they need guns and libertarians. Who are probably a minority.
And if you have strict penalties on gun ownership, within not too long you can drop the gun ownership and the murder rate. I know that this kind of project would cost dozens of millions of dollars and basically be the end of the public approval for that government. But isn’t the disapproval from the rednecks a fair price for saving tens of thousands of lives every year?
There are reasonable arguments that guns allow people to have more freedom, to be safer in dangerous cities and so on and so on. The US has tried to compromise on this, by limiting the kinds of guns people can own and how many they can buy and how much ammo they can own at any one time. But still there are gun deaths in America.
To me, it seems there are two options that work. You can educate the population in how to use guns, so everyone knows how to use guns and takes them seriously (like in Switzerland) or just ban them outright (like in the UK). I think we should go with the second – if we educate everyone, they will know how to kill someone with one shot rather than a dozen. Good thing?
Now I’m going to go off on a tangent for a bit. While doing research for this post, I ended up in an interesting place – and it describes the problem with the US gun law debate. The theory goes like this: the reason pro-gun and anti-gun people can never agree on anything is because they are talking about different things. The people who are want to keep guns aren’t talking about guns, they’re talking about civil liberties. The people who want to scrap guns are talking about guns. It’s like the infamous ‘spoons made me fat’ pro-gun protest.
One person is talking about guns, one is talking about the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life – get fat, kill a person, make a fortune exploiting natural resources. It’s the American dream. Unless we can have both people talking about the same thing, we will never be able to arrive at a solution. And how you can have two people talking about different things agree I really don’t know.
Now as I live in the UK, I have never held a working gun (there are a few disabled ones chained to the floor in the Imperial War Museum, but they don’t count) and so don’t feel I have a right to bear arms. To me, the argument seems biased towards banning guns – but that’s because I never had any guns to take away. But if you take, say, 3G data coverage away from me in the same kind of way, I will riot on the streets. The difference is that 3G never killed anyone. As far as I know.
All of that said, I’m not really sure on my view on tasers, pepper spray and other non-lethal weaponry. They don’t kill people, but they do encourage violence. The only way to really find out is ban fatal weaponry and see how the usage settles out. That said, there is one more solution.
We can legalise all guns, take off all control on firearms, let everyone have a gun.
And ban ammo.