I am a super-practical and super-logical person. I don’t have one iota of idealism in my body. No, not one.
I was also raised in a well-armed, firearms friendly home.
I have many, many more “liberal” friends these days that I did when I was in my 20s. This is a good thing. Knowing and loving people who don’t think exactly like I do is good for me. It is good for all of us, though some of us were raised in a paradigm that there is always ONE right way about everything, and that that right way is GOD’s way. That can make it difficult to embrace people who believe differently, but once you shed the fear that their “wrongness” is communicable, it all works out nicely. But I digress…
I’m having to look at the issue of gun control much more seriously than I’ve ever had to before. Previously, gun control was what “those crazy liberals” always wanted to do. Since I have so many lovely, liberal friends now, I want to truly understand what they are saying. I want to truly examine the solutions they are proposing. So, I’ve read a lot from them in the last week. I’ve entered into light debate about gun control on some forums. I’m examining.
But being the logical, practical person I am, I don’t really understand exactly how “they” picture this working. Granted, there is no real “they.” Everyone and his brother has a different opinion about what should be done, so I’m in danger of picking apart a strawman’s argument, which is pretty unhelpful.
And yet, I still want to pick apart some of the proposals I’m hearing. Some people process verbally; I process with a keyboard.
DISARM PRIVATE CITIZENS
Usually these words aren’t used, because they are so inflammatory. But when people post things about gun laws in Britain or Japan, I just don’t understand how that is helpful. Those societies are effectively disarmed. (During the London riots in the Summer of 2011, shopkeepers were nearly helpless to protect their inventory. A cricket bat against a crowd of 30 hoodlums isn’t very effective.) A society that is already disarmed has a certain mindset that simply doesn’t exist in the USA. We have about 200 millions privately-owned firearms in the US. HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT DISARMING OUR SOCIETY? Assuming that every gun owner decided that s/he is *willing* to give up arms, how would that work? Would we reimburse people for their arms? If we estimate that each of these weapons is worth $100 (which is wildly assumptive), that would be $20 billion in goods. Who is going to pay the owners for those arms?
Or would you expect the owners to give them up and not be reimbursed?
Would you be willing to give an asset worth thousands of dollars–with which you have never committed a crime–to the government? Isn’t it unreasonable to expect gun owners to do so?
Disposal of this many weapons would also be problematic. I also suspect that it would be rife with corruption, given the fact that they are valuable items that the criminal element has an interest in acquiring.
I’m not even going to try to address the absurdity of attempting to disarm a population who owns 200 million guns against the population’s will . . .
CONTROL FUTURE SALES/HAVE “BETTER” LAWS
This is the suggestion that I see the most often.
But I think we have to refer to “DISARM PRIVATE CITIZENS” to discuss its effectiveness. We are a country with 200 million firearms in private hands. Even if all firearms produced after 2012 were considered illegal to be owned (similar to how automatic weapons were regulated in the 1980s), there are still plenty of weapons to be used in crimes. As budding criminals grow up and want to own their own weapons, there are enough to go around already in circulation. If another Adam Lanza wanted a weapon, he could acquire one.
Controlling future sales of clips/magazines is another proposal. During mass shootings, there is an extremely short, we-are-equal window provided to victims during reload. It is a *very* short window, but in more than one case, that has been when gunmen were overpowered. This advantage is worth noting, and why I think that there is some validity to limiting clip/magazine capacities. (Please don’t tell my dad, my brothers, or my husband I just said that.) The problem I see with this solution is that criminals who want high-capacity magazines can still acquire the ones already in circulation. This leads me to the next proposal I’ve heard…
CRIMINALIZE ITEMS ALREADY OWNED
This is kind of related to “Disarm,” but I’d like to discuss it separately because limiting high-cap mags is really only useful if we were to destroy all of the high-cap mags already in circulation. If a criminal cannot purchase a 100 round magazine new, then he will simply purchase one used.
But if we destroyed “all” of them, wouldn’t that work?
That brings us back to the practical arguments against disarmament. Do you pay private citizens for turning in their now-illegal high-capacity magazines? Who pays them?
How do you make sure that everyone turned theirs in? You can’t, of course. So once again, the only people who own them would be criminals.
In my mind, there is validity to the phrase “Peace through superior fire power.” I will continue to examine the gun control arguments that I come across, but I confess to my beloved liberal friends that I don’t understand how these proposals can effectively reduce society’s risk given the current level of firearms ownership in our country. I still see gun control measures creating a much greater risk to disarmed, law-abiding citizens.
Do I *wish* that there were a way to prevent people from gunning down unarmed, defenseless people? Absolutely. I cannot express to you how deeply I wish we could prevent that from ever happening again. I just don’t see a prevention measure that is both practical and implementable. No doubt incremental change is better than no change at all, but I sincerely don’t know which change protects law-abiding citizens while hampering criminals.
***Note: I’ve not discussed lots and lots of related issues. I haven’t touched proposals for gun registration, background checks, etc. Maybe another day***