Gun Control – Or People Control?
Let’s face it, an armed society is going to have shootings. Any quick internet search will turn up shootings in every country in which guns are present. This is simply fact. At the same time, there are armed countries – like Canada – where shootings are rare. Canadians are armed, no doubt, it’s just they don’t use their arms on their neighbors or their schools or family members. At least, not like us Americans do. The Swiss are armed too – literally millions of Swiss men have – get this – fully automatic weapons in their homes. In fact, nearly every Swiss man does. Same’s true of a few other northern European countries.
With notable exceptions, these countries experience few shootings.
So what is it about Americans and America that ends up with armed (legal or otherwise) citizens shooting each other?
There’s two questions posed in the title: Gun Control or People Control? If we are truly egalitarian and say there are no differences between say, us and the Swiss, then what makes it so that the Swiss can remain armed (with the most horrific of arms, the fully-automatic rifle) and yet not shoot each other? Because, if there is no difference, then gun laws won’t work. Period. The opposite side of that is that Mexico has very strict gun laws, outlawing most private ownership. So law-abiding Mexicans are without arms. You might argue that point and say “as far as we know” or some other disclaimer but then I’d point out the ‘law-abiding’ part of the statement. Mexicans are dying, especially in terms of ratios, at record rates to gunfire.
So we have two opposites: heavily armed Swiss that rarely shoot each other and an unarmed populace of Mexicans regularly dying at the hands of illegally armed criminals. If guns are the problem – why this disparity? Shouldn’t the Swiss be shooting each other just every other hour?
Gun laws have not worked to keep guns out of the hands of criminals – whether in America or Mexico.
It’s true that in America, a good percentage of gun deaths are by those who legally owned guns. Gun laws restricting ownership would then, it would seem, curtail those shootings. At least, the mass shootings. After all, the crimes of passion would probably occur with a knife, club, baggy. Those headline-grabbing shootings, though, they might be limited. So, what gun laws that would most likely affect everyone would do is reduce the number of legally-owned guns that are used in mass shootings. Fair statement?
I can hear ya! No, you gun haters say, it would restrict the number of guns, which in turn would reduce the number of shootings, like from stolen guns. So the gun laws that would affect all gun owners would do is reduce mass shootings by those who legally owned the guns and those who stole legally owned guns. Now are we in agreement?
Even if that’s true, and I’ll concede it’s logical (I don’t know that logic will necessarily equal true, but let’s say it does), it doesn’t fix the problem of the illegal gun shootings.
First, I think we have to address what we want. Because if we do that, we’re going to see that we are trying to eliminate a very few events (however awful) by affecting a huge number of people. The many will suffer for the few. Heh, sounds like America.
What we want is the mass shootings to stop – right? Gun control people just said, no, we want all shootings to stop. OK, how? How do we do that? Mexico outlaws almost all gun ownership and I think very few would think that’s what is going to happen here, no matter how much they want that. So we aren’t going to eliminate all shootings.
The possible paths are:
- Nothing changes – no new restrictions.
- The ‘assault weapons’ ban is reinstated.
- All semi-automatic guns are restricted.
- All semi-auto and handguns are restricted.
- All guns are restricted.
The scenarios are:
- America – 275million guns. Convicted felons can’t own any. Regular Joes can’t own fully automatic weapons. Most gun ownership has some restrictions on it in every state.
- Sweden – 4million automatic assault weapons plus hunting weapons in the hands of the public.
- Mexico – no legally owned private weapons.
- Canada – much like America with limited access to ‘assault weapons’.
So, under 1/1, nothing changes. We live with the fact that, like with any object that can hurt or kill lots of people, under the right (or wrong) circumstances, they will do exactly that.
Under 2/1, we go back to where we were in the Clinton era. Columbine occurred under his watch. So did a rash of school shootings.
The rest, we don’t know the effects.
The real problem is being obscured and for good reasons. If you were our leaders, how would you frame the real problem? If you came out and said, ‘look, we have weapons in our country and we shoot each other. A lot. Canada has weapons, Sweden has weapons and neither country shoot each other much. Mexico has outlawed weapons and we all know what happens there. So maybe it’s not a gun problem but a people problem. What’s wrong with our people?’
Because that’s the real question. And the answer is the real problem.