Most thinking people want gun control because well, no one wants to be gunned down at the school, grocery store or place of employment. In fact, no one wants to be gunned down anywhere. We may have a special concern about schools but that is essentially the same thing just writ larger because we have a basic and primal instinct for keeping our children safe first, all children.
So, on the surface, no one wants guns, nitroglycerin, hand grenades and/or lethal poisons all within easy reach of imbeciles and whack-jobs. In other words, we basically just don’t want to die because of a random encounter. We basically just do NOT want to die. So gun control sounds – on the surface – reasonable.
And I agree with the ideal. Mostly. We regulate (control) those poisons and explosives, we control and regulate and even regularly test the greatest killing device in history (the automobile) and we have ‘safety’ rules and procedures to the extent that we even warn about nuts being present in peanut butter. And we have all accepted that the state has a role in promoting safety and safe behavior.
A rebuttal might be: “Well, there are enough maniacs out there that I do not want to be a victim without at least having a chance at defending myself and, if a gun-totin’ fool aims at me, I wanna be able to shoot back!” And I understand that feeling even if it means trying to survive an AR-15 attack with a pea-shooter. You will likely lose but you didn’t die easily. I get that.
But….is that the issue? Is it really? Because, if ‘keeping us all safer’ is the goal, gun control by itself won’t do it. In fact, it just might make matters worse. Here’s why: firstly, there are now 400 million firearms just in the USA, a country with way too many ill-educated, greedy, alienated, toxically masculine, armed-forces-trained, stupid, angry men out there. Even if the US ‘bought back’ guns as New Zealand is proposing, as much as 75% would not be surrendered. And those surrendered would come from the folks least likely to ever use guns (the law-abiding). Nut cases are not going to give up their arsenals. Neither will criminals. Or gangs. The balance of power (such as it is) will shift even MORE right and crazy.
Secondly, most killings are limited to family and coworkers. A real nut can do the average ‘mass’ homicide (which is questionably stated as four) with a knife or something else used as a lethal weapon. There is no doubt fewer would die from bullets, and likely fewer would die overall, but the data (according to experts) suggests the difference would be negligible.
There are some controls that would work: a buyer of a gun must do some ‘basic training’ and that training should have instructors who have the right and obligation to assess a newbie’s attitude and psychological state. That is not a panacea, of course, but it would help. Additionally, no one under 25 (ideally 40) could ever buy or own or use a gun.
Why not? We wait until we can drive, we wait until we can drink alcohol and we have to train to use large machinery. And, maybe we even go so far as to categorize any gun owner with more than six (or whatever) guns as an armourer and that person needs additional vetting and training. Those things might catch a few nut-jobs and may even reduce some accidents but they still will not do the job.
“Why?” Because people who kill others (especially children and strangers) are INSANE (temporary rage-insanity and/or deep-in-the-bones insanity). Insane people do not obey the rules. And, if you watch any YOU-TUBES on stupid ‘Mericans, you’d be astonished and appalled at how stupid so many of them are. It is staggering. So, ya got yer stupid ones and your crazy ones and ya got a toxic culture that glorifies Rambo and MMA and deadly retribution. AND, you market increasingly realistic ‘games’ for kids that make killing ‘the bad guy’ entertainment. The ‘gun’ mentality is complex and riddled throughout society in all sorts of ways.
Bottom line: the AR-15 is, perhaps, amongst the most appealing of the weapons for the crazies and the testosterone-challenged but pistols and single-shot rifles kill more people (just usually one at a time) statistically. And I reiterate: there will be at least 300 million guns in houses and cars around the US even after any attempt at gun control. They will never get that genie back in the bottle again (and it never was in the USA).
They won’t gt the drug problem back in, either. Nor homelessness, mental illness or general crime. Add guns to all that and it’s like trying to stuff a wildcat into a small bag of snakes – and the bag is on fire!
One more point: Sal has a shotgun and a 30.06 rifle. She had one of them for over 40 years. She has never shot them. NOT ONCE. But we live remote. There are bears, cougars, wolves and the odd nut bar around that might, in some way, give us concern. If the police are called, they would take a day to get here and often, when they make the effort, they get lost. Police generally operate on roads. They have not mastered boats, charts, night-time navigation and they really do not like hiking through the forest. We do not have a donut shop or a cop-car on the island either. They do not want to come. Put bluntly, we do not have the time in an emergency for that kind of nonsense.
“So, what is the answer?” The first answer is that there is no answer that will be effective anytime soon. The second answer is that ‘Merican culture overall has to change in a whole lot of ways. The third answer is typical regulatory stuff but none of step three will work until step two has made a seismic shift-change and, even then, people with guns will still kill people in shopping malls…..which brings us back to answer #1.