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Monday, August 22, 2011

Gun Control: Let's get things started nice and heavy

My basic opinion on gun control can be summed up in four words: "I don't like it."

For some, this would be sufficient. For most, it isn't. If asked to elaborate I usually break it down into 5 main points:


  1. Gun control has never reduced crime

  2. Gun control only keeps guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens

  3. "Guns vs Cars" is an unfair comparison

  4. The vast majority of gun owners aren't criminals

  5. Fear of gun owners is irrational

To elaborate further on each of these points


1. Gun control has never reduced crime


Gun control has never had an effect on total violent crime no matter how strict the policies are. All that ever gets reduced are shootings. Stabbings, beatings, and the like always rise when gun control policies are put in place. In many ways, this is actually worse since gunshot wounds are easier than ever to survive (thanks in part to the popularity of the low-powered 9mm round) and advances in ballistics and forensics make gun crime easier than ever to solve.


2. Gun control only keeps guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens


Most gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained weapons anyway. Stricter policies only make it harder to legally obtain a firearm.


3. "Guns vs Cars" is an unfair comparison


Comparing gun deaths to car deaths is completely nonsensical. For starters, almost all car deaths are accidents. Sure, most gun control advocates compare accidental deaths, but a car's safety features are designed to save lives in the event of an accident. A gun's safety features exist to prevent accidents. When there is an accidental discharge it's almost always user error (though occasionally the gun is poorly designed or manufactured). Instead, one should compare accident occurence. Cars have several times the number of accidents as guns despite being only twice as prevalent. In essence, though a gun is definitely more likely to kill or seriously wound in an accident (as that is it's primary function) it is far, far less likey to have one in the first place.


What can we do to prevent gun accidents even further? In my US Governmnet class in my senior year of high school, we learned a great deal about most of our constitutional rights, what they mean, and how to exercise them. However, we didn't dwell on the 2nd like we did on most of the others. As owning a firearm is a constitutional right, I believe that basic firearm safety should be taught in public schools.


4. The vast majority of gun owners aren't criminals


This is mostly an argument against registration. If gun owners are required to register their firearms with local law enforcement, it basically equates them with sex offenders. If ever a gun crime happens in a given area, then all gun owners in that area (at least the ones with a same caliber weapon) fall under suspicion and investigation automatically. Why is this bad? Chances are high that the investigations will acheive nothing beyond harrassing legal gun owners since, as stated above, most crimes are done with illegally obtained weapons (i.e. ones that wouldn't be registered). Aside from that, the Sex Offenders Registry made up of people convicted of sex crimes) has had no discernable impact on sex crime occurence. Why would a gun registry (made up of people who have been convicted of nothing) be any more effective in either stopping or solving gun crimes?


5. Fear of gun owners is irrational


Tying in to the above statement, there is no legitimate reason to fear a legal gun owner. If they own or carry a gun then chances are they bought it in a store, which means that they passed a criminal background check, which means that they aren't a violent criminal or person deemed mentally incompetent.


And that about sums up why I feel that gun control is an irrational waste of time and money.

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