Sunday, September 26, 2010

Guns Kill People

When I was in high school and college, three men I admired deeply were assassinated.  There names were John, Bobby and Martin. Each was a great leader whose life was taken by an asshole with a gun.  Because of their deaths, I've always had a great dislike for guns.

While in college, I wrote one paper that I truly felt good about.  The topic was the NRA (National Rifle Association).  What I found out was amazing.  This organization had virtually every member of Congress afraid of them.  That's because they had huge membership that impacted almost any ones re-election hopes.  Best yet, they were unregulated because they weren't registered as lobby, but as an educational institution.  What a bunch of bull shit.  By the way, that paper was written in 1967 and nothing much has changed.

Today we have people shooting cops or abortion doctors in church.  You can buy a gun at a gun show and go on a rampage at your college killing students you don't even know.  Worst yet is the number of children and teens kill by gun fire every year.  One child is killed every three hours, or about 50 a week - over 3000 per year.  What a horrific waste.  Meanwhile the NRA will try to convince you that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  Tell that to the 80 adults who are murdered by gun fire each day.

Yes, I am aware there's a thing called the second amendment.  I am also aware that it has been lied about so much, that even rational people think it's an absolute right.  Well it is, if you listen to the Robert's Supreme Court.  But, that wasn't always the case.  Previous courts believed the right was reserved for those people serving in well regulated malitia - like the police and military.  Regardless, I am sick of guns that have no purpose but to kill people.

When I am King, I will out law bullets for hand guns and semi-automatic weapons .  You can have all the guns you want, but if you have one bullet your sorry ass is going to jail. In the mean time, please check out The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.


  1. Generally speaking I've agreed with you, but this is an issue I feel quite passionate about. And, being quite liberal myself, I often find myself the odd man out when discussing it.

    I won't try to turn your comments page into a prolonged discussion on the second amendment. Your position seems quite well researched. And, while I find some of your claims questionable (particularly the claim that courts historically regulated firearms to militia members) I have no expertise or sources to challenge those claims with at present. And, again, a blog comment isn't really worth doing research for.

    All of that said, I think there is an argument which can be made for gun prohibition working about as well as alcohol prohibition did, and drug prohibition does.

    I also believe that it is absolutely imperative that we, the people, retain the ability to organize and overthrow the government. As Jefferson wrote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." (though the circumstances of that quote were rather ghastly, the sentiment is well considered.)

    I'm under no delusions. An armed rebellion against the state, with modern warfare being what it is, would almost certainly fail. But that doesn't mean we should take steps to strengthen the government's position in a potential conflict.

    That's all I'll blather on the matter, at present.

  2. I agree with you completely. Where I live (The Netherlands), guns are strictly regulated, and it shows if you compare the homicide rate per capita to that of the USA.

  3. I'm with LS. I was born and raised in Illinois, nobody thought anything of a 13 year old taking a rifle to the local gunsmith/hardware store. I learned to shoot at 8 at a YMCA camp.

    Someplace in the Debate on the Constitution (Library of America) is a statement that amounts to 'an armed people can overthrow the government, that is why the bill of rights need be ratified.' And as those books are about 1600 pages I'm not going to find it quickly.

    I do however agree with you that the NRA is crazy. I've no problem with serious regulation and they prevent even that.

  4. @LS
    Gun prohibition works because it reduces the amount of guns in households. Obviously, it won't prevent career criminals from acquiring them but it will decrease the amount of gun-related deaths.

    In other words, it means less crimes of passion and less school shootings. I think that's worthwhile.

  5. @LS
    Jefferson's quote was taken out of context. Jefferson was writing a letter to a friend about Shays' Rebellion. He though some degree of violence was a necessary evil. He thought it was important that people had a voice and used it - even if they were wrong. But, he did not believe that we should overthrow the government from time to time. Notice that I still allowed people to have rifles and shot guns - which were the weapons of choice during Jefferson's era.

  6. Your hand gun ban stops Ruby not Oswald, Sirhan not Ray. There's no reason to assume that a hand gun or automatic weapon ban would have been much help to your friend Bobby during those troubled times. At least as King you can feel like you've found the solution to school bullying, gang violence and drug trafficking by banning guns used by the disaffected.

  7. I can see a sort of sense in not allowing people to own ammunition. Like Borror0 said, it would virtually eliminate accidental and school shootings. But like he also said, someone that's determined to shoot someone is already planning to break one law and probably won't balk at breaking another. The fundamental problem is that people don't respect the laws currently in place - their behavior won't change until their attitudes change - so they won't respect any new laws you hand down either.

    If the ban on having ammunition also applies to law enforcement officers, how will they apprehend criminals carrying hot firearms? Keep in mind that the biggest deterrence in criminals firing on police officers is the knowledge that the cop is also armed and is almost certainly better trained at using his weapon than the criminal.

    This also disregards the millions of responsible gun owners that enjoy recreational shooting (including hunting). People that have attended classes/training on the topic of gun safety are far less likely to commit gun-related crime, so make such courses part of the mandatory school curriculum.

  8. @Mason
    You have some good points - but I think I'll pass on training every gang banger how to how to shoot a gun safely.

  9. @Mike While not familiar with all the details, I have read the complete letter the quote is taken from. To be honest, I disagreed with the larger point he made. But the concept that violence is sometimes necessary is one I think most reasonable people would agree to, when faced with a sufficiently tyrannic situation.

    I didn't realize you only intended to ban (the bullets of) certain types of firearms. While I do find this more reasonable, I would reiterate that if the people were to need to defend themselves against the government, they're already at a significant enough disadvantage in terms of funding, equipment, and training. Relegating the people to ownership of shotguns and rifles greatly limits their effectiveness.

    However, that said, I think the "right to armed rebellion" does become a weak argument if we're only talking about handguns and automatic weaponry.

    My belief that weaponry is an important right is a great deal more fundamental than hypothetical future wars, anyway. While I would not normally label myself so, one could say that I have strong libertarian leanings. I find any law which limits the rights of the individual to be an evil. Some of them are necessary evils, but even at the cost of some measure of safety, I don't believe the banning of any small arms use is necessary.

    Now, limiting ownership of such devices is certainly a necessary evil.

    As is disallowing ownership of, for example, explosive devices. At least without extremely strict regulations.

    But again, I'm blathering. Political and ethical ideologies which support my feelings on the issue are not arguments.

  10. I agree with all of this post where it talks about such tragedies that we have endured as a nation. I do not agree with the solution.

    I have only owned 3 firearms in my entire life, but I have to tell you, as a father and a husband, I slept much better at night after I had a firearm at my disposal to protect my family should the need ever have arisen. I have never been the most athletic, or aggressive guy on the planet, and I often wondered if I would have succeeded or failed to successfully defend my family from a violent crime in my own home, but I definitely felt more confidence with a loaded weapon that I was trained to use very effectively.

    In today's crazy environment, I wouldn't even let the King deprive me of the most effective way to defend my family from the crazies that share our world.

  11. I have to disagree about the second amendment only applying to an organized militia. It doesn't really make sense this way -- why does the constitution have to protect the government's right to arm the military? True, it could be interpreted to mean the Federal government can't prevent States from arming their own militias, but this seems a bit of a stretch.

    Another factor is to remember that the Second Amendment was passed in an environment where guns were single shot, slow to load, and for the most part very inaccurate. Today's weapons are much more deadly, which doesn't matter from the standpoint of political principles but does in practice. We've taken this into account -- fully automatic weapons are banned today even with the second amendment. The question remains where to draw the line.

    Having read / scanned both the recent Supreme Court rulings (opinions and dissents), I find this is an area where both sides can pull out quotes, statistics, etc. to justify their position. Thus the commenter from the Netherlands above notes their low crime rate with no guns. Switzerland, with near universal gun ownership and low crime rates, is quoted on the other side. The reality is that crime rates involve many things beyond gun laws.

    A bit of compromise would also help. On the one side is the NRA opposing any gun control measure because it might be a first step to a gun ban (with concealed / open carry nuts the extreme). The extreme of the other side would ban all guns outside the police and military (and some might also ban those).

    Personally I can agree with portions of both sides of the issue. As with most real world issues, it doesn't lend itself to an absolute, principled stand. However, I prefer to address issues directly. Thus, I don't like a bullet ban -- we should be honest and amend the constitution. Unfortunately I doubt anybody could come up with a wording to mean "the right to bear arms except the ones without legitimate uses (however that is defined)".

    So we're down to common sense, and if you are King, then obviously you define what is common sense. :-)

  12. Mike said: "You have some good points - but I think I'll pass on training every gang banger how to how to shoot a gun safely."

    Who do you think is fighting the war?

  13. @LS
    Gun prohibition works because it reduces the amount of guns in households. Obviously, it won't prevent career criminals from acquiring them but it will decrease the amount of gun-related deaths.

    In other words, it means less crimes of passion and less school shootings. I think that's worthwhile.