Another mass shooting — this time in a grocery store in Colorado. Besides the horror of ten people being shot and dying at the hands of a lone gunman, the thought of a legally purchased gun was the weapon used is frightening and sad. And that weapon was lawfully purchased by the shooter just days in advance of his killing spree.
It took NO time for the anti-gun crew to ramp up their rhetoric as always. A gun killing of any type is fodder for their purposes. And they are as always rewarded for their cries as Democrats in Congress rekindle the fires of screaming for every type of gun control one can imagine. But there are many “facts” that must be remembered and seriously pondered before rushing to more gun laws. After all, nationwide, there are several hundred gun laws of every imaginable type already enacted — and far too seldom enforced.
The latest ideas are two-fold, tired and old: universal background checks for those who wish to purchase guns, and then Joe Biden’s old standby, the ban of “assault weapons.” There are several disqualifying “facts” that dispel either as a viable option. Let’s look into those.
People should also be aware that most gun-related deaths are suicides, not murders. There are twice as many suicides in the U.S. by guns as there are homicides, and I think most people find that very surprising. Over and over again, one reads that 30,000 people have been killed with guns, but what’s not said is that 20,000 of them took their own lives.
But perhaps the most common misperception of all is that there is no simple, effective policy to reduce gun crime that is just there for the asking as long as we have the political will to do it. That solution doesn’t exist. It’s tough to find an implementable and enforceable initiative that would make any impact on gun crime.
Would An Assault Weapon Ban Fix the Problem?
Many people want to ban so-called assault weapons because they believe these firearms are uniquely dangerous or the same as machine guns. They are not. Assault weapons — at least the ones available to civilians — are like all semi-automatics and fire one bullet with one pull of the trigger. What makes an assault weapon different than a regular rifle are the cosmetic “military-like” features, such as a bayonet mount or pistol grip and so forth, none of which have functional significance. Assault weapons are not more powerful, they do not shoot more bullets, and they do not shoot faster. We would not be a safer society if we could eliminate all of the assault weapons because people could substitute non-assault weapons that are the same.
Why Wouldn’t U.K. Style Gun Control Fix our Problems?
The U.K. has gone the farthest in restricting the private ownership of guns. Shotguns and rifles are only permitted to those who can pass through an arduous police-administered licensing process, and after the 1996 massacre in Dunblane, Scotland, ownership of handguns was prohibited. But the U.K.’s policy could not work in the U.S. because we have a Constitution, we have a Second Amendment, and we have a Supreme Court decision that guarantees the right of Americans to keep and bear arms in their home for lawful purposes. So we cannot have a prohibition of private ownership of firearms.
Australia had a gun buyback program and prohibited new purchases of many types of firearms. It has failed dramatically. We have tried gun buybacks in the United States and they have been unsuccessful. People do not wish to sell their guns to the government, and those who do almost invariably sell old firearms so they can get the money and buy new guns.
Would Background Checks For Private Gun Sales Fix It?
I think that requiring background checks for all gun sales, period, would be a good idea in principle. The problem is implementing and enforcing such a system. There’s no universal registry of firearms, so if the police were to arrest somebody and try to prosecute whoever sold them their gun without the required check, there’s no way to verify who the seller was or when the sale took place. To have an effective system of regulating private sales, you would need a registry, and the idea of a registry is a panic symbol to the gun-owning community because they see a registration system as a precursor to a general confiscation — which it was in the U.K. and has been in other countries as well.
But even if we could politically will a gun registry into existence, it’s unlikely that it would work. In the few states where we have a requirement that assault weapons be registered, no more than 10% of the owners of assault weapons have generally gone through the registration process, meaning at least 90% of the people don’t register. Other countries have also had a difficult time making registration work. The Canadians have registered handguns since the 1930s. In 1993, the liberal government initiated shotgun and lengthy gun registration. The program attracted a great deal of criticism, substantial cost overruns, and resistance from firearms owners, and in 2012, the Conservative government scrapped the plan and destroyed the registry. That might give people pause for thought about the feasibility of a registration program.
Another problem with background checks is surveys of inmates show overwhelmingly that criminals obtain guns on the black market or the grey market. Almost no prison inmates say they went to a licensed dealer and filled out forms. And why would they? Even the lowest estimates show 30% of U.S. households own at least one firearm, making it very easy for someone banned from purchasing a gun to obtain one from a friend, family member, or fellow criminal who already has one.
Do We Tackle the Mental Illness Problem?
It seems sensible to practically everybody that people who are extremely mentally ill are not reliable enough to be gun owners, but building a policy around that is more complicated than one might think. The federal law says that a person who has ever been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital or who has been found by a court to be mentally defective is prevented from buying a firearm, but that would disqualify a minimal number of people.
If we wanted to move beyond this, we’d have to expand the definition of who is mentally ill — no easy task — and even if we did, the government has had a difficult time getting mental illness data on individuals because many in the mental health treatment community strongly oppose these types of controls. They believe mental disqualifications are stigmatizing, that they would deter people from seeking treatment, and that they are detrimental to the therapeutic relationship. As a result, there’s been strong opposition from these groups when more aggressive laws on guns and mental illness are proposed.
Here’s the conundrum that all of America is facing: the hard Left is set on abolishing the Second Amendment. Their passion is NOT only to rid the nation of guns, but, in doing so, seize “control.”
Guns stand in the way of total dominance over the American people. Their only purpose for doing so is for unfettered power OVER guns which, in their minds, will allow their complete control of the People. Every part of their governing is about seizing and maintaining ultimate power over us all. Why do you think our forefathers, with forethought, clearly stated the People retain the right to own and bear arms?
Have you ever wondered why, immediately following any gun killing, the Left always default to banning assault weapons? Assault weapons don’t kill people. Knives don’t kill people. Tire irons nor machetes kill people. People kill people!
The alleged murderer in Colorado, as it turns out, has a sordid past full of anger, lashing out at others, he is prone to violence, and is a Donald Trump hater. The commonality with killers he had? Hatred — hatred killed those people.
Not one of the conventional gun control “weapons” of the Left would have stopped him. Colorado is one of the few states that use the most invasive gun background checks: universal background checks. He legally purchased that rifle six days ago.
There is ONE thing that could have easily stopped this killing: “If you see something, say something.” Why did authorities hear stories of anger, his attacks on others, his violence perpetrated against others, and the hatred for politicians in power whose policies with which he vehemently disagreed only AFTER a mass shooting?!?!
Think about it: there will be no gun confiscation in the U.S. There too reportedly are more guns legally owned in this country than there are people in this country. Seizing them all would be impossible. Trying to seize them all would initiate Civil War Part II. And criminals, on the most part, use stolen guns anyway! If officials successfully rid the nation of all legally owned guns, the criminals would STILL have their guns and would massacre far more than we see killed today.
Where should we start? Start here: “If you see something, say something.”
Will that stop it all? I doubt it. But it certainly will open the eyes of several hundred million of us who would then feel an obligation to speak up instead of remaining silent. It would be a start and would create a culture among us that would keep most Americans wary of our surroundings, more cautious, but, more importantly, more responsible.
Enforce the laws we have — all 600 hundred of them. TEACH Americans using, professionals nationwide, to educate the populace on the telltale signs of pending violence within those around us.
Knowledge, understanding, acceptance of each other with attention to detail are the ONLY tools necessary to identify the vast majority of potential mass murderers who live among us.
Some will cry that a process like this will only further erode our freedoms. Folks, your freedoms stops at my body. You have NO right to hurt me in any way. Protecting oneself and family in no way inerprets to mass murder.
Fundamentally, as humans and as Americans, we owe it to ourselves and others to make our decisions about this based on facts, not emotions; in large part find ways to push through differences and find commonalities; work together as a nation instead of working against each other as individuals, and find answers with solutions.
Government is NOT our solution. In this, they’ve tried, and their only solution is to ban guns. Aren’t you tired of that? It has not been effective anywhere else on Earth.
“Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results” is the actual definition of insanity.”
Then why keep doing it?