Often the gun control debate is framed as “I am for every single person having a gun.” or “I am against any person having guns.” I think that is a simple but not useful or accurate way to frame the discussion. We all want the same thing, restrict people who will do violence from having guns. If you follow the link you will find a graph under #11 that shows that people who want guns aren’t necessarily for everyone having a gun. In fact, most people do not want felons or mentally ill people to have access to a gun. This makes plenty of sense. I certainly don’t want someone who would potentially harm myself or others to obtain a gun.
Where the pro-gun vs. anti-gun people differ is on how we think that should be reached. Pro-gun citizens believe that they should have the option to defend themselves when they are threatened with a gun or other device of harm such as a knife, hammer or a person physically larger than themselves. We may have different opinions on who should have a gun or how many they can have but hopefully we can agree that there are legitimate uses for good people to have guns such as hunting, target shooting, trap shooting and self defense.
There are multiple ways to obtain a gun. One is to purchase it from a store. At least in Iowa, USA, you have to go through a background check when making this purchase. If you fail the background check, for example if you are a felon, you can not purchase said gun. If you are a person who is apt to follow the law there is no issue with purchase of a gun from a store. That is where you will buy a lot of your guns and you are OK with the simple background check. From talking with a friend and avid gun enthusiast, he is ok with background checks but he is more concerned about gun registration. His argument is that if the government knows where you are and how many guns you are basically at their mercy. I sympathize with his argument. While “the government” has more sophisticated weapons at it’s disposal it also would need to talk soldiers into using those weapons against citizens. It’s unlikely any one leader would use a whole military to subjugate a population single handedly, and if he did, it would only take a single bullet to remove said leader. Therefore, guns as an equalizer is a fair argument for their existence by the general population.
Another way to obtain a gun is through purchasing a legal gun from an individual. This makes it possible for a gun to potentially be purchased by someone who is a felon. I personally would never sell a gun to someone I don’t know.
A third way to obtain a gun is to purchase a gun illegally. This is the least safe way for everyone involved. Unfortunately even in countries where there are gun bans in place murder rates and general crime rates don’t seem to be affected. Could someone explain to me how the Charlize Hebdo shooting occurred? Could someone explain why crime rates in places that ban gun laws often go up or at least remain constant?
“If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.”
Unfortunately by the simple fact that they are bad people criminals will not care if you make laws that say they can’t have guns.If you read this article on gun violence in the UK you’ll see that criminals are quite ingenious in their efforts to circumvent the law. Making more strict laws does not disarm criminals. Often the argument against guns comes down to numbers of murders in a year. That is a very simple number and not representative of the use of guns in a country. If you check this article the US ranks #22 in total crime vs. #4 UK, despite having many more guns and more guns per capita. Also if you are ultimately concerned about human lives, there are almost infinitely more things that kill people than guns, most of them are diseases, some are car crashes and accidents. If the goal is to stop deaths we should start there, not removing useful means of self defense from law abiding citizens. Here is an article sharing some stories of people who stop crime based on having access to a gun. The gun is an equalizer.
If you read the story of Amanda Collins’ perhaps you’ll understand that there are legitimate reasons someone might want a gun for self defense. She was raped while in a gun-free zone. That didn’t stop her attacker from using a gun to threaten her. It was likely an illegally obtained gun and the fact that a criminal was using a gun doesn’t mean the gun was at fault. Being a man larger and more dangerous than her he could likely have done this without a gun, he also could have used a knife. A gun is a tool. A gun is also an equalizer. If Amanda had had a gun we don’t know what the outcome would have been, but she would have had an equal chance of walking away from there unharmed instead of having no chance.
Ultimately the facts are that a gun is simply a tool. It can be used for good or for evil, like any other tool. Completely outlawing guns is a fools task. While background checks are a good idea they are not practical for individual sellers. Requiring gun registration is one step towards removing guns from the general population. Remember when terrorists obtained legal training to fly airplanes? Was the argument that we should outlaw all flight training? Where’s there’s a will there’s a way. Bad people will be bad regardless of the law. If you haven’t considered that guns are not inherently evil by the end of reading this, and all articles reference, there is no helping you. But don’t be alarmed, I’d still save you given the chance. I just hope I’m around to help when you are threatened by a criminal.
You can reference Guns I here.