I, like everyone else, am appalled at senseless shooting tragedies, whether in New Town Connecticut ten years ago or in Uvalde Texas last month. I don’t have easy solutions, but neither do folks spouting off publicly. Any ideas proposed, raising the legal age along with other ideas under consideration are not enough to move the needle, and may even be counter-productive. https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/12/politics/senate-gun-safety-agreement/index.html.
Certainly, measures taken the last thirty or more years have not had a significant effect, so the debate grows more shrill and skews further off track. If you solve a non-existent problem, you can still earn a few votes. Congratulations, you “did something”. But what is the problem you solved? How bad is it, really? Can we at least focus on solutions to actual problems?
- First, we already have gun control in the U.S. It may not be as much as some prefer, but basic rules apply in all states: you have to be 18, you need a background check, and you can’t be a felon. Several states have many more gun laws in addition to these. The U.S. also has gun-free zones, waiting periods, and permits are generally required to carry weapons outside your home. The country had an “assault rifle” ban from 1994 to 2004, arguably it did little to curb gun deaths (homicides went up during a portion of the period and down during another, a wash basically). We banned a limited few rifles, but not others, not even the most lethal. Like most government programs, it was poorly designed; even a Democrat administration and Congress couldn’t muster support to continue it in 2004.
The latest trend is towards red-flag laws to identify people who should not be allowed access. Seems like an okay idea, but will they be enforced? Recent shooters have exhibited many red flags that should have alerted any sentient person, even without such laws in place. Furthermore, the bigger worry about red-flag laws is will they be abused? Has the government fairly applied these laws to this point? Dana Loesch interviewed Texas Senator John Cornyn, and asked this question. Senator Cornyn supports national legislation for red-flag laws, but cannot articulate how due process and constitutional rights will be protected under the new laws. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlwe26G8mSE.
If we raise concerns about gun control legislation, we are not schills for the NRA at the expense of children’s lives (as is claimed by many); we have legitimate concerns about these new rushed laws, laws whose real intent may be hidden.
Many gun control advocates point to the “gun show loophole” as a problem. That has been demagogued to death; it applies to a minimal number of gun sales. Firearm dealers cannot take advantage of this loophole; they cannot skirt background checks by selling at a gun show. The law applies to individuals who want to sell or give a gun to another. I think it makes sense not to burden individuals with the paperwork for such transfers. If this were actually a significant source of problems and crooked gun dealers were misusing it, I would take a different view on it, but it is not a source of problems.
- Many people today, often those with public platforms, know nothing about guns. I don’t know how many times I have heard: “we don’t need all these automatic weapons”. Automatic weapons have been virtually banned (with very limited exceptions) since the 1940s. The weapons being used today are almost strictly semi-automatic weapons. Every bullet requires a separate trigger pull.
President Biden has repeatedly spouted ridiculous statements about deer running around with Kevlar vests. Who knows what he is talking about, but hunters are not the source of the problem. He also advised us to get a shotgun and shoot a couple rounds into the sky if in danger around your home. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/more-advice-from-joe-biden-just-fire-the-shotgun-through-the-door. Wow. What great advice.
If you want more chuckles, listen to the ladies on The View or Representative Ocasio-Cortez whenever they speak on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_F_GLAqVxI (AOC on guns).
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t know one of the main purposes of guns:
“We have a culture where the difference is: Guns can be used for hunting or for sport shooting in Canada – and there are lots of gun owners, and they’re mostly law-respecting and law-abiding – but you can’t use a gun for self-protection in Canada. That’s not a right that you have in the Constitution or anywhere else.”
- Semi-automatic weapons have existed for almost 200 years. They were developed prior to the Civil War, and used extensively during that war; yet, people today believe they are inventions ushered in with Columbine in 1999. The Civil War was the bloodiest war in our nation’s history; it was the first “modern” war because it was the first to use this lethal technology. People then knew the capacity of semi-automatics and they certainly had as much access to them as we do today–and with far fewer controls. Why didn’t we have and solve this gun control debate long ago? Maybe they didn’t consider gun control as a viable solution.
The problem is more than guns themselves. Our culture lacks values and morality; there is a definite lack of respect of life in general and this leads to the taking of life for frivolous reasons (with homicides, abortion, euthanasia, and more). We have always had such problems, for sure, but they are worse today, worse because of how we view life, not because of the guns themselves. See my writings on life and the unbelievable comments from otherwise sensible people regarding taking of unborn lives https://seek-the-truth.com/category/life/
- Mass shootings with rifles account for fewer than 1 in 1000 gun deaths. The Columbine shooting supposedly began a new paradigm, although it was not the first such shooting. There has been an increase in such violence; the last 22+ years, there were 293 school shootings. Nevertheless, while a large number, the vast majority resulted in three or fewer deaths, and the majority had had one or no deaths.
Since 2000, 14 school shootings, accounting for 167 deaths have resulted in more than 3 deaths:
- Uvalde, Tx (22 deaths, 2022)
Oxford, Mi (4 deaths, 2021)
Santa Fe, NM (10 deaths, 2018)
Parkland, Fl. (17 deaths, 2018)
Rancho Tehama, Ca. (6 deaths, 2017)
Roseburg, Or (10 deaths, 2015)
Marysville, Wa (5 deaths, 2014)
Santa Monica, Ca (6 deaths, 2013)
Newtown, Ct (27 deaths, 2012)
Oakland, Ca (7 deaths, 2012)
Northern Illinois Univ (6 deaths, 2008)
Virginia Tech Univ (33 deaths, 2007)
Red Lake, Mn (10 deaths, 2005)
Tuscon, Az (4 deaths, 2002).
All of these are gut-wrenching, but on average, deaths from all school shootings combined are in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 per year. There have been other shootings as well: the Buffalo supermarket shooting (10 dead, 2022), the Atlanta Spa shooting (8 deaths, 2021), the Las Vegas shooting (60 deaths, 2017), Orlando Nightclub shooting (49 deaths, 2016), the Charleston AME Church (9 deaths, 2015), and others. We are still around 20 to 25 deaths per year from all such mass shootings with semi-automatic rifles. Firearm deaths have ranged from 30,000 to 40,000 annually. Why is so much attention given, so much legislation proposed, so many chests beaten, and so many condemned for urging caution, when these are fewer than 1 in 1,000 of all firearm deaths?
- Let’s dig a little deeper into these numbers. More people die annually from hammers, fists, and other blunt objects than die from rifles.
While 374 people were killed using rifles such as the AR-15 in 2016, 656 were killed using what the FBI calls “personal weapons” like fists, hands and feet. This includes physical altercations and incidents of pushing. Another 472 people were killed that year using a blunt object. The FBI lists hammers and clubs as examples.
In addition, falling out of bed is more dangerous to American citizens than an AR-15. Should we do something about people falling out of bed each year? Should guardrails be required? Maybe we ban sleeping? We might get more work done as a side effect.
The number of people killed every year from falling out of bed (450 annually) is more than double that of the number of Americans killed in the past decade in mass shootings with an AR-15.
The point is rifles or “weapons of war” or whatever you want to call them account for about 2% of all gun deaths. Handguns account for the overwhelming majority of homicide gun deaths, and big cities are the problem. Chicago alone had nearly 800 gun deaths in 2021, and there were 500 more in Philadelphia, each city had more handgun deaths than deaths from rifles in the entire country. The gun control debate rarely addresses the problem of inner city violence, but that’s the most tragic and the most pressing problem of all. The media highlights shootings involving certain ethnicities, but if the races and ethnic backgrounds don’t fit the narrative, the deaths are ignored. So, politicians and media demand action when a dozen die in a school shooting but ignore 800 deaths in Chicago. Go figure.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani cleaned up that city in the 90’s by focusing on the actual problems. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/press-release-mayor-giuliani-cleaned-new-york-city. He didn’t demand gun control. He set high expectations, didn’t tolerate minor infractions, and enforced existing laws. The results were epic. The accomplishment is often ignored and rarely emulated,
- The vast majority of gun deaths are self-inflicted. Every single year, suicides by guns outnumber gun homicides. People quote numbers of gun deaths in the U.S. without realizing that more than half are from suicide. Notice also that deaths from law enforcement are minimal (despite the other narrative you hear all the time).
- Ignorant politicians today (the majority stand for nothing, know nothing, and are hypocrites) drive the conversation. U.S. Representative Cori Bush demanded we disarm and defund the police while defending her own right to a security detail.
Duthiers: Congresswoman, before we let you go, let me ask you about something else. Aside from the moratorium, you faced some criticism in recent weeks over your push to defund the police. Campaign records show that you spent roughly $70,000 on private security and some critics say that move is hypocritical. What’s your response to those critics?
Bush: They would rather I die? You would rather me die? Is that what you want to see? You want to see me die? You know, because that could be the alternative. So either I spent $70,000 on private security over the last few months, and I’m here standing now and able to speak, able to help save 11 million people from being evicted. Or – I could possibly have a death attempt on my life.
And we’re also talking about the same exact people who say horrible things about me, who lie to build up their base. And then because they lie about me, I receive death threats. Now they don’t address the fact that I receive death threats after they go on air and say horrible things about me. But then they want to say, ‘Oh, but she wants, she needs private security.’
I have private security because my body is worth being on this planet right now. I have private security because they, the white supremacist racist narrative that they drive into this country. The fact that they don’t care that this Black woman that has put her life on the line, they can’t match my energy first of all.
The congresswoman wants to defund the police and take away guns from the rest of us, but she needs her security detail. I don’t want her to die, but none of us want to die either; we have as much a right to protection as she does. The work she is doing is too important, but the work we are doing doesn’t matter? Are you kidding me? I couldn’t invent such a ludicrous statement on my own. Is there no self-awareness? She is one of our political leaders who is going “do something” to solve the gun problem? She cannot even define the actual problem, much less a solution.
- Mass murders at malls, schools, shopping centers are generally in gun-free zones. It seems obvious more security in these places will help. Yet, those who demand we “do something”, say the other side has “no ideas”. We don’t need any more guns in schools, they say. You can’t have it both ways. You say your opposition won’t do anything and is beholden to the NRA, but then you reject out-of-hand the ideas they actually propose.
We spent $40 billion for Ukraine’s security earlier this year. Could we spend the same on school security? Even our kids small private school laid out funds to have everyone enter through one entrance while allowing kids and teachers to exit through multiple doors. This change, introduced after a school shooting, clearly improved security. In addition, I don’t mind if an administrator is carrying. Criminals would be more leery of approaching if they knew this was possible.
- A good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun and often has. Here are three such examples.
An NRA member who used his AR-15 to stop a shooter at a Texas Church a block from his home. Without this intervention many more would have died. https://www.dailywire.com/news/watch-steven-crowder-interviews-texas-shooting-james-barrett.
In 2017, a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican Congressmen who were practicing for the annual Republican vs. Democrats baseball game. The shooter was stopped by Capitol police who just happened to be there on a security detail for Steve Scalise, a House Republican Leader. Without the police presence, several would likely have been killed. Two men, one Congressman, were shot nonetheless. The balance of power in Congress could have been shifted in one afternoon without the good guys with guns. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_baseball_shooting.
Just this month, a man intent on altering the Mississippi abortion decision, drove to Virginia to shoot and kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Luckily, he was stopped by police and nobody died.
Such news is rarely reported (or honestly reported) by anyone other than conservative news outlets like The Blaze or Daily Wire. After the attempt on Justice Kavanaugh’s life, a bill was passed to strengthen the justices’ security, yet many, including the beloved AOC, voted against this measure. The following story notes that 22 of representatives who strengthened their own security last year, but rejected justices security this year.
At least they recognize that a good guy with a gun is something worthwhile; they just won’t admit that if asked directly.
- Disarming hundreds of millions of Americans is a lousy idea. Our politicians will not openly admit they want to end the second amendment; even Representative Ocasio-Cortez who holds a safe seat in Brooklyn has said she is pro-second amendment. In reality, the only solution that would achieve the change they are looking for is a dismemberment of the second amendment. Banning a few rifles and ignoring others is not getting at the heart of the gun problem. It means we have fewer choices at the gun store, but we still have many choices. They clearly want to follow the slippery slope: ban a few guns now, ban more later, and then more and more. Promote the benefits of Australia’s great gun buy-back and the super strict UK gun laws. Fewer guns is not a satisfactory solution for them; they want them all taken away. As long as there are any gun deaths, they will continue pushing.
There are an estimated 400 million guns in the U.S. How exactly are they going to accomplish disarming Americans, Americans who have no interest in giving up their guns? Or maybe they just want to keep talking about it in order to get a few more votes with every new election.
- People committing gun violence are already violating dozens of gun laws. When you can’t effectively enforce the current laws, more gun laws aren’t going to fix this problem. Furthermore, when new gun laws disproportionately impact the law abiding citizens at the expense of criminals who feel no obligation to follow the law, it is understandable why so many are upset. Taking away guns from hundreds of millions of Americans, were it even possible, will make things worse. Every communist and authoritarian government that has existed has solidified power by first disarming the public.
During testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Hughes told lawmakers how her son became the victim of gun violence six years ago when he was shot “point blank in the head.”
But her tragic loss only emboldened her belief that the Second Amendment is necessary for protection, and that gun control laws will never rectify the problems that led to her son’s murder.
“My son’s death resulted from a criminal with an evil heart and a justice system failing to hold him accountable for laws he had already broken,” Hughes said. “You see, a convicted felon killed him with an illegally obtained gun. Gun control lobbyists and politicians claim their policies will save lives and reduce violence. Well, these policies did not protect my son.”
- The increase in homicides beginning in 2020 coincided with the ridiculous demands (please note they have since been withdrawn) to disarm and defund the police. The police were the problem, according to many. The most obvious prediction ever was the spike in gun violence following riots that were tolerated across the country (police were told to stand down by those same moronic politicians who know nothing of guns). Police were vilified by the woke crowd and what did it get us? Some locales, like Minneapolis, actually defunded police for a time with tragic consequences. https://nypost.com/2021/07/10/how-minneapolis-residents-overturned-decision-to-defund-police/
- The UK now restricts the purchase of knives because knife murders are out of control. Guns were banned first, but criminals still found a way. Knifings in London now rival the gun problem in New York City. Furthermore, in the UK, you can’t purchase a butcher knife for your kitchen and carry it home. Dummy politicians think they can change human nature. Banning guns may have an impact for a time, but will do little to deter determined and deranged criminals. Jim Jones killed 909 people with Kool-Aid forty-five years ago. The Nazis killed millions in gas chambers. Criminals in London have found new ways to kill. In the U.S., hammers, fists, and blunt objects account for more deaths than AR-15s.
A Few Other Opinions
We assume guns have become ever more lethal over time and this suffices to explain today’s violence problem. However, we have had the capacity to wreak such havoc throughout our history. Today is not as unique as we would like to think. Still, recent violence differs because of the sheer baselessness of the acts. We see gunmen on suicide missions intent on killing as many as possible before succumbing themselves. They have no rational purpose, unless it is to achieve some notoriety before they die (this should not be given); they have no desire for life; they have no love for anyone, not even themselves.
A few years ago, actor Jamie Foxx on Saturday Night Live discussed his role as an escaped slave. He said jovially: “I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?” Because some white people were slave owners, they all had it coming? It is acceptable to kill certain people? Should he joke about this? The news coverage was limited. Why wasn’t there more outrage concerning such a statement? Lack of condemnation tells us Hollywood thinks it bears no responsibility for violence in our society.
Do you think the following highlights part of the problem? Does this violence originate from guns or from some other place?
Radical abortion rights activists have called for a “summer of rage” in anticipation that the court will return the abortion issue to the states. Protesters have congregated outside of the private homes of several Supreme Court justices and demanded, possibly illegally, that they keep Roe‘s precedent intact.
The original intent of the second amendment can be disputed, but the founding fathers left behind writings to explain their reasoning.
“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.” James Madison – Federalist Papers (#46).
My liberal friend who I occasionally debate, said the following to me:
I’m not sure what your bottom-line about gun control is, whether it is just the government telling you what you can and can’t do, or you fear that the 2nd amendment will be taken away (what would that look like?), somehow all guns will be confiscated and then we won’t be able to stop a coup or some other government takeover without guns or something else.
Yes, I don’t trust a government, especially one with absolute power. The citizenry’s power is a counter balance. Thomas Jefferson said: “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” A populace with 400 million guns affects the balance of power in this equation. My friend continued:
I think fear about getting rid of the 2nd amendment is also a distraction because bottom line is the law reflects the will of the citizenry. As things change so do the laws. Point is, nothing is forever, and we must ask should we use the founding fathers as our compass or evolve as the world changes.
While I don’t feel strongly about gun control, my bottom line is this, like many other things that the government gets involved in should be reviewed periodically and determine if it is still viable. Things like gun control evolve.
I actually agree with his point. If the will of the people is to get rid of the second amendment, we should do so. That’s the actual design of our system. However, this seems to be the will of the politicians instead. They are determined to sell the idea to us. However, hundreds of millions of Americans own guns. It is not a fringe movement, nor has it ever been throughout our history.
Should we listen to Whoopi Goldberg instead and give up the AR-15, the gun which accounts for a small fraction of gun deaths?
“Listen, this AR-15’s got to go. I’m sorry,” Goldberg began.
“There’s too much at stake here, too many lives have been at stake, and too many damn little kids. I’m sick of seeing people talking about we should do something. No, we should do something. And I don’t care, NRA. You’ve got to give that gun up,”
Please examine the facts and do not be swayed by emotions of people like Whoopi. Do not be swayed by others with hidden agendas. Those unsure about more gun control have legitimate concerns. I presented the facts, clearly and comprehensively. Decide yourself what makes sense and what doesn’t. We can do something, but it should make sense.
9 thoughts on “The Gun Control Argument is Flawed”
Great post, Dave!
Is the liberal friend you mention here Mike?
Yes. I am eagerly waiting his response.
Seek, I have issued a response to your post. https://meerkatmusings.co.uk/seeking-the-truth/
I have heard from a couple others who object to comments I made in this post. Here is a link to Mr. Rautakky’s page. He is from Finland. https://rautakyy.wordpress.com/. I have left a couple of lengthy comments, although I have not seen my latest comments posted yet. I won’t repeat here what I said on his page.
Mr. Berwick from the UK did a full post responding to mine. https://meerkatmusings.co.uk/seeking-the-truth/. I am honored to have his attention. I should say I am not against gun control. We have gun control in the U.S. and I am not saying it should be lifted. Much of my commentary is a criticism of the current debate which I think is off track. I offer a few suggestions, but I don’t have easy solutions myself. More gun control is likely to create more problems given the state of affairs in the U.S. today. People’s right to defend themselves, their families, their businesses should be respected. I commented in the post that PM Trudeau claims that guns are not be used for self defense. How crazy is that?
Mr. Berwick and I at least agree that the bigger problem is handguns. The debate in our country is kindled by shootings involving rifles while the ever persistent problem of handgun homicides is generally ignored. I suspect the reason has something to do with race which unnecessarily infuses itself into virtually every political issue in our country. I don’t have easy solutions to offer for eliminating gun violence, but I do think we should define the problem better. We should examine solutions and motivations that could be problematic and make things worse.
Mr. Berwick correctly notes there are inconsistent laws from state to state. Every state has some gun control and some have more. He advocates for more consistent (and tougher) national laws as in Europe. This is not consistent with the U.S. form of government, however. The U.S. has all manner of wildly varying laws on just about everything. Our form of government devolves power to the states and limits the power of the federal government. We have 50 unique laboratories. California is very different than Texas. If you don’t like the government or the rules in one state, you can move to another. The differences among states are very notable today. Control should be at the lowest level possible, not concentrated in an authoritarian national government. In addition, our Constitution protects the rights of individuals. No other country has a protection of speech or the right to bear arms. Canada, for instance, has recently passed laws regarding speech which regulates even the use of personal pronouns. This is a very scary development in my view. Such laws should not be allowed in the U.S. The Constitution protects against them. This is what happens when so much power rests in the hands of a national government (or our protections are ignored).
Mr. Berwick says: There is a reason the USA is ranked highest among 35 developed nations for gun murders, and it is nothing to do with inner-city problems. His reason is not stated, but I disagree with his second conclusion: it has everything to do with big cities. Chicago alone accounts for about 5% of all gun homicides in the U.S. Then there is Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Houston, etc. Add them all up and see what the numbers get you. He may not know it, but we in the U.S. know which party governs most of these problem areas.
I talked briefly about some of the other problems I see: the lack of values and morality and respect for life. Abortion is far more limited in Europe than in the U.S. It is hard to determine the impact of such policy, but I think there is a correlation between lack of respect for life and the increase in murders.
He says: Guns don’t work as a deterrent to violent crime, so why suggest having even more of them, in a building full of children? One person with a gun can deter another with a gun. This should be obvious. Perhaps he meant something else? A complaint that guns in general do not fix anything? But we do not have to give up all our guns to obtain safety. In my post I proposed having one entrance and multiple exits in schools, a measure which does not involve guns at all. There are many other potential safety measures. Such measures are not seriously considered, debated, or funded by our national leaders. He says children’s learning will be hurt because an administrator has a gun. How do you figure? The children probably won’t even know. Besides, they live in a country of 400 million guns already. They are already surrounded by them, many of the children will remain blissfully ignorant. Why does he think school is supposed to be a respite from guns? Why does he want to shut down this avenue altogether? Is it his bias against guns in general?
He also compares the stats for knife homicides in the UK vs gun homicides in the U.S. It is his strongest argument and bears serious consideration. I thought the differences between the US and UK were not as stark as he portrays them. I think the point he is making is: get rid of all guns and the U.S. murder rate will decline to the UK’s level which is significantly lower. Perhaps. Perhaps there is another way? Perhaps this would lead to other worse problems? We have resisted disarming the public for more than 200 years. We should understand why this matters before getting rid of this protection.
I will say also that the differences among states matters here as well. Several U.S. states have murder rates rivaling the lower UK numbers stated in his post. Further, many states have laws prohibiting the transportation of weapons across state lines. Perhaps those laws are not effective? More gun control laws, short of banning all guns, will likely not make a difference either. But, more laws, whether effective or counter-productive, will get someone a few more votes; that person is “doing something”.
We all want to reduce the homicide rate. We all want to keep guns out of the hands of those who cannot be trusted with them. Our approaches to achieving these goals are very different. Mr. Berwick advocates for a European approach of taking away all guns. That is not politically viable in the U.S. It is the actual goal of many of our politicians, but they won’t say it aloud, so instead they attack the problem by gradually chipping away at the 2nd amendment until there is nothing left of it. This tactic is a problem. These hidden agendas are problematic. Let’s consider ideas that more can agree with, that actually address real problems and retain Constitutional rights rather than beating our chests, questioning our opponents motivations, and denying our own not-so-hidden agendas.
Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq, and other hot spots should put to rest the belief that an armed populace can have no impact against an invading army. We are not concerned that the U.S. military will turn on its people and attack us with F-22s. Mr. Berwick’s line of reasoning here is clearly a red herring. We are concerned about losing our liberty and having it taken in much more subtle and gradual ways. A government which has consolidated all the power is a concern for us. We seek to limit the central power; its power has already grown beyond the limits placed upon it. Our goal is to retain the individual protections and the separation and limitation of power promised by our Constitution. Giving up on our rights could lead to far worse problems than we have now.
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Thank you for responding. At some stage, I’ll try to address some of your response.