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Does Gun Control Infringe on People's Rights or Protect the Masses?

I can live with someone owning a handgun or a shotgun for sport and entertainment. But assault weapons? Six thousand rounds of ammo? That seems like lunacy to me.

I’ll state right up front that I’m in favor of reasonable gun control laws. By reasonable I mean simple stuff like waiting periods to purchase guns while extensive background checks are performed, bans on owning functioning assault weapons, and preventing someone from buying 6,000 rounds of ammo.

I know that the “any type of gun for anyone” camp will have a problem with that. They’ll try to frame it as someone taking away their rights. They’ll say that it’s taking away their rights if they can’t own an AK-47. The “guns for all” camp has to frame the debate from the "constitutional right" point of view, because it doesn’t work for them any other way.

We have all sorts of laws that are in place right now that are designed to keep the public safe, and they absolutely do infringe on people’s “rights.” Laws like driving on the correct side of the road, not driving while intoxicated, no texting while driving, no underage drinking, etc. We don’t have a “do whatever you want, whether it’s safe for others or not” society. So why should it be any different with weapons?

I know that eventually laws will be passed that will strike an appropriate balance between the right to own a firearm and the public’s safety. History shows us that sanity tends to prevail. Take smoking in public for example. The advocates for smoking anytime and anyplace cried out that their rights were being infringed on, the bar owners cried that they would lose business. Here was another example of the few trying to impose their will on the masses — regardless of how dangerous it was for the masses. Finally, reasonable laws were passed, and everybody got over it. And I haven’t seen a single bar go out of business because of it either.

One thing that really gets me are all the one-liners that are flying around the Internet since the Colorado shootings. I really think that the “guns for all” advocates should stop using one-liners to defend their case. Complex and important issues like gun control can't be discussed with one-liners. The mere attempt cheapens the issue. The childish and immature who come up with and spread these “snippets of wisdom” need to get out of the way and leave the big discussions to the adults.

One-liners are merely diversionary tactics to keep the focus off the real discussion — protecting the masses. Because on those grounds, there’s no way for the “guns for all” lobby to win. How can a simple one-liner even begin to speak to the truth of such a complex issue? Anyone who writes or posts such drivel is hurting their cause, not supporting it. I have yet to see one of any of these one-liners stand up to even the tiniest bit of logic and scrutiny. Here are  some examples:

"If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns"

Actually, quite true. (See the “cold dead hand” reference below.) But the goal has never been to outlaw all guns. Not from the mainstream gun control advocacy groups anyway. I’m sure there might be some fringe groups that push for that, but don’t confuse them with people who want reasonable control of firearms.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”

Obvious and correct. It doesn’t even need to be said. But it is used repeatedly to divert people from the truth that a person without a gun can’t kill nearly as many people in the same amount of time as a person with a gun. Especially if that gun is an AK-47.

“We need more guns, not less”

The assumption here is that if criminals knew that everyone carried guns, they wouldn’t try to commit the crime in the first place. Brilliant. That’s the same logic for imposing stiffer penalties or the death penalty for certain crimes. Studies have shown that those aren’t deterrents either. So why think knowing that anyone could shoot a criminal dead would stop them?

Or perhaps the point is that criminals would be stopped dead in their tracks before doing any harm. I most recently heard this from some guy who has his own radio talk show. He was spouting off that if people in the theater in Colorado had guns, John Holmes would have been stopped before anyone was hurt. That is absolute insanity.

First of all, who said no one in the theater had a gun? And if someone did, why didn’t they shoot Holmes? The truth of the matter is that the people in the theater said that at first they thought it was just part of the show. So first a gun-carrying citizen would have to realize it wasn’t part of the show, get their wits about them, get the gun out, deal with the tear gas/smoke, take aim, and shoot. And hopefully not shoot any of the hundreds of people running through the theater trying to get away. The sad truth is that a person wielding an assault weapon can kill and wound far too many people before they could be stopped.

“More people die from car accidents than from guns”

How does this even factor into a discussion about gun control? Is the point that we shouldn’t do what we can to minimize innocent people from dying from the misuse of guns because more people die from car accidents? Or is it that we need more laws around the use of cars? Just another statement of deflection with absolutely no merit on the actual discussion.

“Banning guns won’t reduce crime.”

Probably true, but that’s not the point. This one-liner seeks to focus our attention on the probability that banning guns won’t do much to reduce crime. Go just a little deeper past that statement and any rational person would realize that banning assault rifles and such would make it much more difficult, if not impossible, to kill scores of people while committing those crimes.

I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands”

Hmmm. I take it that this means that you and those who stand with you will ignore the rule of law and take to being criminals if a law is passed that says you can’t have your AK-47. Nice message. However, few reasonable people want all guns banned. Except for a few extremists, that’s never been the message. So you can keep your handgun or your shotgun in your hand. Just leave the assault weapons at the door.

Tragedies like Colorado, Columbine and Gabby Giffords will always happen. There’s no way to stop all crimes of that nature. There will always be the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world — poor, sick individuals who are completely out of touch with reality. There’s no stopping them. But we don’t have to make it easy for them to cause mass destruction either.

I can live with someone owning a handgun or a shotgun for sport and entertainment. But assault weapons? Six thousand rounds of ammo? That seems like lunacy to me. If someone wants to fire assault weapons, let them go to a gun range specifically designed for them. After all, as the one-liner says: “Ever wonder why massacres don’t happen at a shooting range?”

john July 31, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Guns are durable goods. There are hundreds of thousands produced every year and an estimated "one for every person" in the country, and yet the crime rate has diminished over the past 10 years. Clearly the availibilty of guns & ammo isn't a factor, because it has in fact increased every year. You either believe that fireams ownership is a right to choose your own destiny or you believe that public policy should be set in a knee-jerk fashion after a crime ocurrs. The American people have spoken, they have faced the reality the modern law enforcement cannot gaurantee your personal safety and are willing to take the ultimate responsibility for themselves.
Jon August 01, 2012 at 01:40 AM
First and for most you clearly do not understand the merits of gun ownership. A person who purchases a firearm takes into account all of the legal ramifications and the legal understanding of what they can and cannot do with that weapon. A criminal by definition alone does not care simply because if they are willing to murder someone they are certainly not worried about breaking yet another gun law. Lets take a look at what you said in your own words "Laws like driving on the correct side of the road, not driving while intoxicated, no texting while driving, no underage drinking, etc" now lets break this down, yes while there are laws against doing these types of things, people still do it and they are breaking the law. don't beleive me take a ride down I 91 any day of the week. So how has the law worked to deter people from doing it exactly? The same is true for firearms there are laws to prevent bad people from obtaining them and doing bad things with them. When they are cuaght they pay the price. Now as for the shooter in Colorado, by the way his name is James Holmes not John Holmes. He went crazy and killed people in a massacre. I highly doubt he thought about all the laws he was breaking before hand. What if he had strapped one of his bombs to his chest and walked in there and blew himself up? would you still be shouting gun control from the rooftops? As a limit on ammunition it is as unenforceable as texting while driving, but what ever helps you sleep at night.
R Reiss August 01, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Your article is wrong on nearly every point you try to make! You are simply being a cog in the wheel of the global slime who are trying to take away all rights everywhere and dominate the world! This is called The New World Order! They and their puppet tyrants world-over disarm citizens as an early step in their agenda. You argue that you "reasonable people" are not advocating such, but just want "reasonable gun control." You are being duped! Every sane person wants a safe and healthy environment in which to live and raise their kids. But people who share your attitude are only looking on the surface, and fail to look deeper either out of fear for what you may find there or simple naivety about what is actually happening in the world. You balk at 6000 rounds of ammo being purchased, and I agree that would be a lot in one purchase, but it was done in at least two buys, if not more! Does 1000 rounds sound like a lot to you? Then you've never taken your gun to a firing range where you can consume 100-300 rounds in a single session quite easily. And many gun enthusiasts keep their skills up by visiting ranges about once a month and using multiple weapons. Ammo is not typically swappable from one firearm to another, so you need to purchase 1000 or so for EACH weapon (of different caliber) you own and stay active with. Also, the price of purchasing 1000 rounds at one time is substantially less than in smaller quantities. I could go on, but out of room here.
Joel Waldron August 02, 2012 at 04:48 PM
"New World Order?" "global slime who are trying to take away all rights everywhere"? Conspiracy theories abound... Thanks for you opinion!

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