Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gun Control

   As mentioned before, Saturday's will be my day to post an article on anything of my choosing. Basically, Saturday's are my free day. Today, I will discuss gun control.
     To preface this discussion, I will detail three incidences of gun violence:

Conneticut Shooting:
     Yesterday, a man entered an elementary school in Connecticut with a Glock and Sig Sauer. This man, Adam Lanza, killed 26 individuals, 20 of whom were children, before presumably killing himself. Children were evacuated from the school in a line; police told them to close their eyes and hold hands so that they could follow the leader without seeing the horrors before them. The children were evacuated to a nearby fire station where parents and children cried. President Barak Obama and several other national leaders across the world gave speeches and cried on behalf of their children. The United States was ordered to fly flags at half-mast.

Batman Shootings:
     James Holmes entered a Century 16 theatre in Aurora Mall in a gas mask and body armor. He entered a theatre, set off a smoke bomb, and opened fire. He killed 12 people and injured another 38. He fired with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a Glock handgun.

Columbine Shooting:
    On April 29, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, armed with a 9-mm handgun, 12-gauge shotgun, 9-mm carbine rifle, and 12-gauge pumo action sawed-off shotgun, assaulted class mates at Columbine High School. They killed 13 people before committing suicide themselves.

     In the first two cases, the guns were obtained legally. In the case of Columbine, the weapons were sold to them by unlicensed sellers at a gunshown; however, the guns themselves are legally for sale otherwise. In other words, these three cases, and most other homicides involving guns in America, is that the guns used are legal weapons.
     Studies have shown that increased gun ownership correlates to a greater number of deaths due to gun violence. America owns the greatest number of guns per capita in the world. In addition, America, having many gun owners and very loose fun laws, has a very large number of gun related deaths, fourth in the world, actually. The only countries that beat us are in periods of civil unrest. America has the highest number of guns and gun-related deaths of any stable country.

     The logical solution seems simple, reduce gun ownership. However, some Americans have an enormous issue with limiting our use of guns. In fact, some Americans want guns laws to be eased, making guns easier to obtain. They claim that the second amendment-"...the right Right of the people to keep and bare Arms, shall not be infringed."-protects unlimited ownership of weapons and any law saying otherwise is unconstitutional. Others reciprocate the fears of some founding fathers of governmental tyranny. Some founding fathers insisted upon this admendment as a way for the people to have a way to overthrow a corrupt government, if needed.
     I advocate the opposing point of view, the idea of restricting weapons. However, I will always support the right that we may have weapons; I'm not saying eliminate gun useage, just limit it. I take this stance with several arguments: the purpose of the gun, the need for ammunition, and the difference in power between us and the military.
     The foremost concern with owning a guns is: why do you need the gun? The three legal reasons are: hunting, defense, and target practice at a gun range or on private property. In the case of hunting, a hunter will need a gun that can kill an animal with minimal damage, so as to maximize profit. Minimized damage is not obtained with a class three (fully automatic) gun, a shotgun (other than bird hunting), or a .5 caliber Barrett. It would not hurt hunters, or anyone, to limit hunting weapons to certain pre-approved guns appropriate to the animal being hunted. Also, no hunter needs a few hundred rounds for a hunt; limiting a hunter to under a hundred or fewer rounds would not inconvenience hunters.
     Guns are often used for self-defense, a legitimate use for such weapons. A single handgun with a single clip will suffice in nearly all day-to-day self-defense situations. Consider it this way, if you need more than one semi-automatic handgun with a single clip, you're probably dead anyways; if you need that much firepower you've run into a situation where you have multiple attackers and one or all of your attackers have heavy firepower and an extreme desire to commit whatever misdeed they originally sought out. In other words, you're dead. Your average criminal, and even most adamant criminals, are not going to risk their lives over most crimes. In addition, in the near-Twilight shooting, the near-shooter's mom called the cops when she found 400 rounds of legally purchased ammunition in her basement. No one needs 400 rounds of ammunition to defend themselves. Citizens will be just as well defended, practically speaking, with a single handgun and 15 rounds of ammunition in the house as they would with an AK-47 and 400 rounds of ammunition. Actually, most citizens would be safer since psychotic killers won't have easy access to automatics. Target practice is a popular pasttime for many individuals. But one doesn't need a nice gun with hundreds of round of ammo to enjoy the hobby. And ammo purchased there does not need to leave the range.
     Now to refute the tyranny argument. At the time the Constitution was written, soldiers and civilians wielded the same weapons. The cannon was probably the only major weapon that the military had that citizens did not, and a bunch of men with rifles could easily overtake a cannon. Times have changed, though, and the gap between civilian and military power is enormous. No civilian-legal weapon can penetrate a tank, body armor, or a plane. No civilian-legal gun can even reach low-altitude flight to hit planes. Tanks, planes, and riot police can easily overthrow any uprising with any civilian-legal guns. So limiting civilians to handguns and hunting weapons will not be a significantly greater disadvantage to a civilian defense than owning AR-15s.
     Civilians do not need automatic weapons. Citizens should only be allowed one handgun and fifteen rounds of ammunition per adult, as this will optimize protection to threat (lunatics with automatics) ratio. Those with hunting licenses should be permitted ownership of one gun appropriate to the animal being hunted and a reasonable amount of ammunition for the season. Finally, citizens wanting to shoot at ranges should be permitted to purchase additional ammo at the range that cannot leave the range. By limiting what guns citizens can own, we limit the risk invlolved with widespread ownership of dangerous weapons while still providing a way to defend oneself, hunt, and enjoy firing the weapon.

     Below is the link to a song by Serj Tankian discussing gun control: Goddamn Trigger

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