Firstly, I am not an American. Secondly, I hate armchair experts just as much as you probably do. I don’t claim to be an expert on anything nor do I think I have all of the answers. But, to any outsider who isn’t an American there are some obvious aspects to the gun control debate that Americans cannot see.
America has a gun problem. The guns themselves are not the problem, it is the people who use them incorrectly that have the problem. As is the case with pretty much anything, human beings are always the weakest link in any chain; security, safety, health and common sense.
The media likes to focus on gun violence perpetuated by ordinary citizens. Yes, this is the most common and recurring form of violence. But there is also the issue of police officers who lack obvious training in firearm use adding to the body count of gun violence.
So, what is the answer?
As with most things, education is first and foremost key to reducing deaths. We already push for education for domestic violence, drink driving, texting and driving as well as drug use, why not gun violence as well?
From the outside the answer is obvious: make it harder for people to get guns. Don’t make it impossible or ban them, make it difficult.
But once again, we come back to the people. The passionate second amendment rights constitutionalist crowd see any attempt to limit access to guns or even recommending them gun safes under $1000 as an attempt to strip away the rights of citizens. It is a delicate issue here. People are the problem here.
Sure, Obama could easily pass stronger gun laws tomorrow. He could use his power to push it through and for a brief moment in time the media would lap it up. People will laud it as a step forward. But shortly after things would descend into anarchy.
Any attempt to tighten gun laws would radicalise the diehard gun lovers. Obama knows it and so does every other politician with sway in the senate. Things didn’t change after Sandy Hook in which innocent children died in a massacre. If an event like that can’t rally people to demand change, what will?
What about Australia?
People love to use what Australia did in 1996 as ammunition for the gun control argument. The National Firearms Buyback Scheme kicked off after the horrible Port Arthur massacre in 1996 which instantly transformed gun ownership. In the shooting, 35 people were killed and 23 wounded.
The reason in Australia gun ownership laws were able to be tightened and things regulated a lot more is because we are a smaller country. We also don’t have the baggage of a constitution which dictates that citizens have the right to bear arms.
While what Australia did was extraordinary, a smaller population and sense of less entitlement to guns made it possible. The USA is significantly larger with some states and localities having stronger gun cultures than others.
Make it harder
The answer to solving gun violence is to make it harder. Like anyone trying to obtain a drivers license has to get lessons and then take a test, why don’t we do the same?
If you want a gun, you have to take a couple of tests. You have to submit to a psychiatric examination to make yourself deemed fit of owning a gun. You have to do a theory test and then you also have to do a practical test in which you will be tested on things like safety and certain scenarios.
Make gun owners attend mandatory firearm education classes (at their expense). In these classes gun owners will be taught how to use a firearm, how to clean it, how to store it and how to use it properly. You would then have to sit a test after these classes in which you would need to get a certain mark to pass.
No matter what the US does, not everyone is going to be happy. You’ll have a few of the survivalist nut jobs who try and take things into their own hands, but with a little luck things will change. Sure, black markets will still be around, but with the limited supply of guns, the price will go up and less guns will be on the street. Action requires action.
thanks for writing about this. Yeah, it’s a big fucking problem here in the US.
The gun culture is a huge issue that would be hard to overcome, guns are associated with freedom and liberty so many other ideals. In other countries guns are seen as tools use for activities such as sports or hunting. Guns are not treated as freedom symbols in other parts of the world.
In my country New Zealand if you applied for a gun license and when interviewed by the police and you said it was for self-defense your application would be rejected. It is not in our culture or laws that guns are for self-defense.
I immediately knew you didn’t know what you’re talking about when you said “America has a gun problem.”
America has 310,000,000 guns, and 318,000,000 people. Estimated 30,000 deaths per year in America due to guns, bet you liberals love that number, but did you know 15 out of every 22 deaths are suicides/unintentional?
There have been only ~88 deaths in the last decade due to terrorism in America (including the recent attack). In case you think that’s a huge number, you have a higher chance of being eaten by a shark, or by getting crushed by a falling vending machine, than by dying to terrorism. Should we ban vending machines? Should we have people take a mandatory “Vending Machine Safety 101” course because there’s a tiny chance of dying? HAHA! You liberal extremists that are trying to take our freedoms over literally 88 lost lives are the nutjobs, not us.
I really wanted to bookmark this site until I saw this article. If you don’t have facts, why comment? France has one of the highest gun control laws in the world, yet it didn’t stop terrorist from slaughtering 129 with them. You think adopting similar laws as them would do what in the U.S.?
Out of the small percentage of gun deaths that were not suicides over the last 10 years (vast majority of gun deaths are suicide related), 25% were accidental. Less than 2% of all gun deaths are related to someone actually legally purchasing a rifle (rifles are what Obama speaks about the most), then using it to commit homicide against another human being.
If you look at what actually skew the gun homicide numbers upwards, the vast majority of the guns used involved them purchased illegally and occurring in large urban ghettos. Around 90% of gun homicide convicts received their guns through illegal means. Would criminals suddenly become law abiding individuals if more laws were passed? Would they starting attending “mandatory firearm education classes”? That makes no sense whatsoever. You don’t know what you’re writing about.
This isn’t a factual article, this is an opinion piece. As such, this is all purely armchair politics here. But you seem to want to go down the rabbit hole, so lets dig.
France may have some of the highest gun control laws in the world, but you do realise France is a part of Europe which is a massive sparse and highly varied continent. It is too easy for guns to be smuggled across the border and by other means, so many borders to guard. Want to see where gun control laws actually work? Australia. You would be foolish to disagree that since tougher laws introduced in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre, gun violence is virtually non-existent (it still exists, but the numbers are low for gun related deaths).
Now lets compare to America, what borders do they have to protect? Canada and Mexico. I seriously doubt many guns are coming from Canada, from Mexico who knows, drugs are probably more profitable I would imagine. I think adopting similar laws in the USA would have a more profound effect than it would elsewhere definitely.
The numbers of how people die by guns are irrelevant. We are talking about gun ownership as a whole. If the USA were to adopt some sort of licencing program similarly to how you have to do a driving test to get a licence, wouldn’t reducing those 25% accidental deaths be a good thing? Imagine, if you had to actually learn about gun safety before you could legally buy a gun?
If you had to go through hoops to get a gun licence and legally be able to buy a gun, imagine the suicides we would prevent as well? The system would not be fool proof and people will always fall through the cracks (just like bad drivers do), but it would be something.
We are not talking about taking anyone’s guns away, if you want guns, then fine. But it should be a right you have to earn and pay for, not something anyone off the street with a clean police history should be able to. Guns are dangerous and education is key.
As for the illegal guns, where do you think those guns come from? Some might have been stolen, but I bet quite a few were purchased by someone at some stage, guns do not appear out of thing air. If you restrict the supply and make it harder, supply and demand as seen in the real world dictates the price will go up. If you want a gun legally, you will end up paying more as guns will be harder to obtain for these people selling them illegally in the “ghetto” this is how it works with drugs. When supply is plentiful, the price goes down, when it is low, the price goes up.
This isn’t even about homicide or terrorism, it is about trying to restrict mentally ill and stupid people from getting guns or making it harder. At the moment it is too easy and anything that tries to make it harder to get a gun is a good thing. It is a proven fact that education (as seen in areas like sexual health and smoking) does work, you would be naive to think it doesn’t.
Sorry you have decided not to bookmark my site. If you are easily offended by one article, then I think you made the right decision not bookmarking.
So lets frame your anti-gun argument here: America’s “gun problem” isn’t “about homicide or terrorism”, it’s about “…reducing those 25% accidental deaths” and preventing “…stupid people from getting guns”? Way to go Dwayne. Genius. I’m glad you’re not focused on homicides because statistics show the States with the highest gun control laws actually have a positive correlation with gun homicides rates.
Perhaps I didn’t write clearly enough because you don’t seem to understand the accidental gun statistic. “Out of the small percentage of gun deaths that were not suicides over the last 10 years… 25% [of those] were accidental.” In other words, in 2013, that amount came up to about 505 people out of a total of 33,804 gun deaths. 505 accidental deaths with a gun in a country with a population of 317 million people is something one can hardly classify as “America’s gun problem”.
Furthermore, there’s no positive correlation between drivers education and safer driving. So to your statement: “Imagine, if you had to actually learn about gun safety before you could legally buy a gun… similarly to how you have to do a driving test”. Nothing would change. As a matter of fact, a 2011 study saw a negative correlation between drivers education and safer driving amougst teens.
You: “If you had to go through hoops to get a gun licence and legally be able to buy a gun, imagine the suicides we would prevent as well?” That isn’t how it works. Why would the suicide rates drop? People don’t shop for a gun specifically to commit suicide. Also, if you mean gun licence would reduce gun ownership, thus reducing the amount of suicide, that still isn’t how it works. People will simply find alternative measures to kill themselves such as poisoning (the most common way in Korea), or hanging. There would be no difference in suicide rates with or without gun license.
Now Dwayne, I want you to sit and re-read what you wrote in the next few paragraphs. You originally said, “We are not talking about taking anyone’s guns away…” then go on to say “where do you think those guns come from… If you restrict the supply and make it harder…. If you want a gun legally, you will end up paying more as guns will be harder to obtain…”
So which is it? Are you in support of taking guns away or not? It’s completely intellectually dishonest to say you aren’t in one paragraph then seemingly make arguments in favor or so in the very next paragraph.
Nonetheless, you’re effectively saying that because some people in urban ghetto’s commit crimes with guns, the cost of those crimes should be assumed by all gun owners regardless of criminal intent? Furthermore, drug prohibition HAS NOT reduce drug usage. The elasticity of demand for items like cocaine, heroine, and the use of guns to commit crimes are to high for it to change dramatically (this has been proven true already for hard drugs). Also in the other way, countries that decriminalized certain drugs and saw a reduction in price saw little or no increase in drug usage.
I find it disgusting that America is attacked by islamic terrorists and the left ‘s first reaction is to take away guns from people that could have defended themselves.
The terrorists knew that the french wouldn’t have any weapons to defend themselves. In America, there would have been people with guns (hopefully) to defend themselves and others.
It’s just sickening that the left doesn’t want to blame this shooting on islamo-fascists, but instead on guns. The left is as much the enemy as the islamic terrorists.
It’s beyond sickening that Obama and his ilk will use tragedies to further his political agenda.
We all know it’s not about saving lives anyway. It’s the ideology that private individuals shouldn’t have the ability to defend themselves. That’s government’s job…and also we wouldn’t want pesky citizens getting uppity to the government.
A long time ago in a galaxy far away, ridiculous taxes without representation made it worthwhile for wealthy and powerful expat Brits to commit treason.
When the dust settled on the ensuing spat, they wrote a fairly good constitution, and not long after adopting it added a widely supported bit that says (more or less) “governments change and not for the better, sooner or later you will have to push back, and therefore it is not only your right but also your duty to be ready willing and able to tell the powers that be where to get off. To this end you MUST be armed. It is your right and responsibility to have these arms, to learn to use them and to maintain a militia for the express purpose of resisting the government.”
The second amendment isn’t there to permit hunting as a sport, it’s there to impose a responsibility and to guarantee the right of the individual to keep and practise with military grade arms as a necessary consequence of that responsibility.
This has fascinating consequences. In order to meet their civic responsibilities, citizens in good standing are effectively obliged to keep and practise the use of weapons comparable to those used by conventional forces – automatic assault rifles, grenades, claymores etc.
People are going to kill it’s human nature. But it’s in my nature to defend myself by any means. Im sorry to those who have lost love ones to gun violence however I will not sacrifice my security to make you feel better. Don’t like it too bad oh well not really in the mood to care. What really kills me it that if the anti Gunners where really serious about changing the gun laws or getting something done you’d think they would join the nra and then at the next meeting when they have there votes they rase there hands but there just not that adamant about it they only talk about gun control when it can score them points and that my friends truly sad.