Addressing Gun Violence

On Tuesday President Obama will receive a report from Joe Biden on gun violence and how to address it.  I admit that I’m torn on the whole issue.  Personally, I don’t care for guns at all.  I played with BB guns as a kid, to be sure, but that’s where it stopped.  I held my brother’s .22 and 16 gauge, but never owned my own weapon.  I once shot a friend’s hand gun, but didn’t like it.

I know that lot’s of people own guns to protect themselves.  Many more own guns because they like to collect them.  And even more because they life to hunt.  And I’m all good with that.  But I don’t want’em in my house.  I have young kids and believe the stats that say a gun owner’s family is more likely to be harmed by their own gun than that gun will be used in self defense.

But I feel its very important to defend the rights of those that DO wanna keep a gun.  I think that if an individual feels that, in balance, the risk of owning gun isn’t greater than the benefit provided by that gun, he should have the ability to purchase and keep that weapon.  He should be able to buy and use ammunition.

In short, a man has a right to buy guns.  And when I say guns, I mean any guns.

Part of the reason that the 2nd Amendment was written and codified was the belief that citizens be able to defend themselves.  From intruders AND their government.  In fact, Jefferson felt that an armed citizenry was a last resort to a tyrannical government.

So, what to be made of the world today?

I think the wrong questions will be asked in the report.  I think the wrong questions have been asked in the public discourse.  I think that people are seeing people committing atrocities with guns and are fixating on the guns; not the people.  I think that we need to look at data.  Data that suggests violence due to guns is on a downward trend.    I think that we need to look at data that would suggest that banning assault weapons increases violence, not decreases it.  And I think that we need to understand that being exposed to the inconveniences of too much liberty is preferable to the those attending too small a degree of it.

To those that would ban an assault rifle.  How much less of a tragedy would it be if an armed intruder, carrying a pistol, or 4, would take the lives of, say, 10 children rather than the number taken in Sandy Hook?  How will you be able to stand in front of the parents and claim that it could have been worse?

The answer?  You can’t.

A life taken too early due to violence is a tragedy.  And whether that life is taken by a hand gun or a rifle is not meaningful.

But the restriction of liberty is.  And THAT is what we need to guard against.

Now, are there things that we can do?  Happily, yes.

I think that we have a good opportunity to increase our background checks.  Both in number and in depth.  I think that we can do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and of the mentally unstable.

We should increase our databases regarding gun crimes.  And speaking of gun crimes, we need to focus on the characteristics of criminals with guns.  And then target them.  Instead of crafting laws that take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens, we need to craft laws that take guns out of the hands of criminals.  Guilty of a gun crime?  Subject your property to an immediate search warrant.

And technology might be able to help us.  We should consider, at least consider, the technology that allows a gun to be fired based on a fingerprint profile.  Should a private sale occur, the gun could be taken to a dealer to swap that profile.  Have a family of 5?  Submit a profile for 5.

There is a lot of work to be done, to be sure.  But there is a lot of Liberty to be lost as well.  And we must remain ever vigilant that the sacrifices of those who came before us are not lost to fear.

5 responses to “Addressing Gun Violence

  1. Regarding Ryan’s linked article:

    The woman fired six shots at the “alleged” intruder, and yet he was only wounded and managed to get out of the house. Clearly that woman was not in control of that weapon. That is the problem with poorly trained citizens owning guns. If you are going to keep a weapon for defense, you need to be able to use it safely and with accuracy. If you can’t take down an intruder at close range with six shots, I don’t know if I trust you to be able to keep your family safe without injuring innocent bystanders.

    I don’t own a gun; I never have; however, I did keep a gun in my house for defense, everyone in the house (of a legal minimum age) would be trained how to use it.

    • That is the problem with poorly trained citizens owning guns.

      I agree. And if he had been a little luckier, he would have overtaken her and shot her with her own weapon.

      If you can’t take down an intruder at close range with six shots, I don’t know if I trust you to be able to keep your family safe without injuring innocent bystanders.

      My reasons for not owning a gun!

  2. Our courts have recognized limits even to the Constitutional rights that were written as absolutes, i don’t see why we can’t place certain limits on a right that was expressly limited right there in the text. The fact that gun violence is a complex problem with many interweaving causes isn’t reason to write off a whole area of potential solutions. Let’s tackle the problem from all sides, and of course including mental health.

    Organizations like the NRA that claim to want to move forward on the mental health front were instrumental in pushing a law in florida that would have forbidden doctors (including psychiatrists except in the case of emergencies) from asking patients whether or not they own weapons. They actually wanted to criminalize asking the question. Fortunately a court has blocked much of the law from taking effect. So forgive me if I am skeptical of any solutions the NRA and its supporters offer now.

    • Our courts have recognized limits even to the Constitutional rights that were written as absolutes

      I agree.

      Courts recognize the laws of cities and states that restrict gun ownership. And we all favor background checks.

      The fact that gun violence is a complex problem with many interweaving causes isn’t reason to write off a whole area of potential solutions. Let’s tackle the problem from all sides, and of course including mental health.

      Again, I agree. My main thrust is that we should not list as our first choice the removal of guns from citizens.

      Organizations like the NRA

      As like virtually every lobbying group, can’t be trusted to have an honest debate on the subject. They are not impartial actors, they exist to protect guns at EVERY point of debate – no matter how looney.

      a law in florida that would have forbidden doctors (including psychiatrists except in the case of emergencies) from asking patients whether or not they own weapons. They actually wanted to criminalize asking the question. Fortunately a court has blocked much of the law from taking effect.

      To me, the scary aspect of the gun advocacy groups are the passing of legislation that prohibit data to be collected and studies carried out.

      However, to your overall larger point, I agree, all aspects of the situation need to be explored. I just think that the knee jerk reaction of banning guns isn’t courageous, thoughtful or even effective. All the more so when I don’t think the right questions are being asked. Namely, “how do we keep guns out of the hands of people who will shoot people?”

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