Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert Kennedy, South Africa 1966.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Thoughts on Gun Control

 Gun Control

Right now in this country there is a debate going on about gun control and the rage that many feel after the many mass shootings by a deranged individual at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  I understand that there is in the Constitution a statement about not "infringing" on the rights of people to own guns.  There is also a statement in the Constitution about Free Speech but that has been modified so that falsely yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater is not a legal act.  Also there are some who think that the part of the amendment "a well regulated militia" should be considered regarding gun ownership.

Some gun people are adamant that their rights to own guns be not taken away and will threaten "another 1776" should the government try to take away their guns.  Alex Jones was particularly rude and offensive in his behavior on the Piers Morgan show. He claimed that Hitler outlawed guns (He didn't - see here.) He ranted and raved and held the Swiss up as a society where guns are the norm. More on that later.

The right wing is particularly paranoid about this.  Read this from Don Terry which outlines some of the responses they got after Donald Kaul wrote an Op-ed on gun control.

I understand that people who like to shoot love to use their guns. A friend of mine loves to hunt and used a picture of his "kill" as his Facebook profile picture. The governor if Iowa recently killed an 8-point buck and plans to have the head stuffed and hung in the small conference room at the Iowa Capitol.  They obviously (?) have to have their guns. They are generally responsible and do not go into theaters or schools to kill massive amounts of people.

I have heard some speak about gun control as if it must not be regulated because, after all we do not ban automobiles who kill thousands more people every year. (In Chicago there were 512 gun deaths last year) Deaths by automobile nationwide (32,000+ in 2011}Article on comparison here and you can read about Gun violence in the United States here.

They ask "Why don't we ban automobiles?"  Personally I am finding out that living without an automobile is difficult but manageable. Why you ask?  If you aren't aware I lost my license to drive for 6 months due to some foolishness of my own making. That is just part of what happens when you misuse the privilege of driving a car.  I am just very fortunate that I did not injure myself or others.

As far as automobiles go, they are very expensive to begin with. Then you must be licensed to drive one, have up to date license plates on the car (mine were over $300 this year), Insurance is mandatory and all of these things are renewable each year.  There are only certain places you can purchase fuel and even that is taxed and regulated by the government. One more thing, they must meet certain standards of safety and fuel efficency and must be purchased from a licensed dealer and their VIN (serial number) numbers are kept in a national data base.  If, after having one DUI, you ever do it again the consequences are even more stringent.  I don't plan to find out what they are.

If we did the same thing with guns, made them difficult to get and expensive to keep perhaps there would not be so many of them around.  Background checks on all those who wish to own a gun and multi-yearly licenses much the same as driver's licenses for each gun owned would have to be renewed.  Not necessarily taking away a person's ability to have and own a gun but setting standards for those guns and regulating them so that they are not as accessible to people who should not have them  Everybody does not need a gun.  Even the Swiss have found that out and changed things and if you read about their "gun control" you will see why it works.  Article here.

Whatever happens I hope that something reasonable can be decided upon so that responsible gun ownership is not taken away from those who enjoy the sport of shooting and also that there are safeguards in place so that children in an elementary school are not massacred.

Addendup -  Mother Jones Special Report on Mass Shootings America Under the Gun


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