There are ways, of course, to make it at least marginally more difficult for the criminally minded, for the dangerously mentally ill, and for the suicidal to buy guns and ammunition. The gun-show loophole could be closed. Longer waiting periods might stop some suicides. Mental-health professionals could be encouraged—or mandated—to report patients they suspect shouldn’t own guns to the FBI-supervised National Instant Criminal Background Check System, although this would generate fierce opposition from doctors and patients. Background checks, which are conducted by licensed gun shops, have stopped almost 1 million people from buying guns at these stores since 1998. (No one knows, of course, how many of these people gave up their search for a gun, and how many simply went to a gun show or found another way to acquire a weapon.)I'd like to thank Frail Liberty who suggested the article. Apparently he doesn't know about my short attention span. I did invest the time to read it all, though.
Other measures could be taken as well. Drum-style magazines like the kind James Holmes had that night in Aurora, which can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition and which make continuous firing easy, have no reasonable civilian purpose, and their sale could be restricted without violating the Second Amendment rights of individual gun owners.
But these gun-control efforts, while noble, would only have a modest impact on the rate of gun violence in America.
Because it’s too late.
There are an estimated 280 million to 300 million guns in private hands in America—many legally owned, many not. Each year, more than 4 million new guns enter the market. This level of gun saturation has occurred not because the anti-gun lobby has been consistently outflanked by its adversaries in the National Rifle Association, though it has been. The NRA is quite obviously a powerful organization, but like many effective pressure groups, it is powerful in good part because so many Americans are predisposed to agree with its basic message.
It certainly covered some of our favorite themes.
The one which I quoted, that says it's too late because there are already 300 million guns "out there" is misleading. It makes it sound like the 300 million guns are sitting at supermarket check-out, free for the taking. The fact is, obviously, every one of those guns is in the possession of someone who has no intention of making it available. It's his.
The side effect of so many guns in society is twofold. Many are passed into the criminal world in various ways and too few of them are available when and where they're needed to stop crime. Increasing the numbers further will increase the bad part of that equation and not affect the other.
The other major argument of the article is "wouldn't increasing the number of concealed carry citizens help."
This is based on the mistaken idea, which we've already discussed at length, that concealed carry permit holders are safer than other people. I just can't accept that.
Today, more than 8 million vetted and (depending on the state) trained law-abiding citizens possess state-issued “concealed carry” handgun permits, which allow them to carry a concealed handgun or other weapon in public.This is a loaded statement. The word "vetted" is totally misleading. In states where they require training and testing prior to issuing the license, the requirements are minimal. Almost every applicant already does far more than what's required. What kind of vetting is that? In other states, as the parenthetical disclaimer alludes to, there are actually no requirements whatever.
How could people like that be better able to handle firearms than gun owners at large? Not only is this the contention of the pro-gun folks, regardless of the absence of logic, some of them claim extraordinary and unbelievable factors of improvement. Frail Liberty recently quoted a study which says CCW permit holders are 13 times safer than other gun owners.
Sorry, when something is so outlandish, I cannot accept it.
No, I remain strongly convinced that more guns equals more gun violence, not less. The hypothetical question of "in a bad situation wouldn't you want to have a gun handy," in foolish. The answer is obviously yes, but so what? My belief is guns do more harm than good. For every incident in which a gun saves the day, you've got hundreds in which one is misused.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.