First off, the Sandy Hook shooting was a horrible thing. And it seems worse because the people shot were kids.
It was over a week ago, too. I’ve been thinking about this since then and wanted to put pen to paper and write some things down.
First, I’ve written about things like this before. After the VT Shooting, I wrote this where I said I thought the answer was to allow CCW permit holders to carry in more places. After the shooting in Arizona, I wrote this. After the shootings in Colorado, I wrote this. Currently, in the US there are two ways to approach this (I also think these are the only two options):
- Do something but not gun control
- The approach of everyone else that includes some form of limiting guns, magazines, or something else
The non Gun Control approach begins with the position that people have an inalienable right to defend themselves. To do that, they have to have access to weapons. The solution therefore CANNOT include some form of limiting that right.
The second approach is favored by just about everyone here in the UK, most–if not all–the press in the US, Pres. Obama, and Sen. Feinstein. It does NOT start with the position that people have a right to defend themselves therefore it doesn’t matter if limits are placed on it. Banning weapons is an “easy” place to start. It may also include thoughts that guns are “bad” or “evil”.
Do you see the difference? The starting point makes all the difference. Just like the “right to free speech” in the 1st Amendment, the 2nd Amendment simply recognizes a right that people have. It doesn’t grant it. The people in the first group want to solve the problem while not infringing on people’s rights (and remember, they have those rights simply because they are people…not because the government says so). The second group sees the document as “granting” the rights. If something (or someone) has granted a right then the right can be restricted.
I currently live in England. England where you can’t own more than a .22 and you have to get permits out the wazoo to do that. I don’t really care what people here think we should do. I don’t care what the French think we should do, or the Germans, or the Chinese, or the Russians, or anyone else. Can their media report on the problem? Sure. Why not? But–wow–their bias shows through in the reporting.
Next, how do you think total gun bans happen. It starts off with “reasonable” limits placed on things. Then, in 10 or 20 years, more limits seem “reasonable” so they are put in place. That is exactly how the UK ended up so its Olympic Pistol team can’t even practice here. Heck, they had to pass a special law so the Olympic pistol events could be held here.
And finally, why does everyone think that criminals will respect the law? The kid at Sandy Hook didn’t (it is already against the law to 1)murder and 2) have a gun on school grounds). Criminals, by their very nature, break laws. That is why they are criminals. Could we make the society safe if 100% of the guns would go away? Not really because then the criminals would use knives or baseball bats. Are we going to outlaw them as well? Where does it end?
Oh, just in case you needed help, I’m in the first group. We MUST find a solution that does not infringe on people’s rights. There have been enough of that already (The Patriot Act limiting free speech is a good example). Just because someone has done it in the past doesn’t make it the right action. And frankly, the US Federal Government has way way way overstepped its bounds.
[Update 2012-12-26 09:41:42] I updated some links that changed when I moved the website.
Image from paljoakim via flickr