That normally reliable repository of intelligent comment The Continental Telegraph, doubtless wishing to be seen to be publishing a diverse set of opinions, has a piece about gun control in the US by a certain Tom Fuller in which he informs us that:
I don’t believe at all that I have any right to park an Abrams tank in my driveway or a Humvee with a mounted fifty caliber machine gun.
Mmmh, anybody else spot the straw man?
He goes to reassure us that it’s ok, and a nevralgic political issue which has been simmering for decades dividing the country like no other except abortion, is in fact easy to fix, because:
I believe the limits can be drawn quickly and using common sense using those facts. Background checks for all gun sales, prohibition of gun ownership to convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers (there are shamefully some types of domestic abuse not classified as a felony), withdrawal of semi and automatic rifles from the market and a mandatory buyback of such weapons as are already in private hands.
That’s alright then Tom! Thank goodness you exist!!
We can really only think of a couple of problems with this. The first is that it wouldn’t do any good. Automatic weapons are already to all intents and purposes outlawed and have been since at least the 1980s. Every state has its own gun laws and nearly all require purchasers to be sane and law abiding. Often however these requirements are ignored. So how about enforcing the existing laws before making any new stupid ones?
In every free country in the western world except Australia and the UK ownership of semi auto pistols and rifles is permitted under certain reasonable conditions. The ridicuous laws in the UK and Australia don’t seem to have led to any significant improvement in the law enforcement situation. Certainly in the UK at least knife and gun crime are on the rise, and coppers can barely be arsed to try to do anything about it preferring to spend their time trawling twitter for rude comments about mosques or police horses.
In these countries the murder rate is not sky high. There are next to no incidents. How can this be? Because ownership of firearms by law abiding people is totally harmless, and might even be beneficial as criminals are forced to consider that potential victims might be in a position to defend themselves.
The other slight problem that we can see is the bit about the mandatory buy back. That is a recipe for massive civil disobedience, and possibly civil war and/or secession. The chances are thousands of people would be hurt and killed if this was attempted.
This blog would tentatively suggest two things that could make a difference. The first is the wider adoption of Gun Safety Orders in which in a very focused way, specific individuals eg parents, teachers would be able to take legal action to deny temporarily firearm possession to people showing clear signs of imminent disaster such as posting on facebook that they want to become a school shooter. This has we understand been tried with encouraging results.
Possibly even more important would be a voluntary code of practice in the media, not to publicise the sad losers’ names. Deny them their 15 minutes of fame. Deny them, in Mrs Thatchers memorable turn of phrase, the Oxygen of Publicity.
For a few twisted individuals the chance to dominate the news for 24 hours trumps any moral or emotional considerations of right and wrong. Remove that incentive and with time you will reduce the occurrence.
We are sure that if you plot the frequence and deadliness of these events against the amount of hours of coverage of the 24 hour news cycle you will see a strong correlation.