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writing for godot

Let's Get To The Heart Of Gun Control

Written by Dennis Perkinson   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 05:29
“Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est. 
(Latin: A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand.)”
- Seneca, the Elder

Let me state up-front, unequivocally that I am FOR Gun Control. I am not for the abolishment of gun ownership by private individuals, and I am not for the repeal of the Second Amendment. (For some reason, those opposed to Gun Control immediately jump to the conclusion that Gun Control equals repeal of the Second Amendment and the revocation of their right to own guns.) But I am for exercising control over the ownership of both guns and ammunition.

I have yet to see or hear any logical reason that supports the need for an individual to have the firepower of an assault weapon or a stockpile of ammunition numbering in the tens of thousands of rounds. With that level of destruction at hand, a person is not interested in just hunting Bambi or defending himself and his family; he is either interested in doing significant harm to other humans, or in pumping up his testosterone level, both of which are bad ideas.

I could go into quoting any number of statistics and facts that support the Gun Control thesis—that  the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined, or that  states with high household gun ownership have more unintentional shooting deaths than states with low household gun ownership, or that a Harvard study has shown where there are more guns there is more homicide—but those are mere facts that the NRA and the “ gun in every home” advocates choose to deny. Instead, I suggest it would be useful for us to consider (1) the realities of situations in which an armed private individual might resort to using his or her weapon and (2) the lasting effects the act of pulling a weapon and killing someone has on a moral individual.

Let’s start with the second point. If you are a moral person, taking the life of another individual, no matter what the circumstances, will result in a life filled with regret and, at times, self-recrimination over your action. We humans are basically moral creatures and, in one form or another, we have been taught that it is wrong to kill. Regardless of the justifiability of such an act, the actor suffers a moral injury that can only lead to regret, bouts of depression, substance abuse, even suicide. And let me make it perfectly clear—if someone brags that they would feel no compunction about killing another person, even under the direst of circumstances, that person, in my not so humble opinion, is the last person who should own any type of firearm.

One point that has been advocated by Gun Control opponents in the wake of the recent Aurora, Colorado massacre has been (sic) “If the audience in the theatre had been well-armed, the shooter could have been taken out quickly without having to wait for the police to arrive, thus saving lives.” There are several fallacies in this argument.

First and foremost, shooting a living, moving individual who is shooting at you is far more complex than shooting a stationary target on a firing range—just ask anyone who has seen live combat. The likelihood of success in killing the shooter by members of the movie audience would have been extremely low.

Second, given the darkened theatre and the smoke and tear gas allegedly used by the shooter, shooting the right person would have been extremely difficult. It is highly likely that had more than one person in the audience pulled a gun and begun shooting, someone else would have mistaken him for the criminal shooter and would have shot an innocent person. Were the audience to be “well-armed,” as many Gun Control opponents advocate, we may well have seen several instances of innocent people shooting other innocents.

Third, when the police arrived, they would have encountered a situation in which multiple people were brandishing firearms and would have been severely handicapped in isolating the original shooter. The timely apprehension of the perpetrator was, in all likelihood, aided by the lack of guns in the audience.

Do we need to ban guns? No. But we can control them without impinging our Second Amendment rights in the same manner making it illegal to shout “Fire” in a crowded theatre does not impinge our First Amendment rights. Those who wish to live in a society that is armed to the teeth put a sardonic twist on the intentions of the founders who drafted the Second Amendment. your social media marketing partner
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