|Bow ties are cool!|
By now, you'll all be very much aware of the shooting at the Dark Knight Rises midnight screening on Friday. Having fired guns as a member of the army Cadet Force, I have a deep and abiding respect for them. I also am of the belief that access to weapons should be severely limited and it is in no way a right, human or otherwise, to possess them.
The arguments for the other side are numerous and in this entry, I hope to de-construct them.
The first argument given is that incidents like this are actually a reason to slacken gun laws as if people in the audience had weapons with them, the guy would have been stopped earlier. Not in this case, as the perpetrator was wearing full body armour.
I have yet to see any statistical information that proves this to be the case and would very much like to do so.
The next argument is that stricter gun control laws don't work, will not work and have never worked. Ever.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland would very much like to disagree with that.
In the aftermath of Dunblane, which was carried out by someone with a gun licence and using legally owned weapons, there was an investigation into gun ownership in the UK. This lead to severe, severe tightening of limits on who could own a gun license, how often it had to be renewed, the circumstances in which it could be revoked, the purchase, storage and registering of firearms and where and when they could be fired (meaning the shooting events at this years Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2 years time have to be held at a police shooting range as anywhere else would be illegal).
You tell me, how do you think that's working out for us?
An additional argument to this is that Switzerland has higher gun ownership than the US and they have fewer incidents like this. So, that can't be because of strict gun control laws, right?
The reason gun ownership in Switzerland is so high is because they do not have a standing army as we would recognise it. There, men get military training at about the age of 20 and are reserve military members till they turn 30 (34 for officers). Part of this includes keeping their service weapon at home. After this, they can keep the weapon as long as they return it for a brief period so it can be converted to semi-auto, instead of full automatic, use.
To purchase a gun outside of this, you need a permit, which allows the holder to own 3 guns. Certain guns and add ons (such as silencers) are illegal. All guns must be registered and have a serial number. There are restrictions on the transportation of weapons and on the sale of ammunition (for example, ammunition purchased at a range can only be used there).
So, yeah, exactly like in the States.
The next argument is that these people are going to break the law regardless, so why bother? The new poster boy for this particular argument is Anders Behring Breivik. Norway, the argument goes, has strict gun control laws and it didn't stop him. The same will happen here so don't bother.
Really? That's your argument? Of course people bent on breaking the law will do so regardless of whether or not parts of the build up to that act are illegal. That would be why we call them criminals and spend tax payers money to find, arrest, charge and prosecute these people.
Besides, going by that argument, that means that there is no need for laws against: murder, assault, rape, incest, paedophilia, child pornography, shoplifting, driving under the influence, the purchase, selling, distribution, possession and consuming of illegal narcotics and age restrictions on films, television programming, books, magazines, music, computer games, the purchase and operation of automotive vehicles, tobacco and other smoking related products and alcohol.
In fact, why bother with laws at all? Save billions in taxes and do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
Pretty sure I heard that last bit somewhere.
Besides, 'they have one so I want one' is an argument that usually dies out in childhood.
Then we get to the strict constitutionalists. The ones who argue that the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. Let's look at that:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Fair point. Does the US have a well armed militia? (For an example of a militia, look at Switzerland. It's what they call their army.)
People point out that the Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, didn't actually define arms. Which is just as well for the people making this argument, as if they did, Americans would probably have the right to own a musket.
But apparently, you can't outlaw any weapon as it's against the Constitution. In that case, I have a question: can Nessa monster buy and own a nuclear missile?
A nuke is an arm, in fact it is the ultimate armament at the moment. The US is recognised as a nuclear power and she is therefore not a new state gaining this capability, neither, obviously, is she a rogue nation. (Unless there's something you're not telling me honey.) She is a US citizen, born and raised in Minnesota and lived there all her life, except when she moved away for college, moving back afterwards.
The Constitution, I keep getting told, affords her the right to bear arms and that there is no definition as to what that entails. So, I ask again, why can my girlfriend not own a nuclear missile?
Or perhaps it is the case that there are some things that need to be strictly, severely controlled and regulated and perhaps guns, which by design and nature only exist to kill, should be one of them.