Earlier today, I posted the following at FB:
I’ve been thinking about what passes for a debate on gun control in America, and I’ve been noticing many on the right talk about criminals doing whatever they need to get a gun illegally. I wonder how this debate would be different if we realized the world is not split into good people and death eaters, as Sirius Black put so well. A criminal is someone who commits a crime. A fellow human like me. He is not some entirely other species.
On a slightly different note, I’m more for bullet control than gun. Guns may serve a legitimate purpose but, outside of a well-regulated militia, large quantities of bullets do not.
(edited slightly to correct typos)
That reminded me of an old Dilbert comic. LOL-worthy, but also deeply profound in my opinion.
This weekend, I read a deeply moving post at the “Opinionator” blog (hosted by the NY Times), about how our American focus on guns makes us all less free and less open to a community. THis is what I have been thinking for a long time, but haven’t exactly worked out how to say. I highly recommend it.
The Freedom of an Armed Society by Firmin Debrabander
Not that anyone’s asked me, but my position on gun control is that this can’t be reduced to an issue, certainly not of the bumper sticker variety. I am a pacifist and don’t want guns around me. (The piece by Mr. Debrabander above explains one of the many reasons why.) But at the same time I grew up in a world where most of my neighbors probably owned guns, where accidents were extremely rare, and where responsible adults secured their weapons responsibly. Talking like all gun-owners are irresponsible is insulting and tends to make the paranoid ones more paranoid.
But at the same time, we need to acknowledge their extreme dangers. We need to recognize what they can and can’t do reasonably, and the very real risks they pose both psychologically and sociologically as well as in the body count. We also need to recognize that not all gun crimes are committed by career criminals; many accidents and homicides are committed by folks we’d consider “good people.” (Also that there’s nowhere near as hard a division as people seem to think.)
That’s a big part of why I like the bullet-control rather than gun-control solution. On top of control, I would like to see them taxed very heavily with the money used to help victims of gun violence. The first clip per gun should be tax-free, and if you can show that you fired the gun for some legitimate purpose the tax should be waived on future clips as well. (That would include hunting.) $10-$20 a shot doesn’t seem excessive here, because I seriously don’t see any legitimate reason to have so much ammunition on hand. Anything that makes people thing before they shoot seems like a good thing to me.
Btw: I’m not blaming the gun lobby (or the gun control lobby) for the Connecticut shooting. That tragedy and the others like it feed off a range of issues, and banning all the guns or making them widely available won’t in itself prevent that event from happening again. But our absolutist discussion of gun control doesn’t help things. Nor does our media’s “Squirrel!” tendencies.