Bullet time

Was trying to avoid getting into the always testy “gun control” debate, and ended up debating it with a Facebook friend- the amount of insanity/soapboxing flooding my feed on the subject just broke me. Some of this is copied from comments I’ve made, though the ending changes. As usual, my thoughts wander along the spectrum before settling in. I’ve read some great ideas on it already which influenced my thinking.

I go back and forth a little, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the spectrum of thinking that’s out there.

*****

I think the proper use of guns calls for a more nuanced conversation than people on either side of the debate are capable of having right now in the wake of the shooting. I don’t see escalation as helping, but at the same time, “gun control” needs to be done right.

Firstly: No one’s banning guns. No one is talking about this except for people who are worried about them being banned. That said, for those calling for regulation: you can’t create an entire infrastructure for monitoring and controlling the sale of firearms out of whole cloth. That takes time, and resources, and careful thought.

The wonderfully optimistic solution has it like driving cars: get trained properly, take a test, government monitors firearms/ammunition sold, and you pay insurance for each one you have. Sounds like a good start to me, but that’s an awful lot of infrastructure to put in place, and is going to cost money. Is it possible or reasonable? Maybe, but be prepared for it to take a while. Search for anything regarding the “long gun registry” in Canada for how this can go wrong, and cost way more money than anyone thinks.

The inclination after something emotional like this is to action (or reaction, as the case may be here), and that’s correct. We need to encourage that. But we also need to realize change doesn’t happen over night, especially if we’re looking to change a system that’s existed since the formation of a country.

It says in the constitution that Americans have the right to bear arms. Alright. The constitution also supported slavery, and the idea that women were inferior to men.

Slavery and men being superior were part of the cultural context of the time, sure. So let’s look at that context. Part of the reason the right to bear arms was in the constitution was that America had just completed a long war with Britain, and didn’t have a standing army. This isn’t the case now. The US of A has arguably the most powerful army in the world, and is a part of NATO. Canada and Britain are their two biggest allies, and we’re not invading any time soon. We’re pretty harmless. And it’s not on private citizens to police crime- that’s asking for trouble. That’s why a police force exists.

I’m a Canadian, so my tendency is towards compromise and peace. But I’m a realist. There’s bad things in the world, unspeakable things. But I think that regulating guns discourages the bad in the world rather than encourages it. If someone wants to have a gun, they should prove they can use a gun responsibly. Be educated. Respect the weapon. The numbers bear out that gun-related deaths are much, much higher in the United States than other countries. To quote a good friend, “This isn’t rocket surgery”. There’s a good, collaborative solution to be found here, and I think that if people would take a deep breath, they might be able to find it.

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