Guns & Newtown CT; Any lessons learnt?
“We must have a conversation about this” said our President mourning the Newtown children and their teachers, who had been slaughtered by Adam Lanza and everyone agreed.
Just like they agreed every time in the past that such tragedies happened.
Taking their cues, the NRA Gun Lobbies start their campaign of, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns“. Congress, not being suicidal, takes their cues from the NRA and tables “conversations about this” to later…MUCH later.
Already, the prediction is that civilian assault rifle (AR-15, the Connecticut killer’s gun) sales will go up, because people are afraid of possible legislation to ban the gun. Most gun-nuts equate gun-control with someone taking their guns away from them.
In the meantime, calls are going out to arm teachers because, if teachers are armed, then people will hesitate to start shooting in schools. Let’s look at this argument…
How many cases have we heard of, where the Police open fire on someone and most of their rounds find unintended targets, injuring bystanders and hitting other things than the target?
Just search, “Police miss and shoot bystanders” and you’ll be amazed at the results, most of the bullets fly off the mark. Bear in mind, this is the Police, folks who are paid and trained to shoot under stress.
Now imagine a teacher, even one who knows how to use a gun, just how accurate do you think s-he will be?
Then, who but a killer or a moron, would open fire in a crowded place such as a classroom or a shopping mall? those bullets don’t just vanish into thin air after being fired, this is NOT a video-game.
I would love to know which schools are foolish enough to carry the additional liability for a teacher shooting an innocent person, even in hot-battle conditions. I also wonder that the game-plan would be for an event where a student clubs a teacher, takes the gun and then starts on a rampage.
Then there is also the long-term conditioning of children who are being taught by a fully-armed teacher will soon enough, become inured to the thought of gun violence and will start to believe that having greater violence-potential is the best way to win an argument. If the argument of arming teachers, to thwart potential attackers is valid then, why not also arm students (well, selected students, of course!)? if that is okay, then at what age do we start to arm our children? How much sooner do we then start to train them to handle fire-arms and to fire under stressful conditions?…quite different from shooting at clay-pigeons and silhouettes.
One oft-recited item is the Second Amendment to the Constitution: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of a people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. Courts have choked out trial after trial and argument after argument, both for and against a right to own guns. It is a testament to the organization and power of the NRA that even the Supreme Court has conceded that the American people have a right to own weapons.
There is almost one gun owned for every American, almost 300 million guns and the numbers are going exponential; in the eleven months of 2012, there have been almost 17 million applications to buy a gun; an all-time high. These are people who purchase registered weapons from dealers and it does not include other legitimate buyers who purchase weapons from private parties, as there are no background checks or paperwork required for those purchases.
Still, we do limit this right.
The constitution does not limit the right to bear arms to guns, but today’s government does place limits on the kinds of arms a person may own. Automatic rifles are a no-no, as are heavier caliber weapons, no 50-mm cannon, no bazooka’s or tanks and missiles are definitely not on.
We have laws against gun ownership for people who are felons, who are potentially or presently, not in control of their minds. we also do not permit the possession of concealed guns in most states unless there is a special permit to carry such a weapon.
None of these limits are part of the constitution, which simply permits a well-regulated militia’s people to keep weapons.
Clearly, the government has won the right to limit the kind of weapons a person may possess and under what conditions, and to limit the kind of a person who may possess any weapons at all.
This would suggest that the government may also place reasonable conditions on gun-ownership in order to improve public safety in America.
Long before 9-11 I was writing a commentary on gun ownership for which I had to get in touch with the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. I discovered that they had software in place that could maintain lists of firing-pin signatures, the unique way each pin hits the shell and that they had proposed a list of all weapons by pin signatures, but the gun-lobbies vetoed the idea.
The government could pass a law requiring every gun owner to go to a specific place and fire off two rounds for collection (including the shells) and cataloguing by the ATF. Another law to make it mandatory for every gun imported into this country, to also submit two fired rounds and shells at specific locations throughout the country. These could then be made available to law-enforcement agencies in investigations, allowing for faster discovery as to the ownership of the weapon used in a crime.
The government could also:
- Require every gun owner to pass a certification program for responsible gun possession
- Gun-locks and gun-safes in every house with a gun in it
- Liability insurance for every person who owns a gun
- Ban people from owning guns if they have been convicted of violent crimes
It may help those people who are in love with their guns, to feel they may still continue to own their cool toys and it certainly will help limit the number of guns in irresponsible hands although, not those owned by criminals, but we are not discussing that population at this point.
Those of us who would like to limit gun ownership in more strict ways, must come to terms that we live in the most violent country in the world, that was founded on the rule of violence and still feels like a war-zone when one looks at the law-enforcement officers and their training in this country; Controls might fly, while serious limit will not.
Having said all this, I am not at all confident that this country is ready for a re-evaluation of gun ownership anytime soon so, expect more violence as time goes on…
Yes indeed, I am so glad we had a conversation about this!
Meet you at the next gun show, I am getting an AR-15, a Glock 19 and a SIG, probably a private purchase, seeing who I am…