Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sensible Gun Control

Gun control. Not my usual subject. Not at all adoption-related. But in the wake of the horrific massacre in Denver, a very timely ssubject...and isn't saving the lives if innocent people, including chidlren in keeping with protecting and preserving families that gun control?

As we mourn the  senseless, massive loss of life and grieve with the those who lost ones, the recent tragedy has engaged raises many questions. Is mass murder a uniquely American problem? No, especially not with acts of terrorism being carried out worldwide. But gun-related murders are. In one year guns killed: 17 in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 In Canada and 9,484 in the USA.

Of significance is that Finland, the nation with the lowest number of gun-related murders of those listed, ranks fourth in the world for the most firearms per capita (surpassed only by the United States, Yemen, and Switzerland.) Finns own 32 firearms per 100 private citizens. Yet, gun related homicides are rare, comprising 14% of the total number of homicides, as compared to a rate of 68% of murders involving guns in the US.

Why the enormous difference between Americans’ use of guns to commit murder and Finlands’? Guns and other weapons are tightly regulated in Finland with 60% of firearm permits issued for hunting weapons. Firearms can only be obtained with a separate acquisition license for each firearm. Licenses are not issued for "self defense reasons" and even weapons such as pepper sprays are regulated.

Carrying weapons, including guns and knives, in public is not allowed anywhere in Finland. Firearms must be locked up or have vital parts removed and stored separated. Even then, the weapon or any of its separated parts must not be easily stolen. If more than 5 pistols, revolvers or self-loading rifles or other-type firearms are being stored, they must be stored in a certified gun safe or in a secure space inspected and approved by the local police authority. Think of lives of children saved by these regulations! Registered guns may be carried only when they are being transported from storage to a shooting range, or hunting area, etc. and they must be unloaded and concealed or kept in carrying pouches.

Why can we not put similar restrictions on the right to bear arms. Other constitutional rights are not without restrictions. Our most basic right, the First Amendment right to freedom of speech is limited by disallowing speech which provokes violence or incites illegal action, or is slanderous or libelous. If we limit and restrict our right to speak our mind, why can we not put some restriction on gun ownership?

As we learn the details of the number and types of weapons, ammunition and explosives James Holmes amassed over several months, one cannot help but think of the gun lobbyists slogan: Guns don’t kill, people do. Do bullets and rounds of automatic ammo kill? Can we not regulate and restrict the purchase of deadly arsenals while maintaining and protecting the bear to arms?   The Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  It does not say the right to bear arms and ammunition. Nor does it protect anyone’s right to automatic weapons.

Your thoughts?


Nancy Norbeck said...

The Second Amendment says, "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." Gun "rights" advocates seem to want to focus on everything after the comma while ignoring what goes in front of it. I don't think we should be legislating (or not!) on the basis of half of an amendment.

It seems to me, then, that those who own guns should either be in training to function as just such a militia, or that we are already covered very well indeed by the four branches of the military. I don't think Jefferson and Co. were talking about everyone owning a gun for self-defense or they'd have said so, as they did with the militia. (And that's before we even consider that this sentence was written long before anyone could even conceive of anything has horrific as an assault rife. I'm sure they'd have written the amendment differently if those had been around at the time.)

I see no reason why they would have been speaking of anything outside of an army, or perhaps the Minutemen they would have known well. In both cases, gun owners were trained, and their cause was national duty.

There's a big difference between doing your duty for your country and plotting to kill dozens in an enclosed space.

Mirah Riben said...

EXCELLENT, excellent point!!! Wish I'd said that and i will in the future!!!

Of course, in addition to properly interpreting and enforcing our constitution, there is the issue of how to control Internet gun sales? I wonder how Finland handles that?

A woman (or someone with a female-sounding name) commented on Facebook in this regard that she owns an UZI and would not part with it, but used it safely. Then she added: "But I pity anyone who tried to enter my home without permission." Man, I'd hate to live like that!

Moonstar said...

I been reading your blog and I pretty much agree on everything you say about
family preservation. However I have to disagree with you on this. While I do agree
that there does need to be some form of gun control, I don't think it needs to be
close to as extreme as Finland's. I have a right to protect myself from potential
raptists and murderers. Just imagine if everyone in that theater was carrying a gun.
The people could have shot the guy before he killed them.

And no the founding fathers wasn't talking about militia. It was simple everyday
people, who had guns that started the revolution to break away from Great Britain.
When Adolph Hitler was in power, the first thing he did was cease everyone's firearms.
It to keep the people from fighting against him. Because that's how the U.S,
broke away from the British government.

But although we don't agree on this subject, I like your family preservation blogs.
Keep up the good work. ;)

Mirah Riben said...

Yeah, i do disagree. At the time the constitution was written we did not have NEARLY the population we have now, nor the diversity within that population. Allowing guns works OK among a small number of people with lots of land between them. Not such a good idea in a crowded city with poverty etc. ...things the founding father shad no way to foresee. But they were clever enough to create the constitution in a manner that it could be changed to meet changing times. prohibit alcohol and then reverse it back again when that DIDN'T WORK and caused MORE crime, not less.

Allison said...

I've watched this debate for years rage on Mirah. Some want gun control to a vast extreme and the other side wants freedom to bear a nuclear weapon if they could. The reality is that there needs to be a happy medium.
We aren't in the 1700's any longer. Militias are virtually squashed into submission by the US government that isn't much different in a lot of respects from the police states of the Cold War. (If nothing else, the Occupy movement has shown us those stripes) I am not advocating that today’s militias are ok, or are even sane in today's realities. They simply aren't the same thing any longer. I can't imagine a comparison of today’s Pennsylvania militias to the 1750's militias.
However, gun control is also a regional problem. Finland for example is a relatively tiny country in comparison to the US. Finland has just about 130K square miles where the US has 3 MILLION square miles taking of Alaska and Hawaii (3.7 million with both added in). Also, Finland doesn't have the vast spectrum of cultures, landscape or even a relatively comparable dispersion that the US has. For a population comparison it doesn’t even work – ie; Finland 5 million total populous, USA 311.5 million. A comparison might be something reasonable if you compared maybe the State of Montana to Finland for size. So, the comparing of the countries with gun controls are apples and oranges. The countries have no comparison capability.
Where I grew up, I carried typically a weapon. It wasn’t flashy, and it wasn’t designed to do anything other than to provide me with protection where I had to go. That might sound so barbaric in the east coast here, but out west is not out east. When I drove 5 or 6 hours in a blistering desert and saw some pretty intimidating creatures or drug/human traffickers and others, I clearly needed to protect myself. There is no law enforcement out there capable of patrolling 120K sq. miles of the Sonoran Desert. There is no possibility that there is protection out in places in the west. (Btw, the desert I grew up in was just about as big as the entire country of Finland with a population of hardly enough to sneeze on.)
There are tens of millions of responsible gun owners in this country. They have their weapons in their homes for hunting, protection and sport. They use them responsibly. Just as there are millions of responsible drivers of vehicles, should we put extreme bans on vehicles for all those who misuse them? They do even more damage annually (359,000 for 2009 which are the figures I could find) than guns. (Think of a bus accident – we’ve had dozens killed on the NJ turnpikes over the years due to bad bus drivers – should we ban busses?)
There are always going to be incidents like Columbine, and now Aurora Colorado. I think it is a tragedy that we were unable to prevent it and I too am sickened by such senseless acts. You can’t regulate morality. Take away the guns; they’ll mix a chemical weapon to throw into somewhere (Japan, subway and mustard gas for example). The problem isn’t the guns. Never has been. It’s the people that are sick and the destruction they are bent on perpetrating.

Mirah Riben said...

You claim "Some want gun control to a vast extreme." Did any of my proposal seem extreme to you?

I know of no one opposed to: "the tens of millions of responsible gun owners in this country. They have their weapons in their homes for hunting, protection and sport. They use them responsibly."

But even you, in the wild west or desert or whatever- do you or anyone need automatic assault weapons to protect yourself???

Come on. I think the gun controls suggested have always been moderate and fair, but the gun lobbyists won't give an inch, not a centimeter or a millimeter! Where's the compromise you speak of??? WHAT compromise do you suggest since you said: "The reality is that there needs to be a happy medium." What is that happy medium? Please!

Anonymous said...

Just a clarification - The rifle used by Holmes was semiautomatic, meaning it fires one round when pulling the trigger. To be a true assault weapon it would have to be automatic, firing multiple rounds after pulling the trigger. It's illegal to own a fully automatic assault rifle without a Class 2 FFL license.

Anonymous said...

It's also important to note that no guns have ever killed anyone. People do that. Allison was spot on saying that morality cannot be legislated.

In addition to that, All but one incidence of mass shootings occurred in gun-free zones. With the exception being the Ft. Hood shooting. It's ironic to me that a military base is where those that are pro gun control say the guns should be.

It's not the guns it's the people, we don't need more laws.


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