I need your help here for I am completely lost. There is one argument made by gun rights activists that I cannot counter. This particular argument has been troubling me for a long time. Today I decided to write about it after reading in the newspapers about another random death caused by a stray bullet in Seattle.
I looked up the history of gun control laws in United Kingdom for a source of inspiration. The UK has progressively tightened its gun laws as a response to gun related massacres; you can read about these massacres here 1987, 1996, and 2010. Unfortunately, lessons from the United Kingdom are not directly enforceable here. Gun proliferation in United States has reached such a stage that an outright ban on guns is not practical. Criminals already have guns and cleansing the underworld is going to take some time.
This, however, does not mean we should give up on gun control. We have to start tightening up now! However, this tightening is not going to happen unless we listen, figure out where the opposition is coming from, and propose a reasonable solution. (As usual, let us ignore the minority extreme right nutcases.)
I have been looking at anti-gun-control arguments with the above thoughts in the background. I think most of the anti-gun-control arguments can be answered easily. For example:
(1) There is a lot of talk about what the 2nd Amendment is really about.
This argument is irrelevant. This Amendment was enacted in 1791. Any reasonable person will agree to the fact that things are bound to change, and sometimes rethinking fundamental policies is required.
(2) Then there is argument about the “Natural rights of a free man”.
This is big baloney! There are quite a few natural rights that, if enforced, will land you in jail.
(3) “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
This is another ridiculous argument. However, as long as we agree that there is ‘killing’, I am happy with this.
(4) Crime was lower when guns were easier to buy before 1968, when you could buy a gun with no paperwork and walk out with it.
This argument completely ignores one important fact. DRUGS! This is the major reason behind gun-related violence in United States that did not exist in 1968. I read books on every kind of gang: African-American, Mexican, Biker gangs, etc. — one fact that always stands out and is common to every gang is crack cocaine. Things went haywire in this country only after crack cocaine hit the streets around 1985.
However, there is one argument where I am completely clueless. How do we respect people’s right to defend themselves inside their homes?
This question can really bother you while travelling the vast wilderness of states such as Idaho, Montana and eastern Washington, and to some extent in states like North and South Dakota. The area is too vast and the population is too widely dispersed to provide an effective police response. I would not be surprised if police appear half an hour or later after a 911 call has been made; these people have a legitimate reason to keep guns inside their homes. How do we enforce gun control while solving this problem?
The right to bear arms is status quo in this country. If we want the majority to support a change to the status quo then we have to propose a solution to genuine problems. Let’s be practical and empathize, for arguing blindly is not going to get us anywhere.