This has been a basic question where conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and advocates against gun control advocates have wrestled and neither side has ever found the magic, pardon our word usage, silver bullet to end the violence resulting from criminal firearm usage. Every time there is a dramatic milestone reached as was recently in Chicago where they reached five-hundredth homicide of the year or a dramatic firearms related death toll resulting from firearms usage such as the Orlando club shooting or the string of homicides in San Bernardino for the anti-gun forces to rush to blame the guns even if the real culprit was terrorism as in Orlando and San Bernardino. There is the demand for long waiting periods, deeper background checks, limits on firearm purchases per person per year or any of a number from a plethora of inventive laws which would presumably end criminal purchases of firearms at gun shows, gun stores, private sales or other legal forms of firearms purchases. This begs a simple question, how many criminals are purchasing their firearms legally. Yes, there have been some tragic cases where a person legally purchased the firearms they use all too often in violent mass shootings such as too many school shootings or mass public shootings such as in movie theaters or nightclubs or as vengeance workplace violence or even terrorism. These tragic cases often are the first criminal act of the shooters and they went through all of the existing checks and even if further checks and wait periods were enacted they would have had little if any effect beyond waiting periods causing them to plan longer and delay their shooting sprees but not preventing them. Still, over ninety percent of shootings are committed by people with criminal records who already would be unable to walk into a gun show or gun store and purchase a firearm legally and most of the firearms used in these crimes are often stolen weapons which were bought illegally from nonstandard sources which operate beyond the law. The idea that making legal firearm purchases more time consuming, burdensome and legally tangled with more and more layers of paperwork and legal hurdles does nothing to prevent criminal firearm purchases and the politicians know this and the crime data records prove this. So why if these facts are well known and understood do the politicians continue to call for restrictions on firearm purchases and even have many calling now for the repeal of the Second Amendment and the complete ban of legal firearm ownership despite all evidence pointing to this leading to increased firearm use by criminal elements as they then are assured they will be the only people armed in any criminal incident.
There are at least two easily understandable reasons for the politicians calling for more restrictive laws. The most obvious is their receiving funds for making such demands coming from the anti-gun lobbies who will love such legislation and will spend liberally supporting political campaigns for those supportive candidates. Another reason is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) who also favor more firearm laws as each law, regulation and licensing required by law increases the numbers of government employees required to process and handle the additional forms, research, background checks, license issuing or renewal and any other directives and requirements such legislation demands. These are two of the most active groups a candidate can get behind them in order to finance their campaign. The other reason which looms over the gun debate even more than campaign finances is the general lack of real information and education of the public, especially in most major metropolitan jurisdictions. This is largely due to the complete lack of intimate knowledge, education, training or even the slightest use of a firearm by the majority of the voting public. With a smaller and smaller percentage of the population having served in the military, especially suburban residents, and even less training in firearms in such organization as the Boy Scouts and other youth groups and there no longer having any firearms training in summer camps, the public is generally unfamiliar with firearms and many even developing a symptom bordering on maniacal fear of firearms to the point of hyperventilating at the sight of a gun other than on the belt of a uniformed police officer. Additionally, the use of firearms in entertainment venues such as movies displaying firearms in ways which are wildly inaccurate such as handguns or rifles firing well over one-hundred rounds without ceasing fire for reloading even firing six-shot revolvers twenty or thirty times before changing to another weapon or reloading, has fueled misconceptions of the lethality and practical use of firearms which if applied to swords would have the sword being capable of killing merely by removing it from its scabbard. Another misconception furthered by the entertainment industry is the range at which weapons, particularly handguns, are lethal. With shots being taken with a 9mm or a 45cal semi-automatic handgun at well over a quarter mile, 440 yards or four and a half football fields (pitch) which is a highly dubious range even for a really good marksman, but that is the short end of impossible shots as many a movie aficionado can attest. I have actually seen neighbors shrink away when friends and I would return from the outdoor public range and transport normal handguns and a few hunting rifles from the trunk of the vehicle into the house for cleaning and once had an extremely paranoid neighbor call the police claiming that terrorists were meeting in my place with dozens of guns and other weapons. The police were not all that amused but as two of my friends had Federal Firearms Licenses and one had a Class III Weapons Permit and worked at a gun store, they were forced to allow us to retain our weapons. The neighbor was frantic that we were not taken away in chains and the arsenal confiscated. Ah, reliving the good old days of my misspent youth.
The truth is that should the anti-gun and anti-weapons fanatics get their way, we will be eating steaks with butter knives if the vegans allow us to continue to eat slabs of cows. This claim is made as there have been calls in the United Kingdom, or at least in London and other cities of the Isles to make knives beyond six inches illegal which would make a number of carving knives and my bread knife illegal and some steak knives I have seen such as the ones at a restaurant in the United States and likely elsewhere called Outback. By our figuring, if these fanatics against weapons of all venues got their way, we would no longer have forks and instead be using sporks with our butter knives. The people who wish to make life so guarded that even the roads are made soft enough that falling will not scrape an elbow or a knee really have lost all sense of excitement and see danger not as a challenge to be overcome but a peril which must be eradicated so even the most inept cannot harm themselves no matter how recklessly they address life’s challenges. Where if they desire to round every corner in their homes and pad every piece of furniture while only using safe utensils such as butter knives and sporks and eat only the most bland fruits and vegetables rushing to the doctor’s office at the first sneeze or cough, let them live such lives but do not force your phobias on the remainder of us who wish to live lives dangerously using real forks and steak knives just to eat an apple because we love the thrill of the hunt. Truth be told, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution was argued in the Federalist Papers as being the last line of defense against and to prevent Government Overreach and assure the Constitutional limits on Government power was in the hands of the people.
These people who claim that the gun is evil are carrying paranoia to an extreme beyond reason. I am willing to bet any of these people that a fully loaded handgun of any caliber could be placed on my kitchen table and sit there in the open for a full year and nobody I know would pick it up or fear it and it is highly unlikely, to the point of absurdness, that it would ever injure, let alone murder, anybody during that year or any number of additional years. I am willing to bet that they could not produce one person who robbed a convenience store who was claiming the firearm walked up to them, grabbed them by the hand and dragged them to the convenience store forcing them to rob it. Yet these same people would claim it was the gun if that same person had shot the clerk and simply wounded him requiring three stitches and a band aid. The tired old phrase that it is the person who commits the crime and not the firearm is true but there are those who insist on believing otherwise. They will claim that had the criminal not had the gun they would not have committed the crime. Somehow we believe it is more likely that the criminal would easily be able to buy a gun from, wait for it, another criminal if they were without a gun and believed one was needed to commit their crime. They would not go to Joe’s Gun Emporium or the county fair gun pavilion or any other legal means, they would go to a well-known criminal world individual and purchase a gun and for a few dollars more a gun without any serial number as it had been removed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the criminal world will sell you guns made to order for the right price. It probably comes as a shock to the gun control supporters that there exist individuals who actually sell guns illegally and if they desire making it more difficult for criminal elements to use firearms, then the people they need to prevent from selling guns are the criminal elements and not the local gun store. Are there those gun store people who might sell guns under the table? Probably, but they are a rare minority and eventually they will be caught which every gun owner will be glad and hopes such a person is put away for a very long time. Gun owners are responsible citizens and are just as abhorred at criminal gun use as the next person, even the anti-gun lobbyist. Nothing would make gun owners happier than for every gun to be legally owned and never used for a criminal purpose and for not another person to die from gun violence. As far as gun accidental deaths, when you can figure out how to end the fifty-thousand plus vehicle deaths each year on the American highways and streets, then we can worry about the few hundred accidental gun deaths. It is nice to keep things in perspective and every gun death is a tragedy as is every premature death. But please let us remain sane and address the more serious causes of accidental deaths such as swimming pools and bathtubs, honestly folks.
Beyond the Cusp