I’ve been watching the gun debate closely since the Sandy Hook massacre. I’d like to just write down my thoughts.
First things first: No, I’m not an expert on this matter. I’m also a Brit, and therefore my cultural views on guns are very different to an American’s. I’m talking about this matter because human life is precious, and in a first world country like the USA, it shouldn’t be as under threat as it is. In addition, I aspire to the American dream: As I’m sure those who follow my blog realise, I am fascinated by American politics, and culture, and ethics, and hope to live and work in America. Hopefully those who read this will respect that, and not accuse me of being a redcoat, coming to get the guns.
The way I look at it is this: guns ARE a part of the US culture. That shouldn’t be denied. It’s part of the constitution, and I respect that.
However, it isn’t 1791 anymore. Firearms have evolved. They’re no longer muskets, which have limited ammunition, and take time to load. In addition, foreign powers do not roam free on American lands anymore. We British have no desire to invade again. This is an issue with the amendment: the affairs it relates to have evolved, while the amendment hasn’t.
I get the need for an American to defend themselves, especially in such a wide, varied country. I’ve never felt it myself, but that is because I’m 20, and live in a relatively small and affluent community. I’m sure when I’m older, and have a home and family of my own to protect, I’ll feel differently. But I GET the need.
Therefore, I wouldn’t say I support any ban to guns outright, as it’s not appropriate for a nation like the USA.
However, to me, military grade weapons, like the AR-15 variants that have been used in the recent shootings, have no place in the hands of civilians.
These guns have no other purpose than to kill. Pro-gun activists have said that had victims had their own weapons, they would have survived, as they would have been able to stop a shooter. Yes, a handgun could do that. An assault rifle? It’s a little conspicuous to take the movie theatre, or to school.
Some raise the point of why target guns, and not bats, or knives? Knife crime here in the UK is not great (looking at a report from the House of Commons Library, dated 06/11/2012, over 39% of homicides in the UK 2011/2012 were committed by a sharp instrument (about 200)), but what needs to be established is a) those items have household uses aside from killing, and b) it is much harder to commit a massacre with a knife. Not impossible, but less possible than with an AR-15. The last one that I know of was the Akihabara killings in 2008 in Japan, which resulted in 7 deaths.
Basically, the way I see it, is assault weapons, like the AR-15s, have no place on the streets. They serve no purpose, except to kill a large amount of people, and I’m not one to buy into conspiracy theories: I don’t think a tyrannical government will rise. Of course, the theorists that read this will assume I’m a prop of the ‘the man’ or the new world order, but I’m just a student, with a few opinions. I don’t take prozac or anything along those lines. I drink the water from my tap though, so I could easily be a tool for the liberal elite, and therefore I apologise.
Also, I think there should be nationwide waiting period for guns, and perhaps just some training. To drive a car, which serves the purpose to get you from A to B requires a period of learning, under the direction of an expert, and then a test to check that you correctly know how to use the vehicle. To me, this allows people who would otherwise buy a gun in anger be given the chance to cool off, as well as understand the ramifications of a gun, and how to correctly use it to protect ones family. If you know you’ll need a gun in the future, you should have no trouble waiting a couple of days before you can collect it. If you believe you’re in immediate danger, go to the police. In addition, by having it nationwide, it reduces the chance that a person can just go to another state, where gun laws are weaker, and bypass any constraints in their own state.
There we have it. Those are my thoughts. I have no doubt that one or two of the details are incorrect, as I’m not an expert on all the laws of the various states, so do forgive me, and let me know so I can edit the piece. Like I say, I don’t support the banning of all guns in America, and think handguns and shotguns are appropriate for many Americans. I however do believe that military rifles have no place in a civil society, and that licensing could have a little more teeth, to ensure guns are used appropriately, and not in rage. Thank you for reading.