Thursday, April 04, 2013

Killer Hardware

Well, kiddies, what shall we talk about today? I know, let's piss people off right away and talk about gun control in the US of A. Connecticut, the little state that sometimes could, just passed some of the strongest gun control laws in the country. Not surprising in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, but ultimately, in my opinion, pointless. First let's get this out of the way, I am not anti-gun. I'm anti-me-owning-a-gun only because I regularly hurt myself using my coffee maker, I don't need the added risk of removing bits of myself or my family in an unintentionally ballistic fashion, but I don't mind that other responsible people own guns. And there are some words in the US Constitution that seem to indicate that every citizen (meaning white, landed men at the time, of course) have the right to own firearms. We'll leave that whole 'well regulated militia' part alone for the time being as far more learned people than I have debated what those three words really mean for years.
 Anyway, Connecticut has passed bans on certain types of 'assault' weapons, limit clip sizes, and mandate background checks for all gun purchases. [for the sake of brevity let's just assume that there is a huge 'in my opinion' stamp over the rest of this] Background checks are a great idea. It really bugs me that I have to jump through more hoops to buy a box of cold medicine than I do to buy a shotgun. As for limiting hardware, well that's just legislative theatre designed to make it look like they're actually doing something. Sure, limiting semi-auto clips to 7 rounds seems like a logical step, but a skilled shooter can reload a 6 shot revolver in a few seconds, and changing out clips is even faster. Not to mention that someone who is looking to commit a crime with that hardware can easily get the higher capacity magazines just across the border. And the so-called assault weapons are no more or less dangerous than their less scary looking counterparts. This is the beginning of Connecticut's assault weapon definition: Any selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user... Well, for starters, any weapon that can go full-auto (i.e. a machine gun) is already illegal for civilian use, the rest is just set dressing. I think that the way to curtail gun violence in the US is not to pass band-aid laws that only look like they're doing anything. The way to accomplish anything meaningful is to increase the penalties for misuse of firearms. When drunk driving penalties became much stricter in the 80s drunk driving plummeted, and no one had to ban booze. Start enforcing existing laws, take the guns away from repeat offenders, require training classes for anyone purchasing a firearm, and close the gun show loopholes that allow people to purchase guns without any sort of checks at gun shows. The genie is out of the bottle in this country, folks, and the guns aren't going away, but that lovely Second Amendment everyone likes to point to when ever this issue arises includes the words 'well regulated militia'. I've been told that that means that every citizen is a member of that militia, so let's regulate them well. Training, education, and accountability are the way out of this mess we have in this country, not more restrictions that will be ignored and difficult, if not impossible to enforce.
Of course we could also go the Chris Rock route and just make every bullet cost $5,000. :-)

Peace out, y'all! Marius


Erwin Blonk said...

Everyone who wants to own a gun should go through police officer level training and keep it up. That should do it.
Contrary to what some people believe you can own guns here. You have a background check and after you have a permit and membership of a club you can't have them in your house right away. That takes a year, as far as I know. Even then, you have to keep them locked away and unloaded. It seems to prevent most accidents. A shoot-out is still news here.

Anonymous said...

"Police officer training" in some areas (including the county in which I used to live) meant "aim, empty your clip, reload, empty your clip again." That's straight from the mouth of a relative who served as an officer in this county.

That's not really "gun control" in my opinion.

I think background checks should be mandatory. As you said, I have to go through everything short of a lie detector test if I dare to get sick and need OTC medication. Apparently, it would be easier for me to just go buy a gun and blow away my illness? Good planning there, America.

flurrious said...

Honestly, I think our only hope is evolution of the human species. There are people who care more about what kind and how much ammunition they can buy than they do about twenty dead first-graders, and until those people are just skeletons on exhibit at the science museum, we won't do anything meaningful to curb gun violence. That said, Wayne LaPierre's many recent speaking appearances have done more for gun control than anything in recent memory. NRA members see him spitting and foaming at the mouth and are like, "uh, we're not with that guy."