Monday, April 30, 2007

Gun Control, Gun Elimination, and 60 Minutes

On Sunday night I was watching Sixty Minutes when they were doing a report on gun control. This topic has been popular as of late because of the Virginia Tech tragedy. I've read editorials about gun control and letters to the editor about gun elimination. I have also read a few opinions that the Virginia Tech tragedy was more about mental health than gun control. Over at Thinking About the debate about mental health and gun control or gun elimination got quite heated.

For me I could understand both sides. The tragedy did seem to have a lot to do with the status of mental health care in our country. Of course when I heard someone say that "weirdos" should be kicked off campus I did get a little panicked. Only because I reckon on any given day I might be declared a "weirdo" by some!

The gun control side of the debate I could also relate to. Not that I believe that owning guns is a bad thing. I grew up in a hunting family in south Arkansas. That meant deer huntin' -guns, dawgs, dice and whiskey-pretty much in that order. The dice and whiskey came at the end of the hunt when we would stand in a circle throw some dollars in the middle, shoot craps and the men would have a "snort". I must confess in all of my hunting days I saw a wide variety of guns, but never did anyone find the need to use a fully automatic assault weapon!

The gun control that appeals to me is that which seeks to limit hand guns. Hand guns seem to be for killing. Or as some would say protection, which equates to killing before you get killed.

While gun elimination seems like a peaceable thing to do I would have some worries. Without people going out with their shotguns to shoot clay pigeons I am certain that our world would be so overpopulated with clay pigeons that it would somehow throw off the ecology!

I have always thought that the right to bare arms had more to do with making sure that people could "flip the bird" to the government, only if the government got too big for its breeches. Now days our sporting guns have very little power when it comes to this sort of civil liberty. That power has been replaced by our Dells, HP, IBMs, and even Apples.

Sixty Minutes on the other hand seem to be right on target. Apparently the Brady Bill, which is law, contains provisions that prevent the mentally ill from purchasing guns. However, without funding to back it up many states do not report to the federal database used for background checks. Beefing up the Brady Bill to ensure such reporting is opposed by some, but not the NRA. A spokesperson for the NRA said no mentally ill person should be allowed to purchase guns. The opposition comes from a mental health association that seeks to protect the privacy of those who have received treatment for mental illness.

This whole thing lit me up! We have a law that actually does much of what needs to be done to protect us from tragedies like Virginia Tech. The law is ineffective because it does not get fully funded and no penalities are provided for nonreporting. Then factor in that the opposition to such a gun control law is coming from a sector that is not the NRA!

Just goes to show you, living safely in the goodle USA is a crap shoot.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Willi!

The Brady Bill can do much good if we allow it to - we just need to put the meat back into it. I'm with you on this one.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

I'm not a big gun control advocate. However, I would not be opposed to bans on certain ammo. These hollow point bullets and such are made to blow through armored vests and do the most possible damage to humans when they are hit. You don't really need that kind of ammo to hunt with.

Nor do you need it for home protection. A good, chep pump 12-guage shotgun is perfect for home protection. Along with outside lighting and dogs.

My biggest complaint about the VaTech situation was that Virginia state law apparently doesn't allow state universitties to force somebody like Cho to attend counseling as a condition of remaining enrolled in school.

You would think that would be a reasonable law. Especially once he was determined by a court to be a danger.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys need to brush up on your gun facts...
Fact: It is against the law to hunt animals unless you use ammunition with soft point tips. All 50 states have this law. Look it up. Gotta have hollow points.
As far as usage against people, that's what cops use. Why not citizens? If you did some side research, you would know the point of hollow points is to expand rapidly on contact. Something body armor defeats easily. Armor piercing rounds are usually steel-tipped, and are restricted, and horrible on gun barrels...
(BTW, citizens are involved in more justified shootings per year than cops, but they shoot 40% less bullets, and are TWICE as accurate as cops. Again, DOJ shooting statistics.)
Fact: There has been NO cop killed becasue of so-called armor-piercing ammo." Not one. You find one here in the US, and I'll prostrate myself to you.
Fact: Gun control = higher rates of violence. Look it up! FBI/DOJ AND CDC websites, (Yes, CDC!) as well as States with highes gun control laws have higer rates of crime. This fact has been well-documented and proven time again.
Fact: Shotguns are NOT best home defense. They will blow your eardrums out, scatter and you have a better chance of hitting something in addition to your target.Even cops are moving away from Shotguns an going to AR-15 style rifles. In addition, do you realize how destructive a shotgun is compaired to a hollow point?
Fact: Machine guns are legal as long as you have a Class 3 permit. A crime commited with a legally owned machine gun has not occured since the 1930's. Go ahead and prove me wrong here.
Fact: DOJ estimates in 2004, 2.5 million crimes were pervented by law-abiding citizens by brandishing a gun. No shots fired, nobody hurt, no crime comitted. This is an estimate because not all "incidents" get reported. Handguns were used in a large majority. (Don't remember exact figure...)
Fact; Brady bill does not stop criminals from obtaining guns.
Truely gents... please brush up on your gun facts. It seems if people don't like them, "They should be banned". It will never happen, so critical thinking is important here. Didn't work in Canada, England, or Australia.
LAst but not lease, if you change the constitution, then what good are the rights granted to us to begin with? Please before you respond, do some good research here. I listened to the Supreme court debate regarding gun control, and the anti-gun crowd REALLY looked foolish. Conflicting statements, misinterpreting, saying "individual" does not pertain to the second amendment, but it does in all the rest... Geez... These guys are supposed to be pros.
If you dislike guns and what they are inteneded for, I can respect that. Free country. You don't have to use facts cause after all, it's your opinion, again free country. But when people use ignorance tp back their claim instead of facts, it's hard to respect any opinion.
Thanks for letting me state my opinion! - Joel-

2:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Joel! I am glad to have you on my side. I could not say anything better than what you said. That was a great post!

However, you left out an important point about the discrimination against certain types of guns based on appearance, size, or features. Discrimination is just that, and it's no better than hating minorities for the color of their skin.

An AR15 shoots a bullet much less deadly than a common deer rifle, but so many think it "looks" like a machine gun or that it was designed as a "man killer", and so feel the need to ban it and guns like it. Designed as a "man killer" is such an ignorant term to describe something designed for the military, which is a very broad term anyway. The military has so many other standards besides human-based lethality, like reliability, simplicity of operation, accuracy, weight, size, ability to mount lights/grips/scopes/sights/handles/etc, interchangeability with NATO ammunition specs, and more, none of which contribute to a specific human target. And, most truthfully, these features usually contribute to making a better "do all" gun for the common civilian! I can now protect my home, shoot targets with my family, patrol the streets at work, hunt small game, and teach newcomers to the sport, all with the same gun.

Ignorance and misinformation typically drives any anti-gun legislation, be it waiting periods, outright laws banning certain arms, and ammunition regulations. Case in point, so many think that "machine guns" are being traded freely on the "unregistered" open market - this is a typical misinformed scare tactic by the anti-gun crowd.

Please anti-gunners, brush up on your gun facts before you start forming an opinion.

8:53 PM  

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