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Guns! Guns! Guns!
Do you think gun ownership should be allowed?
Why do we own guns?
For most this is actually pretty basic, either we are hunters or farmers and it is quite easy to see why a gun (at least a long gun) is required. But there are those who own guns for entirely the wrong reasons. I don’t mean to anger anyone but some of this may. Here are some of the things I consider to be flaws in the attitude of gun ownership.
Hunters: A good reason to own a firearm in my opinion is hunting. But, hunters have no real use for handguns as they are pointless for hunting as the accuracy of a short barreled gun is not that great nor is the range that great either. Automatic weapons were never designed for hunting, most hunters live off of the 'one shot one kill' rule when it comes to shooting and most Automatic weapons are actually meant, from the design table forward, to kill humans almost exclusively.
Farmers: Need to control more than just random criminals, they have natural predators stocking their livestock and even their family members occasional so yes definitely need the farmers to have access to firearms. Again, I see no justification for a side arm or an automatic weapon. A simple long gun will give the farmer everything he needs.
Gun Collecting: Seriously? Is this the only thing you can think of to collect? I spent time in the infantry and used a wide variety of small and medium arms and mortars, rocket launchers, turret guns, etc and I loved every minute of it but to own a .50 cal is pointless in the extreme. I cannot legally hunt with it and did you know it is actually against the Geneva convention to even use it against a human target? .50 cals are anti-vehicle weapons and the .50 cal MG is designed and used primarily to take out soft vehicle targets by the military and occasionally to hit a hardened target like a bunker. No consideration should be given to simple collectors when it comes to gun control, let them collect stamps. No civilian in either country can properly justify owning a .50 cal or any other heavy weapon.
‘Home defense’ enthusiasts : Really can’t think of another nice way to describe someone who is brain dead enough to surround themselves with massive amounts of various different types of guns in their homes then think for even one split second that they can defend that home from a hostile invading army! Take it from someone who has been schooled in infantry tactics you can never defend your own home from a hostile invading army. They will do one of three things: 1. They will blow your house up with an airstrike and kill you, destroy your guns (all of them) and kill whoever else in your family that was dumb enough to believe that this type of defense tactic could actually work. 2. They will by pass your house and mark it for an artillery strike (same result as #1 above) 3. They will overwhelm your ‘defenses’ with massive fire power superiority (cause ‘HEY’ you can only fire one gun at a time eh?) and burn your house to the ground with you and your family and all your guns along with it.
You cannot defend your home against an invading army especially if they already drove out your own army from the area. Your only option is to defend your family and to do that you must be willing to actually abandon your home and fight mobile, moving constantly from one place to another and adopting an ambush mentality when it comes to dealing with the enemy, and even then prepare for a very long and uncomfortable campaign in which you will constantly be outnumbered, outgunned and on the move. But as proven in Vietnam, you can win a campaign like this if you are smart about it. But you will not want 50 different types of guns to be carrying with you all over the place. So here is another group that should get very little consideration when it comes to gun control. Most of the home defense types are completely unaware about what kind of threat they can logically oppose while remaining stationary.
Gun control should be handled by...
Currently, in both Canada and the USA, gun control seems to be handled almost exclusively by the central authority, IE: Washington (USA), or Ottawa (Canada). The debates go around and around and we hear many things about our rights to self defense and safe schools and communities, and it seems almost impossible for an entire population to come to some sort of consensus on the issue.
I have a simple theory, when an entire population in a country the size and complexity of both Canada and the USA (2nd and 4th largest respectively I believe) cannot come to a consensus on an issue it is probably a very good indication that the issue in question should not be in the hands of the central authority in the first place. Do we really think that the entire population of the USA, from Hawaii to New York and from Alaska to Texas will every come to a general consensus on an issue like gun control? How about the entire population of Canada from the North Pole to the Great Lakes and from Vancouver to Halifax? It would seem almost impossible to come to some sort of understanding given the current area of responsibility that gun control falls under.
The problems caused by the improper association of gun control with the federal (central) authority has caused other issues as well as each ‘side’ of the political spectrum tries to drum up support with this or that fabrication around gun control, especially in Canada. In Canada there is false ‘East’ vs. ‘West’ conflict propagated by the central politicians who want us to believe that Eastern Canadians want a total ban on guns while Western Canadians want unrestricted weapons ownership. Two completely opposite ends of the spectrum but the entire ‘conflict’ is a red herring and in no way actually represents the desires of the people in those regions. A quick study of the situation tells me that the lines of the debate are not drawn ‘East’ vs. ‘West’ at all but rather Urban vs. Rural lifestyle. In the USA, each and every tragedy is thrown into a very bright spotlight and used as political fodder for whatever politician is currently looking for a soap box to stand on, dragging victim’s families along for the horrible ride every step of the way and, in either country, it is the people and their wishes and concerns that are ignored while these centralized actors playing the roles of politicians sing some irrelevant song and dance while trying to get support for their specific position.
Then there is corporate influence, you know, those guys that make and sell guns? They certainly don’t want further restrictions on what they wish to sell and would probably like even less restrictions regardless on social impact and yet these guys have lobby groups in the USA (to a lesser extent here in Canada too) that specifically try to sway the political opinion in their favor. These groups, including the NRA, are not representative of the people and should not be given a very loud voice in this debate and yet theirs is the loudest voice of all.
So, currently, we have an issue about gun control that needs to be sorted out yet we are beset on all sides by those with conflicting personal or corporate interests and who do not represent the people of our nations.
Do you consider it reasonable for cities to determine their own gun laws?
So what should gun control look like?
First thing to sort out, even before the lobby groups and politicians can be addressed is; What level of government should be responsible for gun control? To me the answer should be based on the current major division between the pros and the cons in this debate – that being rural vs. urban populations. Both have very good reasons for their respective positions, both should be listened to and both are at polar opposites of the gun debate spectrum. So how do we bridge this gap, after all, we are all one nation (or two I guess seeing as though I am trying to reach both countries), rural or city folk and it is beholding on us to come up with something acceptable for everyone. Having said that, I do not feel it is possible for the entire population to come together over this issue nor should we expect that to happen.
So what then? Personally, I think that gun control should be removed from the scope of the central authority altogether. This would immediately render groups such as the NRA and all the other various lobby groups in both Canada and the US obsolete almost overnight. It would also remove the abhorrent use of tragedies to foster a specific political agenda, regardless of what that is.
Then whose responsibility is it? That depends on one thing…where you live. I mean that in the most basic of ways. If you live in a city then the mayor and city council should be responsible for gun control within that city and should have the freedom to set whatever limits that the people living in that city demand. If you live rural then the state\provincial government should be the determining body of what a legal weapon is or is not. This way the people can take a more active voice in determining the limits of gun control and the federal government can be relieved of coming up with a ‘one size fits all’ solution that is acceptable to the entire country (which seems almost completely impossible for them to do anyways given the regional differences we have in both countries). In order to avoid the chaos caused by widely different gun laws there are a couple of things that need to be done. First, the federal authority needs to make a statement saying that the constitution (or bill of rights here in Canada) needs to be upheld and respected. Second, a general rule (or law) that prohibits cities from legalizing any gun that they state\provincial authority has already banned. Cities can certainly make illegal any gun at all.
Rural people should not be under the same constraints as city folk when it comes to weapons possession and ownership. Rural people face a number of challenges that city folk will never face. One is police response times, in a North American city, this is relatively quick, usually within 5 minutes or less, sometimes way less. In a rural community that response time can go as high as 45 minutes to an hour. Are you supposed to provide entertainment for that period of time when you are facing a home invasion scenario? Perhaps put on some coffee? Not to mention the non-human problems, like coyotes, that rural people have to deal with. It is easy to say ‘ban all guns’ for city folk, they don’t even need them to begin with what with rapid police response times and solid and tested infrastructure providing them with all the services they need. Rural people definitely need at least long guns. I cannot personally come up with a justification for owning pistols of any kind regardless on where you live nor can I easily justify the ownership of automatic weapons as these are relatively useless for things like hunting and I do not believe that any weapon should be purchased by a civilian when that weapon’s sole purpose is to kill other people. Long guns can be used for hunting as well as defending your home and so is also a useful tool for feeding your family as well as a weapon for defending them.
This is really the only way to get proper gun control that is suitable to all the people everywhere. The federal authority will never be able to come up with a solution and that should not really surprise any of us, after all, we are all well aware that within our nations there are regions and sometimes those regions do not always see things the same way. We need to reflect this and respect it in our laws and how we manage our societies.
Has the 2nd Amendment been hijacked by Gun nuts?
A note on the 2nd Amendment
I actually support the right to bear arms in principal but understand that a modern society with big, modern and heavily populated cities needs to apply some logical restraint to this policy. First thing, nothing in this amendment specifies the right to actually own a gun…it states you have the ‘right to bear arms’ - which means you can possess a ‘weapon’. Anything can be a weapon. I own a long sword and as such have satisfied the second amendment. There is nothing to say specifically that this amendment means you can own an assault rifle either – never mind a .50 cal sniper rifle. In fact, nowhere does this amendment actually specify any specific type of weapon being made available to the public at large.
So then does anybody think it reasonable or logical to allow the wide spread distribution of military grade firearms to anybody and everybody? Not me that’s for sure and I am definitely a ‘do it yourself’ kinda guy that does not like government interference nor do I appreciate petty laws and an overabundance of regulations yet I do not support the widespread distribution of military grade weapons to even our civilian police forces let alone individual people who have absolutely no training in the proper care and use of said weapons. Never mind that the entire 2nd amendment is misrepresented to justify the personal ownership by individuals of military grade hardware.
This type of hardware is all over the middle east but it’s presence does not stop dictators nor does it slow down repression, etc. In fact, the presence of military grade hardware in places like the middle east has only made things worse not better. In Iraq every person and household had the right to possess one firearm for personal protection. Even the occupying American forces acknowledged this and this policy was in place long before America even invaded but did it help the Iraqis any? Did it deter Saddam? No. Did it deter an American invasion? No. What makes you think personal ownership of firearms in any way deters a nation from a planned invasion of your territory or, in fact, even deters a dictator from using repressive tactics? It has never been this way anywhere else this policy was adopted.
So, while I support the second amendment I only do it in principal and refrain from supporting those who use this amendment to propagate their own personal agendas when it comes to firearms ownership.
© 2015 Robin Olsen