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Is it Really Gun Control?

Updated on August 15, 2013
Both clinging to what they love!
Both clinging to what they love! | Source

A Brief History of the National Rifle Association

The following is paraphrased from Wikipedia:

The National Rifle Association was chartered in New York in November 17, 1871. The Civil War had ended in 1865 and records from the Union Army had shown that it took at least 1,000 shots to hit a confederate soldier, because they were using the volley tactics that were designed for smooth bore muskets. General Burnside who was a Civil War general had said that his troops could not hit the broadside of a barn compared to the European technology on rifles that were available. Therefore, he formed the NRA to develop training tactics that were used by the Europeans. They then had a shooting match with the Europeans and they won using breech loading rifles built by Remington Arms and Sharps Rifles companies. New York Herald publicity established the obsolescence of muzzle-loading firearms, demonstrated the quality of breech-loading firearms, provided public support for military marksmanship training, and promoted the NRA to national prominence.

The NRA Today

Since then and because of the 2nd Amendment, the NRA has evolved into a political super power. It has wrapped itself around the 2nd Amendment since Reagan was President because he owned and loved firearms. In June of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled:

"The Second Amendment provides Americans a fundamental right to bear arms that cannot be violated by state and local governments."

The NRA today is a 501(c)(3,4) organization which means it operates as a tax exempt charity and participates in campaigns and is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington D.C. It has the same rights and privileges as a Super PAC and does not have to disclose the source of its donations.

To it's credit, the NRA has done a great job in teaching and promoting gun safety to the public and its members.

The Head of the NRA

With all the mass killings we have had and especially with Newtown, there are two schools of thought as to how to make our country safer. One is to take away guns and the other is to add more guns. This is what the head of the NRA, Wayne La Pierre said in response to the killing in Newtown.

"If it's crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," LaPierre said defiantly. "I think the American people think it's crazy not to do it. It's the one thing that would keep people safe."

LaPierre also strongly suggested that the NRA would fight any new measures that would limit gun purchases, calling them ineffective and denouncing the assault weapons ban as a "phony piece of legislation."

Source: Huffington Post

AR-15 with 100 Round High Capacity Magazine
AR-15 with 100 Round High Capacity Magazine | Source

Gun Control

When gun enthusiast hear the phrase gun control, it raises the hackles on their necks. I don't think we can have absolute gun control, but what we do need is to ban high capacity assault weapons from public access. Those weapons were designed for military use to do maximum damage to the enemy in the shortest amount of time. High capacity magazines make them weapons of mass destruction. I can understand how firing these machines can give one a thrill. I grew up with guns in my life and used to get the same kind of thrill when going hunting with my father. But these machines are not designed for hunting. How dead do you have to kill an animal? Yes gun enthusiast fire at targets and get a thrill from doing it. But there is a price we pay for those people getting that thrill.

There are those that feel they cannot trust law enforcement and the military to protect them. and will protect themselves against any invasion, even if it against our own government. Then there are those that trust the establishment to protect them.

The price we pay for having these guns available to the public is that some unstable people also have that same access. If that access is removed, it will lessen the probability of those that are unstable to getting that access.

AR 15 Modification to Near Automatic Weapon

The link below is to a video that shows how a perfectly legal modification to an single fire AR15 was converted to an extremely rapid fire and for all intents and purposes almost fully automatic weapon. It's quite sobering to watch.

Arguing Against the Ban

We are currently in a vicious cycle. When there is a mass killing, more people buy these weapons which also makes them more available to the unstable people. The gun enthusiast like to use the slippery slope argument. If you ban these weapons, then you have to ban knifes, forks cars, trains planes and anything else that can be used as a weapon, but that is a very weak argument. It is part of the "what if game" that takes control away from the person playing the game. The way they get control back is by being armed. The whole idea about protecting themselves from tyranny is a what if game on a slippery slope. It is completely based on fear. Another argument is that there are already so many guns owned by the public, it's too late to do anything about it. That also is a weak argument propagated by the NRA. It's never too late to do something that will curtail the use of these weapons. Another argument is that guns don't kill people do and those that do have been influenced by computer games, the media, and a moral depravity in our culture.

Arguing for the Ban

A ban on high capacity assault fire arms was passed in 1994. It had a sunset provision that stated it would expire in 10 years. The ban expired in September of 2004. The law explicitly specified those weapons that were classified as assault weapons and high capacity magazines. And gun manufactures were not to manufacture those specific items except for law enforcement use and military use. It raises the question as to why the sunset provision was placed on the law. If the law was valid for 10 years, why wouldn't it be just as valid today, if not more so with all the recent mass shooting we have had? The 2nd amendment was written for another time and another place, but it is still valid today.

The Second Amendment

Here is the 2nd amendment:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

It was ratified in 1791 to protect the people from another incursion of the British or their own newly formed government. That's why it states a "Well regulated militia." They were much like the Minutemen of the revolutionary war. That's why they wanted them to "keep and bear arms." Their state of the art weapon was a flintlock musket.

The 2nd amendment is a one of the 10 amendments that form our Bill of Rights. So therefore through the years it has been interpreted to mean many things to many different mentalities. You have the right to keep and bear arms, no matter what the circumstances are and if you are not given that right, then it is in violation of the constitution. These words have been used by many to promote the following:

  • Protect themselves against tyranny and any invasion of their well being.
  • Gun collectors
  • Hobby and sports
  • Hunting
  • Gangs mobs
  • Criminals


The jury is still out as to which way we are headed. As was stated earlier, the NRA has a very influential and powerful lobby group in Washington DC. In the final analysis will the NRA win out and make more guns available for everybody including the unstable people or will the people win out and will they ban assault weapons from the time the determination is made? If there are more mass shootings will it be easier to make the case for banning high capacity assault weapons or will be easier to make the case for adding more weapons and arming more people?

Here are some statistics from a Washington Post article by Fareed Zakaria:

  • The number of deaths by firearms in the United States was 32,000 last year. Around 11,000 were gun homicides.
  • England and Wales have about 50 gun homicides a year — 3 percent of our rate per 100,000 people.
  • The U.S. gun homicide rate is 30 times that of France or Australia, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and 12 times higher than the average for other developed countries.

In capitalism, there is an effect to a third party that is called Externality. It is a price a third party pays for something that was done without out them being a party to it. There are both positive and negative externalities. If your neighbor's house is painted and it causes an increase in the value of your property, that is a positive externality. If on the other hand there are many neighbors who houses are in disrepair and it lowers the value of your house that is a negative externality. The sale of high capacity assault weapons can be thought of in the same way. When there are mass killings, there are those who are involved who had nothing to do with the transactions of selling and buying those weapons, but those involved pay the price, some of them with their lives.

What do you think would make our country safer from mass killings?

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