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The middle on guns

Updated on May 9, 2013

Much like any other argument today we are seeing the two sides (right & left) fight it out with little to nothing being done. As in anything I write this is IMPO.Part of this is based on the public face of the topic and not individuals. What each other group says about each other and what they say about themselves.

On the right you have a group that sees a personnel freedom they hold dear being assaulted by people who want to tell them how to live. This is despite the fact many of these are the same who want to ban gay marriage, enforce blue laws, and essentially tell you how to live.

1. To many a gun is a tool for something else such as home protection or hunting. To these people the concept of gun violence is idiotic. “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

2. Then you have the gun lobbyists who are paid by the manufacturers who see their business being made illegal. This leads to the false assumption that all members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) are against any regulation.


3. The third are the people who are afraid that one law will eventually lead to a total ban on personnel freedom. This has precedent. When Ohio voted on a state wide smoking ban in public the population was told that private clubs (VFW) could still allow smoking. Shortly after the vote passed the group that pushed for the bill went to court and had any exemption ruled as unconstitutional (state constitution).


On the left you have people who see what is around them and think that society is being torn apart my violence and indifference and think that we can do better. The irony in this is that many of these are the same people who will fight against any personnel abridgment against their rights. Now many of this group also own a gun and think that this is a fight to limit the type of gun we can own. “Do you really need an assault rifle to hunt unarmed ducks?”


1. To many people guns are as big a problem as cancer. They would say that like anything else if you have a gun you will try and find a use for it. This group will point out how many people could have been saved if their shooter did not have access to a gun. It asserts the notion that by possessing the gun brought about the action and not another possibility. These are the people you can’t argue with because if you want a gun then you are not intelligent enough to make a decision.

2. Like with the right you have the people who think that we can have limited reasonable gun control. I know many hunters who don’t see a need for an AK-47 to hunt deer and ducks. One man (an NRA member and a hunter) said “the AK is a poor gun to take hunting because of the weight and control.”

3. Then there are the people who see our culture (movies, books, video games, etc) as being too violent. This “Gun Culture” has helped spawn a wave of apathetic violence a sort of disconnect between the act and the result. This also tends to bring about the argument that only people who where involved in an act of violence involving a gun should have an opinion on gun control. Or the “how could you defend gun ownership after the school shooting” argument as if one was connected to the other.

We can argue over words and meanings but most of that side of the argument is window dressing. Propaganda meant position one side as being right. A rifle becomes an assault weapon or a weapons ban becomes a ban on guns. One provides an image of a violent action while the other sets the concept of outright prohibition.

Our history has shown us that prohibition does not work and more over creates new problems. Banning alcohol helped fuel organized crime. Banning drugs just put the people who are addicted into jail instead a program designed to help. This also fueled violence both in homes and on the streets. A whole culture had developed around the mythology of the drug dealer and the power of using a gun.

Now this is not to say that we can’t have laws to protect the public. We ban texting while driving as well as driving while drunk, but texting or drinking are not illegal. The concept that “when guns are illegal then only criminals will have guns” is small thinking. Without a constitutional amendment voiding out the second amendment or a Supreme Court that is willing to reinterpret the second amendment to say it means the state has a right to a militia any outright ban on fire arms will be ruled unconstitutional. This is not to say that the argument has not been made that the wording on the second amendment really means that we should allow only those who belong to a militia (National Guard) to own a gun. Any fan of The West Wing has watched this argument. History has also shown us that opinions change with the time. Today capital punishment is constitutional but in the past it wasn’t. How our descendants interpret the constitution is up to them. The way we see it today is different from our ancestors. The constitution is a living document changing as we change.

One definition of society is the boundaries in which any group of people decides to live by. This means that without boundaries we would have no society. In this context most aspects of society will require some sort of limit. We all have laws that we agree with and we don’t. History also shows us we can have limits without elimination.

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    • mike102771 profile image
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      Michael Collins 4 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

      I agree with you on the high capacity clips (unless we are going to war with the deer). My father’s last shotgun was semi auto because the action on the pump shotgun was too hard on his arthritis. And according to a hunter I know when shooting a rabbit rifle (at rabbits) having the 22 as a semi helps keep your aim on target. I wonder if you are thinking of what is currently known as "assault rifles" when you think of semi-auto.

      Do you know that a person who owns a handgun is more likely to be killed by their own gun? This includes suicide (aka while cleaning the gun), domestic violence and actual accidents. That also includes the stupidity factor. I know of a story where a family member shot himself by tossing his shotgun into the bed of his truck stock first. Most people killed with a gun are killed up close. The long-gun (rifle) shooter is rarer than many think. The Chardon High school shooting was up close.

    • cmccarty6687 profile image

      Cortney McCarty 4 years ago from Kentucky

      I totally agree with there needing to be better mental health care in this country both related to addiction and other mental health problems. That last paragraph you wrote was spot on.

      I just get upset by the fact people are defending the right to have the semi automatic weapons and high capacity ammunition clips by saying "they are fun" or "I need them to participate in this shooting game." To me those are not valid reasons when so many people are getting mowed down with them and there is no other good reason to own them.

      Handguns are a problem but the chances of people surviving or escaping a handgun are much better than those from these other types of weapons. If we are going to keep guns in America we have to give people a chance, even though that seems crazy.

    • mike102771 profile image
      Author

      Michael Collins 4 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

      As you say bad guys will still use them anyway. Even with the new law there will be many semi-automatic guns available. Making drugs illegal did not end drug addiction. Most of the guns being banned are not any good for hunting (from what I have been told I don’t hunt outside my grocery store). In fact if you want to eliminate or regulate the gun most used in such actions you will need to put restrictions on handguns like a registration…… oh wait.

      It could be argued that something needs to be done about the mental health problem in America. But it is easier to blame the gun instead of the user. It’s an issue someone can campaign on. I would think that something also needs to be done about the alcohol/ drug problems and maybe the connection with violence. When you deal with a person with an addiction you deal with the physical and emotional issues that lead them to the problem.

    • cmccarty6687 profile image

      Cortney McCarty 4 years ago from Kentucky

      You have to be very naive and in deep denial to not see that guns are a problem in our country. I am not saying that the other things you posted are not, I am a health educator I know the effects of tobacco and alcohol with personal experiences with both. However, something has to be done with the gun problem in America. We have a lot of initiatives out there fighting for revisions in policies pertaining to alcohol and tobacco but when you start talking about restrictions on peoples guns it's like you just threatened to cut off their right arm!

      No one has yet to give me a legitimate answer to why people need semi-automatic weapons and high capacity ammunition clips. Fun, hunting, protection, none of those cut it for me when I see the faces and every week see another shooting involving weapons of this sort that truly have no legitimate purpose in our society except to hurt others. I don't want to take your shotguns or your handguns because I know these weapons have legitimate purposes.

      What I was trying to say above is this saying that a ban on these weapons won't work because bad guys will probably still get them is leading into an argument for a society with no laws at all because someone is going to break them.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Mike

      Took the words right out of my reply.

    • mike102771 profile image
      Author

      Michael Collins 4 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

      Drunk driving is illegal so why shouldn't guns be illegal.

      Shooting people is (for the most part) illegal. People do not choose to die from second hand smoke or a drunk driver either. To put it into my perspective it would be like outlawing cars because people die in accidents or when hit deliberately.

    • cmccarty6687 profile image

      Cortney McCarty 4 years ago from Kentucky

      There is a difference in death by gun and death by tobacco or alcohol. You do not choose to be shot by someone with a gun. You choose to smoke or drink. I know that drunk driving accidents fall under the alcohol death category. Drunk driving is illegal so why shouldn't guns be illegal. I already know your argument , people still drink and drive, so people will still have guns. This is the slippery slope often used in gun control arguments, and basically when this is your argument you are saying, why have laws at all because people are still going to break them. Let me make myself clear, I don't agree with a total gun ban but there are things that should be banned. But I also don't agree that guns are like tobacco and alcohol.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Mike

      I agree, and the answer is as simple as who do you blame.

    • mike102771 profile image
      Author

      Michael Collins 4 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

      I would say that the three are not responsible for any deaths. It is the people who smoke the cigarettes, fire the guns and drink the alcohol that are responsible. If someone hits you with a baseball bat do you blame the bat?

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Mike

      The issue of gun control or guns period is a red herring.

      Any argument that is made about gun control can be made about Alcohol and Tobacco.

      All three of them are responsible for deaths of innocent people, as well as the people that use them.

    • junkseller profile image

      junkseller 4 years ago from Michigan

      I can see what you are saying about prohibition, and honestly, I'm not that convinced that gun-bans are the way to go. Ultimately, what most gun-control advocates want is to restrict the flow of weapons down side tributaries by which weapons end up in the hands of people who shouldn't have them. This includes things like straw purchases, improper storage, some private sales, and theft. And so attacking the flow of weapons at the factory doesn't make as much sense to me as attacking them at the actual side tributaries. This might involve things like universal registrations, more stringent storage requirements, stricter penalties for improper transfer or storage, and perhaps even some sort of RFID technology or biometrics to make weapons useless via an improper transfer.

      This would leave the main stream of weapons untouched and would seemingly more directly engage the problem. Now I know that the idea of federal registration is a no-go with many on the pro-gun side, but I keep asking them why it would have to be a federal program and I never get an answer.

      It seems to me that bans are virtually unacceptable to one side, but doing nothing is completely unacceptable to the other, so that registration might be a reasonable middle ground. Pro-gun types seem to really dislike me though, so maybe I'm just totally wrong. At any rate, I appreciate the thoughtful conversation about this issue.

    • mike102771 profile image
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      Michael Collins 4 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

      They aren't fully prohibited, but they are highly restricted and it seems to work pretty well.

      I think the you may have answered the question, but I am talking extremes like if they had banned all guns instead of just placing heavy restrictions on the kind that turn dear into hamburger. It’s the concept of prohibition its self that fails no matter what the product. Now I am not saying that we should not prohibit anything. Even the first amendment does not give people the right to say or do anything (in the name of art). The old argument of yelling fire in a crowded theater or child porn places accountability on the user of that speech. Also some drugs and alcohol can be as time-consuming as any rifle or handgun.

      I am not sure who this quote is from, but I think it works here. Any ban on guns would not hurt the criminal because the criminal does not follow the law. It’s the average citizen who will lose a right because of someone else’s misuse. It would be like banning cars after someone uses one to drown her kids or plows into a school. Or if you criminalize guns then only criminal will have guns.

    • junkseller profile image

      junkseller 4 years ago from Michigan

      I think you have laid out the two sides pretty fairly, but I would argue with you about what you said regarding prohibition. Prohibition doesn't fail in all cases. Take automatic rifles as an example. They aren't fully prohibited, but they are highly restricted and it seems to work pretty well.

      There's a big difference between alcohol/drugs and firearms. Alcohol and drugs both require relatively simple materials and unsophisticated manufacturing. Hence, can be produced fairly easily by just about anyone, anywhere, at a reasonable price. Firearms are the opposite: sophisticated materials and advanced manufacturing. They can only really be made at factories so there are a very limited number of sources. Controlling the flow, thereby, only requires controlling a few sources. It's like damning a few rivers vs trying to stop the rain.

      Not saying that's what we should do, but I do think it would be possible.