Our Stupid Gun Debate

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In the wake of the latest mass shooting we will once again be forced into the lower bowels of our stupid gun debate. The sad thing is because of this debate we can’t begin fixing the problem. The reason why though is natural, it is a very hard problem to solve. The problem is we have far too many unstable people with guns and there is very little we are willing to do about it. The irony is we spend a disturbing amount of time enforcing our zero tolerance drug policies because they “lead” to violence in our streets, yet our gun system currently allows a company to mistakenly deliver a high powered military grade rifle in the mail.

People will quickly argue that things would be better if more people carried. I’m sorry but this recent school shooting would not have been prevented by more guns. Who was going to have the gun to stop this? Are we going to have teachers keep guns in their desk next to chalkboard erasers? Some will say that if everyone was armed it would be a natural deterrent. Again I’m sorry but no, Events like this are random tragedies that no one can predict, much less prevent with mutually assured destruction. If you start opening fire in an elementary school there are really only two possible end games, either you are looking to have someone else kill you because you’re too cowardly to do it yourself, or worse you’ve lost your damn mind and psychotically think this is a good idea. In either case there is no deterrent in the world that would work.

Now before I’m accused while I’m sure I’ll be accused of wanting to ban guns, due to my liberal philosophy, I’d like to say I like guns. I have friends who have guns and they have taken me out to the range and showed me how to use their guns.  I feel perfectly comfortable with almost everyone I know owning a gun. Some of them own guns for fun, some for work, and some for safety. Whatever the reason I understand why they want the ability to own a gun. But let’s flip this, imagine if we made all drugs legal, and made guns controlled like class 1 drugs. Would there still be guns on the street? Absolutely. There is no way that we will ever get rid of all the guns in society, and yes outlaws will still have guns. Yes, I understand the deep history our country has with guns. But you know what I don’t care. Drugs are largely self-destructive; firearms on the other had often lead to violence inflicted on others. Now here’s the thing, I’m largely against legalizing drugs. I am not sure if having a society in which drugs are widely and freely available is such a good thing, especially considering their addictive potential. At the same time I’d welcome decriminalizing possession. I’d welcome efforts to legalize it if it required heavy taxation, not just to make people cost conscious but to also provide for free treatment for those who need help.

I think the same should hold true for guns in this country. I’m not in favor of having guns all over the country, and potentially in the hands of clearly very unstable people. While a full ban on guns seems almost impossible and quite frankly stupid, there are other ways of addressing the problems of guns in society. How about this; how about making owning a gun more like owning a car? Right now if you have a car you have to have a license and insurance. Every year you have to have your car inspected to make sure it is safe to have on the road. Your insurance covers your liability if you get into an accident. Every year your insurance premium is determined by your risk group. If you have a car that is likely to get stolen you’re likely to pay a lot in premiums. There are things you can do to reduce your liability, like attending a defensive driving course. The same could be done for owning a gun. Make it mandatory to purchase insurance to purchase a gun. Make it mandatory to have your weapon inspected on a yearly basis by an independent organization. Make it optional to reduce your insurance requirements by attending gun safety courses on a routine basis, owning gun locks, maybe even routine psychological evaluations (again stressing the optional nature).

The thing is we have to move on this, we can’t just have one side saying ban guns, and the other side saying no gun bans. We will continue to have violence in the world; the recent shooters could have just as easily used a car to try to inflict tragedy. The fact is though they didn’t. They used guns. Outlaws will still probably be able to obtain guns, but the fact of the matter is most of the guns outlaws have were first purchased legally. The fact of the matter is we have a problem with guns in our society and we need to do something to address guns causing tragedies throughout this country.

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