Guns Kill People, Too

The mindless mantra of the pro-gun activists that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” ignores the data from other countries that suggest that tighter gun control would make guns less readily available and therefore reduce somewhat the ability of many to pull a gun when anger and frustration raise their heads. But then, as the activists are quick to point out, if a person is determined to kill someone he can always find a weapon. This is true, but trite. A baseball bat in the hands of a madman like the one who walked into Sandy Hook School could readily be turned into a murder weapon. Probably so, but it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to kill 26 people with a baseball bat whereas it took only a few minutes for Adam Lanza to fire off enough bullets to kill those kids, their teachers, and himself.

An excellent letter from a gun owner who hunts and defends the right to bear arms puts the issue in perspective. As a father of young children he now advocates some sort of gun regulation. His letter was written in response to the terrible events in Newtown and he asks that we try somehow to approach the matter calmly and reasonably. Heaven knows calm and reason have not been present at the table in this discussion so far. But it is refreshing to read comments made by a man who argues for the right to bear arms while at the same time he realizes the time has come for tighter gun control. He says in part:

I have never felt that my sporting arms were threatened by those who were calling for tighter regulations on gun sales and ownership – particularly when directed at cheap handguns and guns whose value as sporting arms was marginal or specious.  The fear of a slippery slope leading from common sense gun regulation to the loss of hunting firearms is a fear that the NRA uses to sell its political agenda.  It is false.  A gun is a tool like a hammer but unlike other tools, guns are designed and optimized to deliver projectiles for the purpose of killing efficiently.  In the context of hunting, this efficiency is needed to ensure that an animal dies as quickly and humanely as possible.  However, this is also the reason why the “guns don’t kill people, people do…” line of reasoning rings hollow.  One can kill another person with a hammer or with a car but that is not what hammers and cars are designed to do.  Guns are a special case and we should start by acknowledging that.

I must say I am not optimistic about the possibility that this Congress will pass any meaningful gun control legislation — given the immense power the NRA wields in Washington and their tendency to jerk their collective knee every time some maniac shoots someone and reasonable people start talking about trying to take measures to stop the madness. In fact, as we attempt to figure out why these terrible shootings happen we might also try to figure out why this country is so in love with guns and why even the suggestion that we stop the sale of hand guns and automatic weapons (which are hardly the weapons of choice for hunters) is so upsetting to so many people.  But perhaps the world-wide reaction to the atrocity in Newtown will finally result in sane heads taking command. One can always hope because this madness has to stop.

However, tighter gun control is clearly not the entire answer. We need to probe more deeply into causes, as I suggested in a recent blog. But it is a step in the right direction, and it is one we should have taken long before Adam Lanza stepped into that school-house in Newtown and started shooting young children.

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10 thoughts on “Guns Kill People, Too

  1. I think you know how I feel about this. I hope Congress and the states finally do something, but I am not overly optimistic that they will. It looks like our Governor Hickenlooper is taking a bit of a lead on this and I am proud of him for that!! Great post, Hugh.

  2. Excellent post. In this nation of rampant gun availability, we also have the highest murder rate and highest count of death by guns in the world. Why doesn’t the NRA spread that word? Truth in advertising?

  3. Well-said Hugh. It was good to see the perspective of the hunter, too. Gun-control advocates are not talking about taking away the freedom to hunt, or even defend one’s self in his home (although statistics say whether that works or not is pretty dubious), but there is no reason for assault weapons that can wipe out dozens of lives in a matter of moments. Common-sense gun laws, including assault weapons bans and tightening of sales at gun shows and over the Internet, do work. After the Scotland school shooting in 1996, Great Britain imposed a strict assault weapons policy. How many mass school shootings in Great Britain since 1996? Zero.

  4. Wow’ this puts it all in perspective: “One can kill another person with a hammer or with a car but that is not what hammers and cars are designed to do. Guns are a special case and we should start by acknowledging that.”

    thanks, hugh, for keeping me informed!
    z

    • If you read the entire article referred to in the blog you will be pleased to know that there are a few people (at least) who can still think clearly about a very muddy issue! It’s very well done.

      ________________________________

      • with so many friends and family ‘back home’ who hunt, i am already bracing for their feedback when i see them. it takes a very evolved and grounded person to approach that subject with a clear head. i agree and appreciate all that you do to point others to responsible and clear writing!
        z

  5. Great post Hugh. i like the letter from the gun owner. There was similar letter from a NRA member with some suggestions in my paper today. I will share it later in the week. Maybe something will happen. Some investors are pulling money from gun makers, so that is the ultimate voting with your feet. Many thanks, BTG

  6. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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