Monday, December 17, 2012

Some thoughts on firearms

I have some disjointed thoughts of my own on the subject of firearms. As a former gun owner who learned to shoot a .22 rifle at Boy Scout camp, I see the sporting attraction to guns. BUT, America is a violent country. Always has been. And this violence is magnified by firearms.

Firearms deaths are equal to auto accident deaths. But the majority are suicides, 19,000 annually. Second is homicide, about 11,000 annually. There are both accidental deaths of children with firearms, and homicides. I wonder how many of these are just someone who snapped in a difficult domestic moment.

There is no justification at all for assault weapons in the hands of civilians. None. There is some difficulty in the definition, but that is not the point. Those weapons exist merely to kill human beings, in quantity, as rapidly as possible. Purchase, manufacture, and importing of such weapons should be banned, and the purchase of ammunition for the ones in existence taxed to the highest degree. 

A significant number of home burglaries have firearms among the property stolen. It is impossible to know if firearms owners are targeted (how would the burglar know?) or if guns are valuable because they can be bought and sold illegally with some ease, and therefore are good to steal. One suspects that many stolen guns end up being used in crimes. 

ON the other hand, if someone broke into my home, threatened me or my loved ones with violence, I would have no issue with shooting them and sending them to the Great Beyond. And I have sufficient skills to do it. But I also keep a baseball bat in the bedroom, which also could be lethal. 

I have no problem with licensing, requiring safety classes, mandatory insurance, and other reasonable measures. I am NOT in favor of a total ban on personal firearms, and the American public would not stand for it anyway. But there must be reasonable ways to limit gun violence.

And no, arming everyone would not solve the problem, the fantasy beliefs of the open-carry crowd notwithstanding. That would just end up with more corpses.

But... we have to do SOMETHING!!! The souls of twenty dead babies cry out for it.