In Response to facebook 'Gun Control' PostsSubmitted by MrBibbins on Tue, 01/22/2013 - 21:42
This morning I got into an argument over gun control with a friend on facebook. Eventually I stopped arguing and just plastered this on my wall. Figure I might as well post it here too.
Let's look at what the constitution says: "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." Alright, so a well regulated Militia.
What is a militia? Via Merriam-Websters dictionary: "1 a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency b : a body of citizens organized for military service."
Okay, so when we read militia in our second amendment, it is not synonymous with army or marines, etc... Our founding documents never give support to the idea of a standing army (i.e. Our modern day practice) and in fact the majority of our founding fathers admonished such an idea.
Now let's look at Switzerland. In Switzerland they, by and large, do not have a standing army. No, instead they have a well regulated militia (sound familiar?). For every Swiss able bodied male aged 19-20, it is compulsory for him to attend boot camp and receive basic training. After their basic training, the conscripted may either continue their training and have a military 'career', or they may return to civilian life. The almost complete majority return to civilian life. Once they return to civilian life, it is mandatory for all trained Swiss militiamen to keep their issued Sig-550 Assault rifle in their home.
Alright, so the vast majority of households in Switzerland have at least one firearm and that firearm is an assault rifle (fully automatic). This means that there must be ridiculous amounts of violence in Switzerland, right? Well let's look at the homicide rate in Switzerland and compare it with countries that have very few guns and extremely strict gun control laws.
Homicides per 100,000 people in 2010,
Percentage by firearms: 6-7%
Percentage by firearms: 29.9%
Percentage by firearms: 11.5%
Percentage by firearms: 74%
Here we can see that the homicide by firearms rate is much, much higher in Switzerland than in countries that have much stricter access to guns. We can, however, also see that the overall homicide rate is quite noticeably lower in Switzerland than these other countries. Especially the UK which seems to be the go to country for people who like to say, "See, gun control really does work."
I for one agree with those people: gun control does work, but only to the extent that it keeps more guns off the street. However, as these numbers demonstrate, gun control and weapon restriction in and of itself does not effectively lower homicide rates and in these instances, does it not seem to have the opposite effect?
Now others say that if we ban assault weapons (and many different people have many different opinions on what an 'assault weapon' actually is), mass shootings would stop or at least be much more uncommon. Again, I agree: it would definitely be more difficult for someone to commit mass murder in a short amount of time. How much more difficult though, I cannot say and nobody really can.
Mass shootings in the same countries since 2000,
12 People killed
Double Barreled Shotgun and 22 Bolt Action Rifle
16 People killed - Pump Shotgun and 9mm Pistol
15 People killed - 9mm pistol
14 People killed - .357 Mag Revolver, Pump Shotgun, Semi-Auto Rifle, .380 Pistol, and a homemade bomb
Note that the shooting in the UK took place after the implementation of the strict gun control laws that people like Piers Morgan really love.
The point of this all is that bad people are always going to find a way to do bad things and crazy people will do crazy things no matter what the law says. Sure it may make it harder for these people to commit atrocities so easily if we enforced stricter gun control laws but, in the end, they will find a way.
What do we do then if gun control is not the answer? Surely we must do something. Well if we follow the constitution, common sense, and the advice of our founding fathers; we already have a very strong foundation for an answer to this question. If for some reason though we have an issue doing this because "the constitution is out of date and the founding fathers lived in a totally different time," then I suggest we follow the example of the Swiss. They seem to parallel the model of liberty and common sense that our forebears fought and died for much better than our modern day America.
What does this mean though? Well the answer is not something that can be passed by congress and signed by the office of the president today or tomorrow. No, it has to be a complete reversal of our culture of death.
What if we adopted a militia military doctrine instead of our current standing army one? What if we trained our citizenry to properly handle, store, and respect firearms? Would we not have a militia which is "necessary to the security of a free state?" Would also not the vast majority of firearms be in the hands of good, mentally sound, and well trained men and women? We would, of course, only train mentally sound Americans. If someone is not trained because they are mentally unstable, then naturally these men and women would not be qualified to handle or purchase weapons.
The only way any of this is possible though is if we Americans adopt a new view of ourselves which does not include the notion that we are to be policemen of the world. We need to take a view which sees that our military ought to only be used to defend the citizens of these United States.
There are, of course, other easier ways to deal with our violence issues (gun or otherwise), but I sincerely believe that the only long term and sensible solution to our issues is if we adopt this different viewpoint.