Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another Gun Control Debate

by Stacy Dittrich

It seems like every time we have a national tragedy involving guns, gun control advocates get their knickers in a bunch. After the Arizona murders, a heated debate over gun control has, again, ensued. Do we need stricter gun laws, or should people have the right to defend themselves? First, it truly amazes me the misinformation out there on the murderer, Jared Loughner’s, weapon of choice—a Glock 19 9mm; a semi-automatic handgun. The number of news organizations that referred to this as an automatic weapon was astonishing. Even celebrity gossip site TMZ proved they should stick to Lindsay or Britney meltdown coverage when they posted a ridiculous survey asking if people think automatic weapons should be banned. Pay attention, Harvey!

Automatic weapons are already illegal, except for those who obtain a Class 3 Federal Permit. Good luck with that.

It may surprise many people that over the past decade as gun restriction laws have eased, gun murders have lowered. Why is that? It’s my opinion that the people who arm themselves make the criminals hesitate more before acting. “Hmm, should I rob that dude or not? He could have a gun.” Here’s another argument. People think that if guns are banned totally, then the number of violent crimes will go down. Not so. With a few exceptions, i.e. Jared Loughner, the law-abiding citizens who carry guns are not the ones out there committing the crimes. It’s the criminals who can’t legally purchase guns anyway, so what difference does it make? The criminals obtain their weapons by a secondary method or theft. All a ban will do is expand the black market gun trade for the criminals. At least give people a chance to defend themselves. I saw an interesting comment on a site that perfectly summed up a gun ban. It read, “In Mexico guns are illegal. How’s that workin’ out for them?” Those poor people down there who aren’t allowed to carry guns to defend themselves don’t stand a chance.

Another aspect is the “Guns kill people” versus “No, people kill people" argument. I’m siding with the latter. Last year in the United States, 9,369 people were murdered in gun-related violence. Those of you screaming, “See! That’s why we should ban guns!” hang on a minute. Last year in the U.S., nearly 18,000 people died in DUI-related car accidents. Do cars kill people, too? Should we ban them? There were also approximately 801 people murdered by someone’s hands/feet. And, yes, they honestly have a statistic for that. I think we should ban those too so we can all roll around as torsos. I would love to hear your comments on what could possibly be the difference.

In 2009, the FBI reported that 215 people were killed in what they title “justifiable homicide." The FBI defines this as an average citizen who kills a felon in self defense during the commission of a crime. I look at this differently, as in 215 criminals out of our hair (good riddance) and 215 lives saved—the shooters’ lives.

On the heels of the Arizona shootings (when I say heels, I mean that the shooting victims were barely through the hospital doors), New York Rep. Peter King introduced the most asinine piece of legislation I have ever seen. He wanted to make it illegal for anyone to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress. Unless Congress members walk around with a billboard on their heads that says, “I’m a Congress member!” I don’t know how you could differentiate a lawmaker from an average citizen. Not to mention, 1,000 feet stretches pretty far. I don’t know many Congress members’ names in my area, but the ones I do know, I don’t have a clue what they look like. Let’s say a citizen legally carrying a firearm walks into a gas station, not knowing that a Congress member is around the corner giving a speech at the local elementary school. He can be arrested? Furthermore, does Mr. King truly think a deranged maniac, hell-bent on murder, is going to worry about violating a gun law?

The issue of gun control clearly isn’t going away anytime soon. We’ve had this argument for decades and will continue to do so. In the meantime, I think I’ve given you a few extras to think about. The solution to gun violence is for law enforcement to start cracking down on those carrying firearms illegally. This wouldn’t have helped in Jared Loughner’s case since his handgun was purchased legally, but, no matter what laws there are, there will always be a nut, like Loughner, flying under the radar. Stiffer penalties for those possessing firearms illegally must be a priority.

Just last week, New Jersey police officer Christopher Matlosz, 27, was literally executed in his police cruiser by loser thug Jahmell Crockam, 19. The local prosecutors had been preparing a warrant for a previous weapons violation against Crockam, but they clearly didn’t move fast enough. Obviously, Crockam didn’t have a gun permit.


Keli said...

I have to say 'bravo' to you for writing exactly what I am thinking and have been thinking for the past 35 years. I lived in a state where they tried to ban guns at least 35 years ago and I remember my father (who is a legal gun owner) saying "when they outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns". He had this printed on a bumper sticker for all to see. Thank you for posting on this subject.

Bluewaters said...

Nice points, Stacy. 80% of my friends, family here in US are for protection of the 2nd entirely. If it's "Gun reform" or "individual reform" something should be done regarding mentally ill and children getting guns. Do not like the term "gun control". Scares people. Found exploring some solutions has proved to be a fruitless waste of time and I now may be in favor of arming all citizens but with training. As I noted yesterday:

"An inert paranoia exists in such that if we were to begin focusing on the individual by making it harder for mentally ill people or children to get guns that eventually the gov't will take away our guns too."

Anonymous said...

Studies show that gun control laws do lower the suicide rate, by making guns not so easily available. An individual is 12 times more likely to have their own weapon used against them that to use it in self defense. Accidental death, suicide and homicide by gun are far more likely than self-defense by gun. I agree Rep. Peter King's legislation sounds lame brained. But do we really need semi-automatic weapons with multiple rounds in our neighborhoods and schools? What about some moderate gun control? Bluewaters, above, admits to paranoia. It's an irrational fear to assume the government will take away your weapons. Why not just curb the inappropriate use of guns with some sensible regulation?

Stacy Dittrich said...


I appreciate your thoughts regarding the suicide rate. Unfortunately, regardless of the "studies" you've read, gun control has literally nothing to do with suicide rates. It's the same as I've written in the article where I stated "Does King truly think that someone who is hell bent on murder will be worried about a gun law?" It's the same with suicides. If someone is hell bent on committing suicide--if a gun is available--they'll use that as their choice of weapon only bc it's quick. If there's no gun available, they'll resort to razors, hanging, prescription drugs, etc. Once someone has committed themselves to suicide, the method is secondary. This is why people who commit to suicide rarely leave a note or reach out to a hotline. They are committed. Period.

We already have "sensible regulations" regarding gun owners. As for having semi-automatic weapons in our neighborhoods and schools; those that have them, as I've stated in my article, that use those strictly for violence, have most likely obtained those weapons illegally in the first place. More restrictive gun laws wouldn't make a dent in this type of's the law abiding citizens that deserve the standing chance. As always, appreciate the healthy debate!!--Stacy Dittrich

Bluewaters said...

I have to disagree with those who assert suicide victims would likely use another method had they not had a gun. Had a close family member who choose gun as method either as an impulse or an easy way out. Not sure what other way he would have done it w/o attracting attention to some sort of plan. This person, my Dad, taught Gun Safety courses 40 yrs ago. Had he choosen a more elaborate way we might have noticed something. He had 3 pistols and 4 rifles in the house as he was an avid sportsman. He had some problems but we did not know it would come to this.