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July 31, 2012 - John Stack
Let’s start with me saying I am not anti-gun. I believe in concealed carry (under certain conditions) and the right for law abiding citizens to own guns. My family has a long history of gun ownership for hunting, target practice, competitive trap shooting and the like. But the rhetoric after the Aurora shooting borders on the unbelievable.
The amount of misinformation on guns is astonishing. Much of it is just guesses that seem to become fact in the public realm. Others are incredibly twisted misrepresentations of the facts. One of the biggest delusions is that gun control (whatever that means) is not a deterrent. A favorite line is to say ‘most all guns used in the commission of a crime are illegal guns”. There’s a good chance you have either heard this, believed this or said it yourself. But its not true. Any actual statistical backed report puts the number of illegal guns used in a crime at 10% to a maximum of 25%. Most guns used in a crime are by people who have obtained their guns lawfully.
One of the arguments is to limit large capacity clips (NYS has a limit of 10 bullet capacity clips). I tend to agree with this one. The counter argument goes something like this: ‘The shooter in the Giffords affair had a number of 30 round clips. If he could only obtain a 10 round clip, he would have bought 6’. In the Aurora shooting, it is claimed the shooter had a 100 round clip. A gun right advocate said he would have had ten- 10 round clips if the 100 was illegal. Why is this accepted gospel. If a killer is firing off a semiautomatic with 100 rounds, when does he stop? At 100 rounds. With 10 rounds, when does he reload (giving victims opportunity to stop him)? After 10 rounds.
GOP Senator Ron Johnson even goes so far as to say high capacity clips are a constitutional right. He says ‘any limit on the size of a clip is limiting our freedom’. Really? Limiting our freedom? How far libertarian do you have to go to feel that way? A speed limit is a limit on freedom. Stop signs. Stop lights are freedom killers because we can’t just do as we choose. Not being able to set off fireworks in a closed theater is then akin to limiting freedom. If anything limiting guns is so limiting to freedom, why aren’t these legislators lobbying to have the ban on machine guns lifted? I hear that just banning a type of gun just means that criminals will get the gun on the black market. How many machine guns have been used in terrible crimes? Virtually none. Many gun rights groups claim that guns are used as a self-defense measure 40-100 times as often used in a crime. They point to a federal study that says guns are used in approximately 2-3 million self defense measures a year. They fail to mention that the report also ripped apart that report for poor controls. For instance, one woman claimed to use her gun 52 times in one year in self defense! Once every week! Plus, the report extrapolated a small sample size to the country as a whole. In the study, they found all of NINETEEN uses of guns in self defense, and extrapolated that by sample size. Plus, their claim of what self defense can be construed in many ways – it didn’t even take into account if the gun was used legally, if the gun was legal, if any crime was actually taking place, or if the person was actually in danger.
One measure pushed again is the assault weapons ban that expired a few years ago. While I can only see very few valid reasons to own an assault weapon (ie civilian versions of our AR-15 or the Russian AK-47 but semi-automatic), the ban would do probably nothing to help out gun violence problems. Why? Handguns are used almost exclusively in crimes, and the incidence of an assault weapon used in a crime is extremely low. It’s a feel good measure to make people think we are making them safer.
I also say the least competent argument is the one that says ‘if there was an armed person, or a whole lot of armed people at the Aurora theater/Giffords shooting’ we could have stopped this. Bull. I claim it would have only been worse. The GIffords shooting was in a place where gun laws are very pro-gun. People could have had guns there and didn’t. Plus, like Aurora, it was a crowded chaotic area. If you were nearby, in the crowd, what are the chances you would have killed the guy? Even trained police and marines miss – a lot. When its your turn to step up in a chaotic scene with your heart thumping people screaming, can you stop him with one shot? Probably not. Squeeze off 6 rounds. Oh, you just killed 6 innocent bystanders. Now there are other people with guns. Are you the killer or the savior. They start shooting at you, and you at them. Rather than 6 dead in the Giffords tragedy, 20 die. At Aurora, as the place was dark, and cramped, the shooter also threw in smoke bombs and was wearing armor. How many more would have been killed with a crazed vigilante firing randomly in the smoky dark crowd?
I believe in common sense gun laws. 10 round clips seem to be plenty for anyone to defend yourself. How about closing up some gun show loopholes? Why is it so bad to have to wait a day to pay $1200 bucks for a gun? Heck I research heart rate monitors for weeks before I plunk down just $100. Then I have to wait for it to come in the mail. I’m not for banning guns at all. I am though for common sense regulations for our ‘well regulated militia”.
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