Living on the border between the USA and Canada, and having grown up in England I’ve always been intrigued by the issue of gun control. As a child the English police were only ever armed when needed. The average member of the police force never carried a gun.
It was a huge cultural shock to me the first time that I visited North American and saw armed police just walking the streets.
When visiting Texas for a conference I could not get over the number of citizens that openly carried guns.
For the most part I agree, it’s not guns that kill but the people using the gun.
However, when a 13-year-old boy is not able to buy cigarettes, alcohol or a scratch card but can buy a gun there is something seriously wrong.
Teenage brains are notoriously immature. They simply can’t manage rational thought at times so equipping them with a gun simply makes no sense to me.
Raising the age at which somebody can buy a gun just makes sense to me. Personally, I’d raise it to 25 as a minimum.
Actually, I’m still not sure that civilians needs guns and I certainly don’t think that they need to be armed just going about their usual business.
I’m not against guns in general.
I was in Las Vegas recently and thoroughly enjoyed going to a gun club with my friends and using a variety of guns on a target range.
I’ve always been impressed with trick shooting as well.
My daughter is in army cadets and the cadets learn marksmanship.
However, these guns are used under strict settings, guidelines and management. Safety comes first.
My former step-father is a farmer. The farmhouse always had a loaded shot-gun in the corner of the kitchen. However, as kids we all knew it would be more than our life was worth to touch it without permission.
So I’m not adverse to the safe and appropriate use of guns for sport, or when they’re actually needed. I’m just not sure where the line is between them being needed and not.
I was a student in the North West of England when the IRA was active. One of my professors disappeared from teaching overnight. We found out later that she was an IRA activist and had been arrested and charged.
I was in Manchester in 1996 on Saturday the 15th June. I was just a decision away from being hurt in the bombing that day. I was one of those evacuated. My having a gun would have made no difference to the outcome. 75,000 people were evacuated (that’s the same as the population of the town that I currently live in) and 200 people were injured.
Others have said that if the Airlines allowed civilians to carry weapons that 911 would never have happened.
While 911 was absolutely awful I’m still not convinced that allowing civilians to carry guns on planes is a good idea.
What I keep coming back to is the fact that the USA has a firearms related death rate of 10.54 per 100,000 people as opposed to the 1.97 of Canada and 0.23 of the UK.
When you compare this to the rate of ownership of fire-arms by country this can’t be a co-incidence.
Only Iraq has a higher fire-arms homicide rate with Canada, which has gun control significantly lower and the UK, with its very strict gun control, only just making the chart.
So, yes while it is people who kill not guns per se. There is definitely a relationship between accessibility to guns and homicide by gun.
Isn’t that enough on its own to get people to rethink gun control?
Apparently the ‘Right to bear arms’ is seen as having a greater imperative. Ironically the second amendment of the US Constitution which gets quoted so freely in this regard does not give civilians the right to bear arms. But rather grants it to the “Militia”, the equivalent now being the National Guard.
The debate regarding the wording of the second amendment continues despite the fact the US Supreme Court has consistently upheld the argument that it does not grant rights to individuals to carry firearms.
Somehow this doesn’t seem to make a difference and many US citizens are militant about their rights to bear arms.
Therefore, as defined by Einstein’s definition of insanity the choice of the US to not raise the age at which you can legally acquire a gun to at least 25 makes their government, and US citizens, insane.
If a 13-year-old can’t buy alcohol, cigarettes or scratch lottery tickets because it’s felt that they don’t have the maturity to make good decisions about such things, how does it make sense for that same 13-year-old to be able to buy a gun?