Gun control, a debate. There’s a subject that elicits sensible reasoned commentary from around the world.
As I have finished the first draft of my book, I am in the ‘cooling off’ period, where I leave the manuscript in a drawer until I can view it with some perspective.
So, from writing every day, whether I wanted to or not, I have gone to not writing at all.
I found this quite difficult, so I have started a journal and made a promise to myself to update the blog a little more.
It is with some trepidation that I enter into the arena of debating gun control. My first sentence is intended to be ironic. Rarely have I seen so much vitriol thrown about as I regularly see when there has been a mass shooting in the USA. Each side is passionately, irrevocably convinced that the moral high ground is theirs and that anyone holding the opposite view should be…well, shot.
Let me first nail my colours to the mast.
To my own very great surprise, I love the United States of America. Before visiting it, I adopted a peculiarly British position of regarding the USA as a bit of an errant child. A little too full of vim and vigour, but essentially too crass and stupid to do any real harm. Then I went there. Not everywhere, but Minnesota, Denver, Dallas, and California. I went mostly for business, but did manage to squeeze in a little golf too.
What a revelation! I found the people to be kind, generous and welcoming. I was intoxicated by the positive energy that seemed to course through the cities and towns. I loved it.
I own a gun. A shotgun. A Beretta Sportster, if you must know. I use it to shoot game birds and clay pigeons.
There. I love the USA and I have a gun. You are in the picture.
I am going to quote precisely zero statistics here. It is a curious thing, but both sides in the gun control debate have conclusively proved their case using statistics. Therefore, I can only conclude that statistics do not really move us forward.
Nor will I examine intensely the words and intentions of the Second amendment, as again, both sides conclusively prove their case using legal analysis.
In my opinion, it should be harder for people to get hold of guns. Whatever rationale is being used, I cannot reconcile in myself that any citizen has a legitimate need for a weapon that can bring down a passing aircraft or helicopter. Nor do I see that an assault rifle has a legitimate place under the Christmas tree.
I do not argue whether on has a right to these things, I simply believe that there is no need for them in the hands of an ordinary citizen.
“Ban all guns” is, I believe unnecessary, unrealistic and bound to fail. Many people are too attached to them. Regardless of any statistics, some people believe that they are safer armed than they are unarmed. People do hunt. People do shoot recreationally. I am an advocate of a system that licenses gun ownership. I acknowledge that criminals or deranged people are unlikely to apply for a licence, but at least some of them might not have such easy access to weapons – perhaps one life might be saved. Who knows? Maybe lots of lives will be saved.
Securing all guns is another area where I think that there is room for agreement. I believe that responsible gun owners do not leave their weapon loaded next to their child’s toy box. Tragically, there are incidents where a child has picked up a gun and blown its sibling’s head off. Some rules around this probably wouldn’t hurt.
The aim of gun control should not be to infringe on anyone’s rights, nor should it intended to make people feel less safe and secure – precisely the opposite in fact. It should be a national initiative, the idea of different rules in different states is quite obviously utter nonsense.
The United States of America is full of some very smart people, I am confident that those people will work it out.