One of the hottest issues since, well forever, has been the issue with gun control. A divisive issue to say the least and one that has the country up in arms, literally. With the plethora of school shootings, misfires by police officers, and the nation screaming bloody murder, the issue, once again, is all up in our proverbial faces. So, the NSB team has decided to start our first round table discussion on this very issue and the honor of moderating the dialogue has fallen into my lap. Our discussion will take the format of a simple Q & A with our talented writers answering a few questions that will hopefully give you, our netside audience, a picture of the landscape so to speak. So without further delay…
First, we’ll go around the horn so we can see where everyone stands. How do each of you feel about gun control in our nation today?
Paul G. Lee (PGL): The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution and should not be infringed upon by the government.
Jun Kim (JK): The Second Amendment guarantees American citizens the right to bear arms and any legislation that infringes upon that right is unconstitutional.
Brian M. Williams (BMW): The Constitution gives people the right to bear arms; however, in that same Amendment, a well-regulated militia is mentioned. We seem to have forgotten the “well-regulated” part entirely.
Do you think that there is a direct relationship between violent crime and the fact that citizens are guaranteed the right to carry guns in our nation?
PGL: The relationship between gun control and violent crimes seems very apparent to me. The most dangerous metropolises (Chicago and Washington D.C.) also have the most stringent gun control laws. I think gun control only handicaps law abiding citizens, and galvanizes criminals. But I also think that there is more of a relationship between mental illness and mass murder than any gun to violent crime statistic.
JK: If you’re going to include all violent crimes including crimes that don’t involve a gun, an FBI study showed that in 2012, the US had a violent crime rate of 403 people per 100,000. England has nearly double that, and they have stricter gun control laws.
BMW: I look to stats for these types of questions. We have more guns than anywhere else in the world, by a lot and have more gun deaths, by a lot. It doesn’t take a genius to put those two facts together. The other stat everyone needs to know is that owning a gun increases your chances of being killed by a gun. That’s right, if you’re worried about your safety, one of the best things you can do is get the gun out of your house.
PGL: The reality is that schools are no longer safe. But banning guns will not create a safer environment. No law is going to prevent people intent on carrying out crimes. Mass murders are often in areas where there is a high probability that no one will have weapons to fight back. And for all the grievances against law enforcement, when was the last time someone shot up a police station?
JK: I believe guns are a good deterrent to violent crime. Schools should be given the option of protecting their students by any means necessary, that way they don’t have to wait for police to arrive on the scene in the event of an attack. Food for thought: Most mass killers were dead by the time Police found the them.
BMW: There was an armed guard at Columbine. VA Tech has it’s own police department, and last year two NYC cops shot nine civilians while trying to shoot a gunman in the public place. Having armed people at school is the same thing as saying more guns equals more safety. Again, look at the stats. If guns equaled safety we would be the safest country on the plant, not the most dangerous.
What would you feel is an ideal end game for legislation? Outright ban? Situational restrictions? Unrestricted access?
PGL: Expanding background checks seems like a good first step. Harsher penalties for illegal gun trafficking may also help stem the illegal purchase of firearms. But America needs to realize that any amount of legislation, even an outright ban, will ultimately leave the citizens defenseless, and the criminals more powerful than ever. Any attempt to fleece the public of their right to bear arms should be seen as a threat to our liberty.
JK: I believe in situational restrictions, like background checks and restricting people with a violent criminal history from owning a gun. However, limiting the magazine cartridge rounds to an arbitrary number like 10 does little to slow down a would-be-murderer. A person who has experience with an AR-15 can swap to another cartridge in about three seconds. Hand guns take less time.
BMW: Expand background checks to include mental illness and domestic violence. An assault weapons ban. Why? It’s right there in the name. Magazine limits, the smaller the better. The aim of all this is to make it harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them, and to reduce the harm they can cause if they do get one. No law or regulation is perfect. They are designed to work on the margins and reduce crime by making it harder and/or more costly to commit. It has never been said their purpose is to eliminate crime. If that’s the requirement the NRA wants then we shouldn’t have any laws and especially not a War on Drugs.
Contributing Writers: Brian M. Williams, Paul G. Lee, & Jun Kim
Moderated By: Alex S. Pak