Gun control?

If you don’t live life in a deep dark hole and have some sort of moral compass, you have probably been thinking a lot about gun control lately. Rightly so. Not long ago, I asked a few questions to try to get some interesting discussion out of my friends (sadly, few replied — I wonder if that means I’m really just talking to myself here?), and now I’d like to have a new discussion. This time on solutions and what I honestly think will have a meaningful effect in society.

First, an apology to a my friends on Facebook. While no one said anything to me directly, I think I was indirectly accused of being a right wing, gun loving nut because of some of the pictures I shared. I assure you, I was not intending to give that view or be insensitive to the larger discussion society is beginning to have.

Before I go into the things I think we should do as a society, let me give the basis for my opinions:

  • The second amendment was NOT written to allow for self defense or hunting. Anyone who tries to tell me that an “assault rifle” isn’t necessary for hunting is either ignorant to the purpose of guns in our society or simply providing a strawman to provide a fear based reasoning. The 2nd Amendment was designed to keep the government in fear of the people and provide the populous the means to throw off their government should it cease to represent the people, their interests or the Constitution itself. Those who argue that the mentioning of a militia means the right to bear arms is kept by the government are still ignorant of the 2nd Amendment. At the writing of Constitution, the colonies had already formed a Continental Army under the control of a provisional government and if they had meant the army they would have said so. The amendment was written to allow private citizens to form and supply a private militia should one be required. I know its too much to ask, but I firmly believe that every discussion about gun rights and control MUST start with this understanding.
  • As a small aside… for those of you who think the Constitution is outdated and the 2nd Amendment no longer applies, the proper way to get rid of it is through the amendment process as we’ve done 17 times after the bill of rights. We should not simply choose to ignore our founding document which we’ve for 2 centuries held as the basis of our government’s power… if we allow anyone to simply ignore one part of the Constitution because its popular to do so today… just imagine the power we give to a government who stops caring about popular opinion.
  • As a matter of policy, most of the extreme crime that has made national news would not have been prevented by the former Assault Weapons Ban and in several cases the only law that might have prevented the crimes at all is a total ban on all weapons (or maybe semi-autos).
  • While we’re not really moving in the direction of a total ban, or even a ban on semi-autos, I think it important to note, at least for myself, that such bans (even if the government tried to go around and collect everyone’s guns) would at best only take the guns from people who are willing enough to give them up as to not hide them or otherwise make them unavailable for the government to take. In other words… we’ll likely only be taking the guns from the “good guys” therefore making an increase in gun violence after gun bans a self fulfilling prophecy.
  • I also think it is extremely important to note that across the country there are thousands of reports of crimes that were prevented or lessened by private citizens owning guns. Obviously, a very small minority of those incidents would have resulted in one or more persons’ deaths and I realize the number of lives actually saved is impossible to quantify, however, we must also recognize that placing absurdly strict gun laws into effect will reduce the number of incidents where a “good guy” used a gun to stop a “bad guy” and the number of deaths by violent crime will very likely go up.
  • As a concealed carry permit holder, I would like to point out that the number of gun deaths and violent crimes perpetrated by a licensed or permitted person is so low that it doesn’t even warrant a mention in the FBI violent crime reports despite the fact that the FBI does keep track of the permit status of criminals.
  • Finally, heavy and excessive gun controls have not caused overall violent crime to go down. For national examples we can look at Washington D.C., Chicago, and L.A. which saw and/or continue to see some of the highest crime rates and gun violence rates of anywhere in the world while the controls were/are in effect. For worldly examples we can look at Great Britain and Australia who saw spikes in gun violence after their laws were passed and have continued to see elevated violent crime rates ever since (I realize by comparison the U.S. has a dramatically higher rate of gun deaths than these countries as well, but it would take an entire dissertation to explain the differences between the U.S. and G.B./Aus and the answer isn’t simply gun control). For an extreme example, we can look at Mexico which I believe requires no explanation (and please don’t tell me that Mexico is different because it has drug cartels… the same cartels are operating just over our southern border and are slowly taking hold in many of our border cities).

I realize all of the above are things many of you have heard or read before. Some of you probably read them and can say “yeah but…” to every single one. [Because of these things, I’ve personally been accused of contributing to the deaths at the school in CT.] I’d love to hear counter points to everything above… just don’t give me emotional or accusatory drivel.

Now, for the reason I’m typing this morning. What would I do?

  • Close the background check loopholes: No one should be able to go to a gun show to avoid background checks and walk away with a small arsenal.
  • Create a national standard for background checking that includes proper criminal and mental health checks. Then, prevent any person who is not permitted in a state meeting these minimum requirements from carrying concealed or transporting a loaded weapon across state lines. The only purpose of this would be to provide incentive for every state to create a permitting process and would never actually prevent crime, but is a good step to making sure people have to go through proper checks to carry a weapon legally.
  • Safe storage requirements: If everyone in a home can legally own a weapon, then a locked door to the home is sufficient. However, if any person in a home can not legally own a weapon (i.e. felon, mentally ill, children under the age of 21, etc), then any and all firearms in the home should be required to be stored in a manner that prevents unlawful persons from gaining use of the firearms when the firearms are not in use by or in the possession of a person who can legally own said firearms. If the logistics are too hard for you or your family to handle… then you don’t get to have guns
  • Make gun laws for those who are legally permitted to carry concealed make sense. Remove all “gun free zones” from law for permit holders whose permits meet minimum standards for background checks and shooting proficiency. If we want to create a federal carry permit/license issued by the ATF for this purpose, bring it on, but lets stop creating public areas where people can not defend themselves from the guns the government can’t take away (even if they gave themselves the power to do so). [Note: a provision for allowing non-publicly accessible private land/facilities (i.e. a private residence or membership club) to post a no-guns sign would be acceptable, but limiting in a mall/theater/etc is just stupid.]

I do, very much, hope all my friends out there comment and contribute to this discussion. I know we’re not going to change anything ourselves, but it is most definitely worth it to share our thoughts and ideas.

Archangel / December 26, 2012 / Personal, Political


  1. Archangel - December 26, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    Hmm… It appears the gangs have come to G.B. as well…

    Not as safe as some would have you believe.

  2. Archangel - December 26, 2012 @ 1:38 pm


  3. March - December 26, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    Couple of things:
    I think it is correct to not compare other countries to ours. In keeping with that, how do the gun laws of NYC and DC do for crime? I’m more interested in the NYC stats than the DC stats.

    Also, of your 4 recommendations, I agree with the first 3. I can’t entirely agree with your 4th recommendation. I’m not naive to think that by having by having gun free zones means that no guns would be there, but reversing that also doesn’t seem to be intuitive to me in feeling “safer”.

    To be frank with you, even though you are one of my best friends and I trust your judgement with a gun more so than anyone else I know personally, the other night when you let me know you were carrying, I didn’t feel safer, I felt the slightest bit less safe in fact. Not sure why, but I wanted to share that.

  4. Archangel - December 26, 2012 @ 4:10 pm


    Crime in DC as of 2010 is roughly 3 times worse than NYC. Crime in DC is down 50% over the last 50 years, seeing the most significant gains ~2005, but seeing distinct declines almost every year since 2007 when the gun ban was lifted. I’m having trouble finding historic stats in a concise medium for NYC, but it seems there have been periodic fluctuations in crime with the overall trend going down, seeing a significant drop in crime rates immediately after passing the so called “stop and frisk” law (which violates the 4th Amendment).

    Of my 4 recommendations, the 4th is the most important. Of the nearly dozen mass shootings in the last 5 years, only 1 has been committed in an area that wasn’t posted as gun free or otherwise made gun free by statute (the Arizona shooting of Rep. Giffords was at a grocery store that was not posted). Every other shooting has happened in a legal gun-free zone. [Note: the recent mall shooting may also be an exception, I haven’t found a definitive answer.] Does that knowledge make you feel any less safe? How about this, the most common place for mass shootings over the last 2 decades have been schools… In 1994 we passed a law that makes it illegal for anyone who doesn’t have a permit to be within 1000 feet of school property with a firearm, loaded or unloaded. The law also makes it a felony to discharge a firearm within this gun free zone whether or not you have a permit. Clearly, this law has made schools safer? The perception of safety is an illusion and simply passing laws does not make anyone safer. If someone wants to do something illegal with a gun, laws telling them they can’t have a gun only prevents the people who don’t want to do something illegal from having a weapon with which to defend themselves. For instance, the theater in the Aurora, CO shooting wasn’t the closest to the shooter’s home… it was, however, the closest that explicitly prevented the carry of firearms (at least that is what has been reported — I didn’t map it myself).

    I’m not surprised that you feel less safe with me carrying a gun and I do appreciate you telling me so. A gun is a powerful and deadly tool and being in the presence of one that you don’t control is enough to make anyone nervous. It is the reason that I announce to anyone when I’m about to enter their home that I am carrying and give them the opportunity to tell me to leave it in the car. I don’t even think your feeling of being less safe is irrational. What I will say though… you don’t have the right to FEEL safe by what ever measure you deem fit at any an all times. You have the right to BE safe and nothing about me having a gun on my person makes you measurably less safe (it doesn’t, to the chagrin of many gun holders, make you measurably more safe either). Capability of dangerous acts does not imply likelihood — the inverse of this argument is what seems to be at the center of the current debate, sadly.

  5. Zeev - December 26, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Like I said on Facebook I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on gun control.

    I would like to make one point. Regarding the purpose of the second amendment you stated that it was designed for having the government keep in mind the fact that the populace is armed and can possibly overthrow them. That is indeed correct, and in my opinion was a well designed plan.

    However back in those days armies in the field were armed with very similar weapons (outside of cannons) than what people could have in their own home. A militia army while not having the training and discipline of regular troops could put up a good fight under the right circumstances. The army and police of today have such superior firepower and arsenal that having a populace armed with even fully automatic weapons would not pose any risk to the government armed forces as they have tanks, planes, guided missiles, and drones. An armed revolt against government forces has no chance of success in today’s USA unless it was with such overwhelming support as not not require the use of violence in the first place.

    I think that the 2nd amendment of today should not be argued with the militia clause but rather with the freedom of an individual that is properly licensed and in good mental health to carry a weapon that they could use in defense of themselves and others around them.

    I also think that the media does a great disservice to the debate by portraying these shootings as someone walking around spraying fully automatic fire. They argue for smaller magazine sizes without even thinking that all these recent shooting were committed with pistols with small clips and semiautomatic rifles. The gunmen simply carried extra clips with them.

    Also comparing crime rates between the United States and other countries is pointless, like you said because there are so many other factors for crime other than gun legality. I fully agree with your point 2 and 3, and I’m still thinking about point 4.

  6. March - December 26, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    That’s disappointingly interesting to find out that the law that violates the 4th amendment was attributed to the most significant decline in crime.

    Your point about the school shootings as part of the 4th recommendation is quite spot on. Laws that bans guns around schools are inherently flawed for exactly the reason you pointed out. I think I’ll reflect more before I make any further judgments on your 4th recommendation.
    I do want to point out with regard to the CO theater shooting, I highly doubt that the shooter went searching for the closest “gun free zone”. If I remember correctly, he was more about being the “terrifying joker” to the new batman movie, and a movie theater with a midnight showing of the batman movie would certainly make more sense to me than searching for the closest “gun free zone.”

    I agree with your feelings about the “feeling” of having a person carrying nearby. I’m glad we have an understanding.

    I especially agree with Zeev’s point about the purpose of the 2nd amendment. And Zeev, don’t forget about our nuclear arsenal as well 🙂 I do <3 nukes. I wholly agree with what you said about it.

  7. Archangel - December 26, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

    That’s a great point Zeev. I agree that if the full might of the American military were brought against its people, the fight would be short and horrifying. More importantly, the fight would be useless. Using the full force of the military would do a couple things: guarantee no American would support the government and probably convince a large amount of the military to defect. That aside, even with the power our military possesses, which is easier: forcing an armed population to submit to totalitarian rule or forcing an unarmed population to totalitarian rule. My handgun and larger caliber rifle may not penetrate an M1 Abrams or bring down an F-35, but I’d be willing to bet its enough to make the National Guard and local police weary of enforcing martial law.

  8. Archangel - December 26, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    I guess I didn’t do a good job explaining the reference about the Aurora shooter. The theater, as reported, wasn’t the closest to the guys apartment showing Batman at midnight, it was the closest that didn’t allow weapons showing at midnight. That could certainly been a coincidence, I don’t believe he left any writings or has made any comments about the reasoning behind his target. However, it wasn’t the easiest target of opportunity unless you take into account the fact this theater was (reportedly) the closest with a no carry sign. I’m certainly willing to accept that a crazy man was just crazy and ended up where he did, as long as you’re willing to accept that there is a chance he specifically targeted people who were significantly less likely to be able to defend themselves.


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