American Gun Control in 2018

Since I haven’t seen anyone able to get their shit together and make the case defending legislature – nor any advocates get their shit together and clearly state what exactly they’re asking for, here’s the lowdown on gun control.

The reason it seems like no one is doing anything about this is because no one knows what to do. There are strong federal (NICS) checks for every primary market gun sale, and secondary market loopholes account for only 2% of convicted gun crimes – none of which being high profile massacres.

Here’s an article detailing how legal weapons used in recent massacres were obtained.

The majority suggest not a failure of laws – but of systems, databases, and interagency communication. Systems need streamlining, and mistakes were made, but none of them seem to be the result of overly lax laws. There’s been a political meme about Trump lifting a rule preventing some disabilities from buying guns. This Vox article tries to set the record straight by holding that the rule in question would have “done nothing to prevent the Parkland shooting and would have set a dangerous precedent restricting the rights of people with disabilities without due process.”

One of the defining lines here is urban versus rural. Of course people living in densely populated apartment buildings don’t want to worry about their neighbors having guns. Of course people out in the country where the police take 25+ minutes to respond would like to have surer means of defending themselves. That’s why handling this federally doesn’t make sense.

Now I won’t make farfetched anecdotes about being in bear country (bear spray is more effective), nor a long-irrelevant tirade about protecting ourselves from a tyrannical government (if the U.S. Govt. is going to kill you, they’re going to kill you. Plus the police and military aren’t going to unjustly take up arms against U.S. citizens). And both sides pretend that there’s a possibility that we’ll ban guns and then go door to door collecting them from citizens. If you’re worried about this you’re paranoid, if you’re suggesting this, you’re stupid. Ironically, this is the first thing I imagine that would trigger people into justifying defending themselves against a tyrannical government, and the bloodshed would far outweigh the gun violence we see in America today.

Laws get murky and ineffectual when they concern themselves with loose categorizations such as “assault weapons”. There is nothing special about an AR-15 other than generally looking more militant. They’re high-powered and semi-automatic, but there isn’t much practicality, political or otherwise, in banning all high-powered semi automatic rifles. There are hundreds of millions of guns in the U.S. and there will always be ways to easily obtain them, no matter how much you restrict the legal marketplace.

So if that is where the argument has arrived at, then I’m going to go ahead and vote no, banning the sale of all semi automatics, be it of a certain caliber threshold – or banning them altogether, will probably not stop mass shootings. I may be wrong.

The problem we have is indeed a problem of culture and mental health, peppered by tragedies which are enabled by the prolificity of firearms in our country. As with most issues, neither side is particularly right or wrong, These issues are complex. It isn’t a question of morals, but of logistics and irregular loss functions. I don’t believe one side is less upset at dead kids than the other. We’re all frustrated because the other side seems so unreasonable, but they aren’t. This spreads to every issue. We react to what we perceive as wildly off base and out of touch, and we allow it to reinforce our own beliefs.

I may be wrong. Maybe it is as simple as giving up our ballistic toys. Maybe it is as simple as allowing a conversation about what’s pushing the less stoic of young white males to lash out so awfully. But this isn’t about being right or wrong, it’s about convincing all of you to get a goddamn grip. Breathe. Think wholesomely. Question your viewpoints. Consider Everything. Sure as shoot question the articles you read, the talk radio you listen to. Aimless wales and heated rants are about as useful as thoughts and prayers.

So what can be done? I don’t have many suggestions. Perhaps move centerfire semi-automatic rifle sales laws to be on par with restrictions on handguns (Higher age, longer wait to purchase). Perhaps enforce secure storage of guns. Perhaps punish failure to report stolen firearms on the first offense. Unfortunately, any of these restrictions on citizens that concern themselves with the law will have little affect on those who already don’t, which both eats away at our freedom and fixes nothing.


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