BRUCE EVANS: Gun control in America — red herrings & deceptive rhetoric | Local-Perspectives | Opinion
BRUCE EVANS • Guest opinion
Bruce Evans was born, raised, and educated in Atlantic Canada – Newfoundland, Labrador, and Nova Scotia. After a Dal MBA, he had a career in project finance in multiple cities – Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, New York and LA – with various international (Canadian, Japanese, French and Australian) financial actors. Happy retired in Arizona, he’s volunteering, walking a dog named Charli, and working to bring a golf handicap south.
It is impossible to have an intelligent and informed debate without agreeing on the definitions of the material terms. And debates are pointless unless both parties avoid hysteria, exaggeration, and falsehood.
The purpose of this column is less to discuss the specifics of gun control in America, but rather to define substantive terms and detail the key elements affecting this issue.
Let us begin with the second amendment to the United States Constitution: “A well-regulated militia, necessary for the security of a free state, must not violate the right of the people to keep and bear arms. ”
Please do not make the argument that the right to bear arms depends on membership in a militia. The second amendment has been discussed in the US Supreme Court at least five times since 1875. Two of the most recent rulings, District of Columbia v Heller (2008) and McDonald v City of Chicago (2010) both found that the clauses of the change should be disjunctive and militia membership is not a precedent for the right of individuals to To carry weapons.
People tend to get very excited and emotional about “weapons of attack”. A rock or can of peaches can be an attack weapon when thrown at an opponent’s head.
But hey, what about the nasty AR-15 design? After all, AR stands for “assault rifle”! No We are sorry. In the late 1950s, a weapons company, ArmaLite, designed the AR model rifle, taking the designation from the first two letters of the company name. Colt became the largest manufacturer of AR-style rifles in 1963.
They may look like fully automatic M-4 or M-16 (700 to 950 rounds per minute) military carbines, but that’s where the similarities end. ARs are semi-automatic – meaning one trigger equals one shot, just like your Uncle Fred’s Moose Hunting Rifle 30-06.
Most models use ammunition that is only slightly larger than the .22 caliber varmint cannon that you keep out of the cabin. The operation or design of an AR is not inherent in making it more dangerous than other firearms. Automatic weapons – with one trigger equivalent to several shots until the ammunition is exhausted – have been illegal for private individuals since 1934. A very good example of sensible arms legislation. It was about what the gun did, not what it looked.
There is also an argument that gun-free zones are inherently safer than zones where people can personally carry firearms. Not so. Boulder, Colorado is arguably one of the most anti-gun jurisdictions in the United States, with a list of laws and prohibitions to prove it. If I am a person with murderous intent, am I more likely to vent my anger in a gun-free zone or in a place where there is a high likelihood of private individuals being armed? Take your time answering.
Are Firearms Bad?
There is no evil in a firearm. It’s a tool. Nothing more. Not less. The person holding it can be the placeholder.
I own a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. I don’t own it because I want to kill people. It’s a well designed and well built machine. The weight is kind of satisfying. There is the aspect of skill to fire it accurately and safely in a controlled environment. And yes, when absolutely necessary, it is an effective tool of self-defense.
I am a member of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association. I can vouch for 99.99 percent of gun owners being mature, responsible people. At the shooting range or in a seminar on the use of firearms, three things are emphasized: Safety. Safety. And security.
Many of the new gun laws being proposed in America would only have a negative impact on the law abiding people. Is a felon or gang banger deterred by stricter background checks or magazine capacity restrictions? Sure he is.
What about the argument that you don’t need a gun because the police have guns and can protect you? That is partly true. I have a lot of respect for law enforcement. They will literally lay down their lives for us.
However, different studies of average 911 call response times in non-rural areas of the United States vary between 10 and 18 minutes. The average response time for a 9mm pistol is 1,100 feet per second. No gun owner I know is the cowboy breed and would prefer to wait for the police to arrive than shoot an intruder at 3am. But it’s nice to have options.
At my Arizona grocery store, where any number of customers legally carry hidden firearms, a boulder’s carnage would likely have improved, if not avoided entirely.
No sane person can fail to be appalled by mass shootings. Of course. But it is precisely this emotionality that makes a rational argument in the second amendment difficult.
Much of the nibble of American politicians and anti-gun fanatics on the fringes of the problem avoids dealing with tougher problems – mental health is a particularly highly charged third rail. It is much easier to deprive law-abiding citizens of rights than to tackle much more complicated problems. Banning so-called offensive weapons is a simpler and lazy solution than trying to do something specific about mental illness and its links to violence.
Amendment of the Constitution
When we talk about trouble and laziness, let’s discuss how Americans can get rid of the second amendment entirely if they want to.
There are two alternatives. Have Congress repeal the second amendment with a two-thirds vote in each chamber. Then let 38 of the 50 states ratify this measure, usually with a statutory period, usually five years.
Alternatively, all 50 states can meet on their own with no previous legislation, and if 38 vote in favor, the change can be repealed or changed.
A heavy lift to be sure. How it should be when it comes to the Bill of Rights. Would anyone want their right to freedom of expression, religion, or fair trial to be easily changed or even eliminated? I did not think.
We can debate whether there is a greater propensity for violence in the US than anywhere else. We can discuss laws governing the physical properties of firearms. We can discuss anything we want. But let’s do it without hysteria and misinformation. And respecting the rights of those responsible on both sides of the argument.