December 9, 2015

Gun control: the wrong issue at the wrong time

Sam Smith

We should have learned from Prohibition and the war on drugs that banning doesn’t change culture. It can, in fact, encourage it. Consider that in the past six months, during which there has been growing pressure for gun control, the stock of Smith & Wesson has gone up over 40%. Gun sales generally have leaped.

The problem is that banning things is a lousy way to change a culture. Thus the war on drugs helped grow an illegal industry that some have estimated is the size of the legal pharmaceutical drug trade. It also, as Prohibition proved, has corrupted the system from the top to the bottom.

The Independent Voters Project notes:

What typically brings gun control to the forefront of our political dialogue is the reoccurring tragedy of a mass shooting. However, mass shootings receive a disproportionate amount of media attention considering how much they actually contribute to our national homicide rate.

According to Mass Shooting Tracker, in 2014, mass shooting incidents resulted in the deaths of 383 people—about 3% of total gun homicides for the year.

Though difficult to quantify due to inconsistent reporting, estimates of drug-related homicides reach as high as 50 percent of the total homicides in the United States.
Changing a culture is far more complicated that many want to accept. Working around and with drug addicts in a tough part of DC, I learned early how weak law was in changing habits.

Prohibition easily, for example, raises the social status of the banned items. Further, we live in a society that embraces violence as a foreign policy, encourages it in our films and on television, and whose media nearly totally ignores those who offer alternative approaches. When was the last time you saw a peace expert being interviewed on CNN?

To change a culture you have to work with it rather than just oppose it. A simple rule for gun control advocates is to limit your efforts to issues that have, for example, the support of hunters. Another would be to end the war on drugs.

And, as a practical matter, a good first step is not to make it a 2016 campaign issue. With the leading Democrat in a statistical tie with some of the most radical reactionaries since the South seceded, there is hardly any issue that the Democrats need less right now than gun control. If the Democrats continue to make it a major one, they will not only be working against themselves on gun control, but making it far easier for someone to win the White House whose other offenses may be grand enough to make even supporters of gun control wish they had taken a different approach.


Anonymous said...

Again Sam, who needs to own an assault rifle? Who needs to own assault rifles with extended clips? Recall Newtown? Remember the aerial shots of the empty triage area? Ever wonder why that was? The gruesome answer is a testimony the explosive efficiency of assault weapons employed at close range on human flesh. Those poor babies never had a player of survival---the resulting carnage such that seasoned first-responders were left emotionally traumatized.
Many of those deaths were preventable, they did not have to occur. The scenario now plays out regularly on a near daily basis. Gun owners do not have freedom to own whatever they want under the second amendment. What the Constitution guarantees are certain liberties, more correctly read privileges,
subject to regulation and oversight. The language is quite clear:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

In many states across the nation there exist virtually no enforceable gun laws. So long as this condition continues, the security of a free state remains a farce.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sam.

Anon 1:27 - since when is America about "need"?

Anonymous said...

Liberty is the sum of rights and exemptions possessed in common by the people of a community, state, etc. As firearms are owned by a minority of the population, something near 31%, it falls upon those gun owners to explain, and convince the remaining near 70% of society their reasons and justification for the continued privilege to exempt assault rifles from reasonable regulation. Absent any satisfactory and reasonable demonstration of necessity or need, the justification for the continued legalization of such weapons in non-existent.
In answer to your question, the United States has been about 'need' from its founding declarations of Liberty.
A question in return, since when is the pall of 30,000+ gun deaths every year acceptable for a civilized nation?

Anonymous said...

sandy hook newton is a bad example to site. a 130# disabled kid trucks in 140# of tactical gear like a navy seal, unzips steel reinforced doors and does unbelievable horrors with unbelievable accuracy and power with such small (albeit semi auto weapons) so the rest of us must now disarm so we can rely on gun free zones to keep real monsters (well trained skilled 200# radicals) from bringing in illegal weapons.

btw then all evidence is destroyed quickly to protect the sensibilities of family and society. much better to disappear victims than to let anyone mourn like a human being. how many of those parents were never allowed to see let alone touch their kids? and on. and on....

so which is it (regardless of whether or not gladio shooter attacks are or will become real or not) do you prefer to be attacked by a crazed killer well armed with ILLEGAL weapons or by a crazed killer well armed with LEGAL weapons.

at least in the latter there's a chance you (alright forget that option) or those around you might be well armed and well trained and provide some protection.

remember one of the first of these incidents decades ago where a ptsd victim climbed a bell tower and sniped an entire campus for hours? when swat got there and tactically moved through kill zones to take out the shooter, they found civilians well armed and already in process. and the two groups coordinated and finished the job.

for those who have ever turned back individuals and/or groups with bad intent using legally owned and operated small arms, the difference is clear. need should have nothing to do with it. and the right time to load up is before the need is felt.

Walker said...

The best approach (nothing is a "solution") is Firearm Insurance, Required Everywhere -- as posted on your website since about 2009.
With every massacre, I continue to send that piece out, and it wins more and more support.

John Gear