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Post No.: 1006gun

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution isn’t absolute. And the fact that it was an amendment indicates that it wasn’t in the original Constitution. Ergo, if a right can be modified once, it can be modified again/back to how it was originally.

 

It is admittedly extremely difficult to radically control firearms in America now though because of how many guns are around even if the manufacture and sale of new guns and ammunition instantly halted today. They’re non-perishable objects.

 

Guns are ingrained as part of the cultural fabric too. Guns can be emblems of people’s political and patriotic identity, symbols of power and independence, and make people (particularly economically-insecure males who worry about their masculinity) feel like more respected members of their communities. Therefore it’s not just about a desire to defend oneself and one’s family from real/imagined threats.

 

It’s also difficult to remove any kind of freedom that a population has gotten very used to. Tell British citizens that their firearms laws will continue to be restrictive and they won’t be bothered one bit. The largely ‘cooperate-cooperate’ game theory state (read Post No.: 1004) exists in the UK because – through the help of tougher gun controls – ‘them’ don’t have guns so ‘us’ don’t feel like we need to have guns either. Meanwhile, gun ownership has long been a right for Americans, and rights are hard to retract. If only a nation could start completely afresh so that the next generation doesn’t have to bear the weight of the fuzzy hang-ups of previous generations.

 

Notwithstanding, change is always possible if the will is there. If millions of slaves can be emancipated by the stroke of a pen – the country can accomplish something monumental again. Gradually phasing in restrictions would be most realistic however.

 

Introducing tighter gun legislation in places where there pre-exists a high level of gun ownership and crime can give the false impression that such legislation doesn’t work – it’ll take time before we see results but many lives will be saved in the long run. It requires long-term commitment (which isn’t easy when governments keep switching periodically and there’s a powerful gun lobby to contend with). Even if it won’t stop all gun-related fatalities, preventing some will still be worthwhile – especially if it saves your own child or grandchild. Few medicines work 100% of the time for 100% of patients but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prescribe any medicines to anyone.

 

Gun sales actually tend to increase after mass-shooting incidents (regardless of whether it’s because some more citizens become convinced that guns will protect them against guns or (more commonly) because existing gun-owners stockpile them in case new legislation will soon arrive to restrict their ability to buy more guns). Therefore rather than crisis actors faking mass-shooting incidents – conspiracy theories mayhap should be squared on the gun industry sponsoring mass-shooting incidents in order to boost their quarterly profits?(!) Even if a ban occurs, it’s constantly challenged by the gun lobby, or lapses due to sunset provisions.

 

It falls foul of the slippery slope fallacy to suggest that stricter firearms controls would automatically lead to further restrictions in other parts of people’s lives, which would then lead to a police state where individuals have no power and the central authority controls everything, which would in turn lead to an authoritarian state, which would lead to what happened to the USSR after that(!) There are plenty of examples of countries around the world that have had strict firearms controls for decades yet aren’t police or authoritarian states. Woof.

 

In America, firearms laws vary depending on the state. But federally, residents must be 18+ years old to purchase shotguns, rifles or ammunition. All other firearms, like handguns, require being 21+ years old. Purchasing semi-automatic weapons is legal in most states. ‘Right to carry’ (guns in public) laws vary by state – some allow concealed carry without a permit. Some even allow open carry. Examples of individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) include convicted felons, fugitives, and those committed to a mental health facility or were ruled as mentally unfit or addicted to an illegal controlled substance by a court. Naturally this means that those who might commit a crime of passion or are planning to commit their first felony, for instance, can legally purchase a gun – hence even comprehensive background checks aren’t alone enough. The problem isn’t just demand but supply.

 

Moreover, there are actually numerous loopholes that people can exploit to obtain a gun. Some states impose universal background checks – but many don’t because background checks aren’t presently required by federal law when purchasing a gun through a private transaction like at a gun show (the ‘private sale exemption’ or ‘gun show loophole’). Thus background checks can be bypassed altogether. Universal background checks could close this loophole yet some citizens oppose this.

 

Some states do impose firearm purchaser licensing or permit-to-purchase laws, mandatory waiting/cooling-off periods and safe storage laws. But individual states having stricter gun laws aren’t effective if citizens from neighbouring states with less strict gun laws can cross into the former with their guns without border checks.

 

All firearms should be securely locked away, preferably unloaded and separate from ammunition, to prevent accidents or children accessing them. But for self-defence, you contradictorily want them always ready for action.

 

3D-printed firearms have become quite reliable, and since they have no serial numbers, they’re hard to trace. They can present an intimidation factor in burglaries – but without accessible ammunition, they won’t fire. Gun tech and civilisation have evolved so much since 1791 – therefore so must our laws. Although any firearms that aren’t detectable by airport security devices are already prohibited.

 

Some countries, like Canada, impose relatively tougher laws concerning firearms acquisition – like mandatory courses and exams, expirations of licences every 5 years, all handguns must be registered with the police, stronger background checking, an applicant’s spouse or family are informed before a licence can be granted, and the total prohibition of fully-automatic (and, since the 2020 Nova Scotia attacks, semi-automatic) assault rifles. Firearms smuggled in via America are problematic though.

 

In countries where gun laws are even more stringent – gun crime is still present but it’s far lower. Although better than the USA, Canada still has its share of gun crime and more gun-related deaths per million people than places like the UK and much of Europe – thus the tighter the laws and enforcement, the safer it is. It’s statistically better if the ‘good guys’ don’t have any guns and a small proportion of the ‘bad guys’ have guns illegally.

 

You won’t completely eradicate the underground market but at least guns won’t be a part of the overground culture and people can live and walk in less fear of homicides or injuries that involve guns and mass shootings. It’d definitely reduce suicides by those who buy guns when they’re mentally fine but then years later develop major depression and are looking for a swift way to exit.

 

There are psychopathic, mentally-unstable and angry young men all over the world but only America has a major recurrent problem with fatal mass shootings however they’re defined. Guns were the number one cause of death for children and teenagers in America in 2020 and 2021. (Didn’t we have a deadly pandemic during this time?!)

 

UK citizens are less likely to assume that (suspected) criminals possess compact and lethal ranged weapons i.e. guns. This makes the option of running away far safer. And the more (legal) guns around – the more accidents, more get stolen, more get resold on the black market, the more heat-of-the-moment homicides, and the more suicides. Gun-related deaths appear normalised in places like America – it’s often national news if someone just gets shot but not killed in Britain!

 

As a ‘put buckets under the leak’ instead of a ‘stop the leaking’ solution – employing war veterans to heighten security at schools could benefit their mental health by giving them renewed purpose. Yet what a lost innocence for schoolchildren to attend schools that are akin to secure prison complexes and to be raised to not trust anyone. It’s also expensive, with opportunity costs. And there are still cases of shootings in schools that have SROs (school resource officers) and added security, thus it doesn’t always deter them. (These SROs can sometimes be under-trained, heavy-handed and violent against regular students themselves. Just getting arrested without charge, never mind conviction, can show on a student’s criminal record and potentially affect their career prospects and thus life.) Plus if teachers are armed in schools then all a pupil has to do is stab a teacher (anyone can be taken down by the element of surprise), take their gun, and then go on a shooting spree – no need to smuggle a gun in.

 

Schools aren’t the only targeted places – cinemas, places of worship, casinos, nightclubs and other public venues are vulnerable too. So should they all be made more like airports or prisons too? That’s a lot of liberty surrendered just because guns are everywhere.

 

Now should police officers, or teachers even, be legally, not just morally, obligated to risk their own lives to protect those they’re responsible for against shooters and other assailants? Currently the answer is ‘no’ in the US at least.

 

Should all UK cops carry guns as standard? Probably not – precisely because guns aren’t as prolific here hence most criminals and gang members don’t carry them either. There’s no need to escalate the arms race. Non-lethal alternatives like electroshock weapons should be considered first, as well as community policing and de-escalation techniques. Routinely training and arming the police with firearms would cost more in taxpayers’ money, it’ll risk more lost or stolen firearms, and of course risk more trigger-happy officers killing people unnecessarily. There are special firearms units or personnel if required. Of all the many things that the British frequently complain about concerning policing – officers not being routinely armed isn’t one of them!

 

Ever since gun laws tightened after the Hungerford (1987) and Dunblane (1996) mass shootings – violent gun crimes and mass shootings have reduced in Britain despite a growing population. The tough challenge is getting existing guns off the streets after such a change in law. Firearms amnesties or gun turn-ins (sometimes with a financial incentive) allow people to hand in illegal or uncertain firearms and ammunition to the police without being questioned or charged. Organised criminals won’t likely hand them in but each gun destroyed means one less gun that could eventually fall into criminal or children’s hands, or cause an accident. Another challenge is that decommissioned weapons can sometimes be easily put back into action. But the ‘antique firearms loophole’ got closed in recent years, wherein guns that used obsolete calibre rounds could have these rounds remanufactured by criminals.

 

And maybe the UK black market for firearms isn’t as large as one might think because forensic science occasionally finds that the same gun is involved in a few different, apparently independent, crimes. Having fewer legal firearms around results in a smaller illegal market because frequently it’s legal firearms that eventually find their way onto the black market via thefts from gun dealers or individual gun owners, and secondary sales through private sellers. That’s why, despite the legal avenues for obtaining firearms in the US, this hasn’t stopped the US from still having a massive black market for firearms.

 

Woof. Increase law enforcement presence to show that citizens are adequately protected by the police. Invest more in mental health and tackling school and cyber bullying. Teach gun safety and responsible ownership. Raise awareness of gun violence in a way that de-glamorises it. A live-streamed rampage will guarantee viewers and infamy thus social media platforms need to block these. Tackle the root causes of crime and gangs, like poverty, social inequality and racism. And reduce feelings of isolation through promoting community engagement.

 

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