Gun Control Revisited

I’m for gun control. I have been for a long time, it’s probably just a natural part of being Canadian. I don’t think we need to carry around handguns to be safe in our country, and I have been all for the idea of restricting access to firearms as much as humanly possible because I believe it’s a heck of a lot harder to kill 40 people with a kitchen knife.

That is, until I listened to the most recent episode of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense podcast. (Which is one of the best shows Dan has ever done.) After which, an odd thing happened. I realized that my outlook on gun control has very likely been completely wrong. I mean, I try to keep an open mind about things, but Dan actually really changed my perspective, at least in regards to the United States. I still think gun control in Canada is a good idea but as far as gun control in the United States, it’s a lost cause and there are much better ways for anti-gun people to spend their time and resources. Guns are here to stay, and trying to take them away is stupid and unproductive for the most part.

So, what should be done?

The answer, as Dan rightly points out, is social programs.

Is it any co-incidence that Switzerland (4th most guns per person in the world), has 68 firearm crimes a year, in comparison with 9,369 in the USA (Number 1 in gun ownership)? I have always said I don’t mind the idea of paying more tax for people to be on welfare because I know that guaranteeing those people a minimum level of income reduces the crime in Canada quite a bit. In fact, the current government’s focus on cutting welfare/health has been one of the most worrying things about its policies.

I think if we take care of each other properly, the amount of crime (and the need for guns) naturally takes care of itself. I believe that the countries with the most social programs tend to have the least amount of violent crime because there are less desperate/alienated/sick people without options who commit those crimes.

As Dan says in the show, and I think even the most hardened pro-gun supporter could agree with, America needs to stop wasting time on anti-gun law, and start pushing for better mental health care for its people. There are a lot of poor, sick, desperate people out there afflicted with problems that can be solved (or at least alliviated) by modern medicine and treatments, and letting them and guns mix is a bad idea. Since guns are here to stay, people should focus on what they can change- helping their fellow man.

Then maybe there won’t be such a need for guns after all.


3 thoughts on “Gun Control Revisited

  1. You know I love Dan (I’ve begged folks on Facebook and Twitter enough times about him), but I think he’s fallen into the trap that somehow, since banning guns alone is not the answer, therefore its not even PART of the answer.
    Yes, I agree with him that better social programmes will help. Yes, I agree that its an uphill battle against the NRA, but someone has to plant their flag somewhere against evil and say “enough”.
    So Dan’s right. MORE to help people with social programmes and protect their sanity.
    Dan’s wrong. You can’t give up on the idea of gun control just because its not politically opportunistic in this day and age.

    • I agree that you shouldn’t end the fight to try to keep guns from proliferating, but there is a time to be realistic and put most of your resources where they’ll do the most good.

      In this case, I think using this opportunity to lead the fight against mental illness could be the most constructive way to use this restless energy. The politicians won’t touch Gun Control during an election year, so let’s try to do some good with the momentum instead!


  2. Hmmmm….

    >until I listened to the most recent episode of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense podcast

    He’s got some good points; but he misses a few more:

    -If you got rid of the guns, the murder rate would go down. Most gun related killings happen when someone you know (and probably live with) gets mad and reaches for the piece. ‘Course the VIOLENCE rate wouldn’t. People would still punch and stab each other.

    -He’s wrong about assault weapons. That’s a specific term referring to a fully automatic weapon typically with an extended mag. (NOBODY can work a bolt or pump weapon as fast as a full auto.) He leaves out the ammo too. (Military rounds are jacketed.)

    -But more importantly, he’s right that there’s a HUGE amount of hype over this sort of thing. Violent crime in general has been dropping since the 70’s in the US. I can’t help but feel the hype is hyped ‘cos it’s useful to concerned people. If you’re anti-gun then it looks like guns are running rampant and ruinning society. If you’re pro-gun you can use the “out of control crime” as proof that MORE guns are needed so’s the good folks can protect themselves. It’s also a simple solution…. for either side…. and people like simple solutions. Society out of control, you’re scared in your own home…. buy something/ban something. Problem solved! We’re socilaized with the idea of purchasing things as a way of solving problems, or making things go away to do the same.

    It plays to dogma, and I think dogma is the biggest problem we’ve got these days. It limits useful exchange and it gives folks WAY too much of an opportunity to ignore dissenting perspectives. Not that even THIS is new. The Cracked article about media scares (letter to my 50 year old self) is a good demo of how age related dogma works.

    >The answer, as Dan rightly points out, is social programs.

    Short answer; that sort of thing solves a LOT of problems, ‘cos you get folks who’ve been marginalized feeling like they have some sort of stake in things. THAT’S what cuts down crime. Deciding on the best way to enact those programs is the tricky part; it’s a difficult issue, and it’s absolutely riddled with the potential for dogma.

    Don C.

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