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.