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Summarizing the arguments against excessive gun ownership

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Scott Baker       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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There have been so many great articles (many on Op Ed News) on the absurdity of our gun situation in America that I'll just repeat the highlights here:
1.  We have nearly 1 gun per person - nearly twice as many per capita as our nearest "competitor," the peace-loving nation of Yemen.
2.  In 2011, Japan had 11 gun homicides.  America had 12...thousand.  And no, adjusting for population size doesn't help much.
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3.  By every measure, you are much more likely to die from having a firearm, than by not having one - suicide, homicide by/of a family member, accidents, and being shot by the police as you "take them on."
4.  Taking on the police is suicide, no matter how heavily armed you are.  Ask David Koresh.  In fact, the police has become a paramilitary outfit in large part as a response to all the privately owned guns out there.  They are well prepared for that with swat teams etc., including mandatory prison sentences in the largest prison system in the world, even on a per capita basis (yes, bigger than China's now).
5.  There is no evidence whatsoever, and a good bit of evidence against, the belief that people can react fast enough, or precisely enough, to out-shoot a madman with a semi-automatic rifle, or even "just" a handgun.  In the Aurora theater shooting, 58 people were injured, 12 killed in minutes in a chaotic crowded space; anyone who thinks they would have gotten "lucky" without also shooting innocents, is as crazy as the gunman. In Midtown Manhattan, trained police officers returned fire with a gunman near the Empire State building (I was unknowingly just 2 blocks away on an errand less than an hour later), injuring 9 bystanders.
6.  Most mass shooters end by shooting themselves.  These people are suicide terrorists with/without religious fanaticism, and are prepared to die, so "threatening" them with potential return of gunfire will mean nothing to them; it might even challenge them more.
7.  Owning guns will do nothing to ensure our liberties.  Since 9/11, and especially since Obama's first term, gun sales have sky-rocketed, while our Civil liberties and even actual liberty (indefinite detention, targeted execution, drone warfare (coming soon to America too)) has rapidly disappeared to the point where our constitution has almost become an irrelevant historical relic (though, not the misinterpreted Second Amendment, which perhaps deserves to be).
8.  The constitution's Second Amendment, by design and early practice, was designed to provide for "a well-regulated militia" to bear arms, working for the local authorities to suppress rebellions, shoot escaped slaves and Indians, and certainly not to overthrow the government that wrote it.  The NRA relies on some quotes of very questionable origin to support its claim that the Founders wanted a "revolution every 20 years" and other nonsense.  Suppressing the Whiskey Rebellion was one of president Washington's, and the nation's, earliest uses of the Second Amendment.
9.  Most people who own guns are poorly trained, inadequately supervised, and likely to remain so during their - perhaps shortened - lifetime of owning a gun.
10.  There is no reliable way to tell if someone is too mentally unstable to own a gun, unless they make specific proclamations about meaning to harm themselves or others (this actually happens surprisingly often, and people do need to pay more attention to these advance warnings).  After-the-fact declarations as to whether someone is a "loner," likes to spend more time with computers than people, is "autistic" or "psychotic" (two terms the general public isn't even qualified to apply, and maybe not even professionals either) are meaningless.  Such people are walking around all the time, and the vast majority will never harm anyone, whereas those whom "everyone thought was a great family man" just might.  Heck, it might even be a woman mass murderer some day too, though testosterone certainly plays a large part in self-selection.
11.  Psychotropic drugs are dispensed almost like candy, and our under-insured citizens can get drugs (cheap), but not therapy (expensive), with little follow-through on their mood changes.  Psychotropic drugs to control depression, for example, have been positively linked to a disproportionate number of mass murderers and are known to dampen emotions and "dull" people to internal emotional cues, perhaps to the point of making it easier to pull the trigger.  This is one reason they are freely given to soldiers suffering from PTSD, whose officers want them to continue shooting the enemy.
12.  Some of the best-trained gun owners are former soldiers, suffering from PTSD, and on medications (see above).
13.  The NRA wants to post armed guards in every school, perhaps in movie theaters and churches too.  Is this the kind of society we want our children exposed to?  To turn them into scared, suspicious, distrusting and unforgiving adults?  Well, that describes the average gun-owner pretty well, so if the NRA is really the National Rifle (selling) Association, than maybe that is what they want!  Why do people think anti-war groups are un-American, while pro-gunseller groups are patriotic?  This is backwards.

By any measure, we have too many guns with too much firepower, in the hands of too many people with too little reason, training, or reliability to have them.


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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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