USA Gun Control – Don Charisma’s Opinion


Please bear in mind I’m more on the pro gun control side of things. I do believe in freedom, but do also question the validity of easy access to deadly weapons for the masses.

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I lived most my life in UK. Basically firearms aren’t available to ordinary individuals (long story short). Ordinary police don’t carry them either. They are only permitted to be used by people who have had training and in only then in special circumstances. So in the UK those with access to guns are armed forces, armed police, farmers and probably secret service and our spy organisations (MI5, MI6 etc). And possibly other circumstances like shotguns for sport shooting. Otherwise you might get jailed for owning, or worse carrying a firearm in the UK.

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We do have very little problems with gun deaths and shootings for the above reasons. Whilst the UK isn’t “crime free” I’ve generally felt pretty safe in the long years I lived in London and elsewhere.

I appreciate the US has a different history, and is much younger than the UK for all but the native Americans. But a recent opinion post I did on the police shooting of an unarmed black man, left me with the conclusion that gun control is the *only* option to prevent this kind of thing continuing to happen. Moreover, if guns continue to be readily available, then it’s not really much of a story – the rest of the world just thinks Americans like shooting each other. AND sadly it’s usually the socially least valued who end up “taking the bullet”.

Serious firearms are for killing, that is their sole purpose of existing. They aren’t stun guns or self defence apparatus such as a police man’s baton, pepper spray or possibly a taser.

Police in the UK manage to police a whole country without needing to KILL a suspect with a gun because they “looked scary”. AND I WAS HORRIFIED TO LEARN that police in the US are allowed to discharge their firearms at unarmed suspects. Suspects who’ve not even had a chance to air their side of the story. That’s utterly unacceptable.

This is a HOT TOPIC. I am interested in both sides of the story. BUT please have respect for me, and for my other commenters if you wish to say something. Where respect is present, I generally will allow most comments. If not, well you’re on your own.

Gun control for the USA – ban the guns or start selling ’em in 7-11 ?

Cheers

Don Charisma

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93 thoughts on “USA Gun Control – Don Charisma’s Opinion

  1. Here in Australia we probably have some of the toughest gun laws around.
    But we also have some pathetic laws regarding carrying items such as capsicum spray for self defense (illegal in some states), expandable batons are banned as is carrying any sort of knife..
    I believe we should be able to carry non lethal items in order to protect ourselves and our families.

    1. During the riots in London I looked into household items for self defence. Pens, metal iphones, ubrellas and a whole host of items can certainly used as a self defence items. A quick google search would probably yield an array of such things.

      UK we’re not allowed to carry a knife with a blade longer than 3″ and generally you’d better have a reason for carrying for instance a carpet knife. Locking blades and flick knives are banned.

      Problem with allowing any sort of weapons, is they can be abused. So, it’s tough to have it both ways !

  2. I used to think abolishing the second amendment(right to bear firearms) would be best but honestly look at our police we honestly may need them to protect ourselves, although any self defense against a police officer would get a citizen prosecuted to the fullest, but really in the US small town police can apply for a TANK from the government, police are over militarized and undertrained, its scary, we may need them but we definitely need more regulation and thorough backround checks, mental heath evaluations every couple years or something but the NRA wont even let that happen

  3. As much as I would like to read 75 different opinions on gun control, I have a few of my own that I’d like to share without the descent into mayhem that an extremely subjective topic like this has the tendency to generate (do I get a word limit? Cause I can get a bit wordy…with everything).
    I spent five years living in the US. Was married to a marine for a little bit, and was quite interested to discover that aside from multiple mass shootings (usually two to three a year…sometimes more if it was a leap year), certain places didn’t have simple things – like road rage for example. Texas has a stupidly high people to gun ratio, yet because of the simple fact that nearly everyone owns a gun, people think it through before screaming obscenities out their window at a sunday driver (because let’s face it – you have to be ridiculously angry or have a few screws loose to risk getting shot at just for needing to vent that instant blinding rage that shows up when some old guy cuts you off in his chevy).
    I also found it interesting to note that a surprising amount of 80’s babies marines actually believed that gun control should be better policed in the states.
    The amount of training and safety that those guys do in order to keep from shooting themselves in their own feet (we call that ‘friendly fire’) is phenomenal.
    Let’s look at what happened in Sydney a few weeks back – if the cops had just shot that idiot’s ass then kids would have had their mothers around on Christmas Day. Just sayin…

    1. All fair to say, and I have read all 75 million different opinions … was a very enlightening debate actually …

      Word limit … no not really, whilst you’re not preaching, or arguing, or being an asshole, write away as much as you like … I may or may not be able to read the whole thing, but that’s just the risk you take !

      Interesting about the road rage, an interesting “benefit” of having so many guns, people might start being more polite and agreeable to one another if they were constantly worrying about getting shot … however largly a minor fringe benefit I feel 😀

      Friendly-fire, shooting yourself in the foot – cracked me up LOL 😀

      And yes, shoot the morons who’re shooting kids first … I mean come on what are we paying our taxes for ?

      Warm regards, and thanks for making me laugh

      D

  4. As an African-American son of a black police officer, who shot twice and killed once in the line of duty, and as someone who frequently and lawfully carries a gun, I have very strong opinions on this topic.

    The bottom line is that the world would be a much better place without public ownership of firearms, however that utopia is as unrealistic inside the Unites States as abolishing the military to avoid warfare would be.

    First of all, as has been noted, you can’t legally ban the public from owning guns. The right for a citizen to own a gun is just as protected as the right to exercise free speech, religion, and vote.

    Secondly, the problems with gun violence are really not the fault of legal gun owners. The overwhelming majority of gun crimes are committed by people who unlawfully possess guns in the first place, and moves to ban citizens from owning guns would only affect citizens… criminals would disregard gun ban laws just like they do those laws which already deny them the right to own a gun.

    Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois used to have sweeping gun bans. Not only were they extremely ineffective-gun violence rose each year those gun bans were in place-they were also ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court and subsequently struck down.

    Examples of citizens using guns to commit violence are extremely rare. They are out there, but they are statistically insignificant compared to the number of felons who use guns to perpetuate armed violence. Any gun control legislation meant to curb gun violence needs to confront THEM instead of punishing (and disarming) people like me, who lawfully posses and use firearms, while not actually targeting the people who abuse them and almost always are not even allowed to possess them.

    As far as police shooting unarmed men is concerned, there are rare cases, such as Michael Brown, when that needs to happen. There are plenty of unarmed men who kill people, including police officers, such as this officer, beaten nearly to death before he could even exit his patrol car, and eventually killed by his own weapon: http://www.odmp.org/officer/22056-police-officer-david-w-smith

    The justification to kill an unarmed person is FAR beyond “they looked scary”, the officer’s life must actually be in imminent danger, not just perceive it. We have cops locked up for misperceiving the threat and inappropriately discharging their weapons. The obvious rebuttal is “use a tazer”, but they cannot be relied in a life or death event. Tazers often have no effect on the person they are used on, especially if they are on drugs.

    So yes, gun control is good, I support increased gun control measures like background checks to prevent criminals and mentally ill people from purchasing weapons they can’t legally own, so that I might have less of a chance of needing to use my lawfully owned weapon to protect myself or my family from them. At the same time, it can’t be considered a wholesale approach to ending gun violence, and an outright ban on guns really does infringe on the rights of good citizens and… it wouldn’t even address the problem, since the criminals can be relied on to keep their guns.

    1. Rescued from spam queue … I don’t know what happened …

      Clue’s in the title really “Gun control” NOT “Gun ban” …

      AND YES POLICE AND CRIMINALS WILL FIND WAYS TO KILL EACH OTHER WITHOUT GUNS … people been killing each other since the beginning of time, doh !

      Personally I’m warming to the idea of each officer being fitted with a camera with audio … but I can still see ways that could be abused …

      Apart from that, thanks for the comment.

  5. I have a handgun carry permit. I had to take a firearms class and prove that I can control my weapon responsibly before I was able to obtain my permit. I do have a few guns and do carry my weapon when I go to unfamiliar places.
    I have known people to be mugged or threatened with deadly force without any type of warning. These are the reasons I feel a responsible person should have the right to have firearms if they please, with the proper education and firearms training.
    Oh… and btw… assault rifle is not a real thing. Assault is an act and a rifle is a weapon. That is a label they put on certain rifles to make them sound scarier. That’s like saying “that ‘assault spoon’ gave that guy diabetes and killed him,.. ban it”.
    Anyway… I’m sure you can see where I stand on this subject. Banning the weapons won’t take them out of the hands of the bad guys. Criminals don’t abide by the laws, that’s what makes them criminals. It will only make the law abiding citizens more defenseless.

    1. Thanks for sharing politely, that’s constructive and helpful 😀

      I totally get your perspective, your comment has been approved, so you got to say what you wanted to say.

      I understand the semantics, although you’ve glossed over that basically the person is talking about military grade combat hardware – “assault rifle” is just a label meaning “military grade combat hardware” to “dumb” people who aren’t gun experts. I do get that it’s irritating that people don’t use the correct terms often, but that’s life !

      The point is that ordinary civilians should have no need to own military weapons. Terrorists maybe, vigilantes maybe, people wishing to start civil wars maybe. But ordinary Joe defending his property doesn’t need a semi or fully automatic machine gun or a 50 cal helicopter gun.

      Criminals have guns and can obtain them probably everywhere in the world. A gun can be manufactured in a well equipped garage (or workshop) with the right tools. So I’m afraid the argument of having guns because criminals have them doesn’t hold any water. Bit like saying criminals have drugs so I should have drugs too …

      It is becoming apparent to me whilst answering these comments, that probably we’re not talking about a constitutional change. It’s legislation limiting it. Which is already in place – You have “the right to bear arms”, but that doesn’t mean any tom, dick or harry can walk into 7-11 and buy a gun. You have already limited your rights, so my suggestion is to limit them further where it’s in the best interest of the people.

      Clue’s in the title – “GUN CONTROL” not “GUN PROHIBITION”.

    1. Yup, it’s “the right to bear arms” NOT “the right to have a full military armoury with assault rifles and RPGs” … and presumably that right can be restricted, severely if necessary for the greater good of the people. I mean it’s already necessary to have permits etc … right ? So the right isn’t without limitation already ?

  6. You wouldn’t believe (actually, you would) the number of heated arguments I’ve got myself into with American Fb friends over this subject.
    You only have to mention the huge difference in gun deaths between here and the States and some people (the right wing gun nut brigade) instantly get extremely excitable, taking issue with my pinko liberal limey attitude and defending their inalienable right to carry around whatever insane arsenal of weapons they like. They also tend to wheel out the old “Oh, so only the criminals have guns” argument, which is so inane that I usually lose patience at that point and resort to quoting crime stats at them. But even gun deaths per head of population doesn’t make a dent in their deluded ranting.
    I am engaged to an American who has recently moved here to the UK and she has said many times that she’s very worried about where the country is heading, especially since the advances the Christian right and republicans generally are making in the polls and local elections.
    To be honest, I’d be frightened to go outside if I lived in a big city over there.

    1. LOL … actually I would since posting this !

      And, yes, seen the same arguments in my comments today/yesterday.

      Personally I don’t care either way as I don’t live in US. But some of the arguments just don’t hold any water. I often play devils advocate ( and can be pretty fickle ) – So often play both sides of the argument, as a “companion” debater …

      What I do object to is being told what I should or shouldn’t think, do or say. So – “Let’s get this straight” starting a comment, well let’s just say, they’re in for a debate ! or headed for the spam queue …

      One guy lost his cool, and he’s now banned from my blog. Seems to be a one off moron as my follower count has gone up in the last 24 hours … Apart from that I’ve actually learnt a tremendous amount and thoroughly enjoyed debating it with people 😀

      Good to chat, thanks for dropping by …

      D

  7. the tables are begging to turn . there is a need for gun and fire arms legislation. they caused the proliferation of arms. I am afraid that the generation yet unborn may deal with us if something isn’t done NOW.

    1. Well it’s a suggestion, it sounds like it’ll take a lot for a change to happen in US with the constitutional aspect … but hopefully the US will figure it out so less innocent lives are lost 😀

  8. Great post. I often read without commenting, but I think I should try to clear up one thing that you wrote.

    The police here are authorized to discharge their weapons at unarmed suspects, but there is a serious threshold that has to be crossed first for that to happen. Cops just can’t go shooting at anyone and everyone.

    Most departments have use of force policies that conform to Supreme Court rulings that dictate that deadly force is authorized only in situations where the possibility of grievous harm or death may result to the officer or nearby people from the actions of the person causing the trouble. If the person is unarmed and is trying to take the officer’s gun, then the officer can assume the person will use that gun against them if they get it. That creates a deadly force situation then.

    I’m not going to say that the recently publicized issues were all within use of force guidelines, but there are situations where an unarmed person can present themselves to where deadly force can be used against them.

    Thanks for writing this post though. It’s cool to get some opinion from outside the country.

    1. You’re welcome, and thanks 😀

      Agreed there will be a procedure that should be followed be followed by US Police. And it’s relating to self-defence, which is good. What worries me is the potential for error on the part of the Police man (or woman). And I guess I always knew it’s possible to get shot by an armed Police man, so I tend to give them a wide berth in my daily life. Police are armed here in Thailand actually.

      I just actually remembered – isn’t there “rubber bullets”, so how about two holsters one either side, one with the rubber bullets and the other one with the lethal ones ? … proper wild west ! … might need some additional training for two handed gun action though 😀

      Feel free to comment or not as and when you like. I’m pretty random about what I post and when. And happy to receive input where people aren’t trying to force me to change my mind !

      D

  9. As an American, I respect the right to own guns, which people also use for recreation, hunting, and protection though I question why anyone in the civilian realm needs to own military grade assault rifles, such as was the case with Adam Lanza. For handguns, I do think there needs to be responsiblity with carrying one though, and definitely licensing (like there is with cars). As for things like the Michael Brown case, or Tamir Rice or Akai Gurley…these were all situations of armed police shooting unarmed civilians though, so I don’t think gun control would solve the police brutality issue, unless you think the cops should also be unarmed? But there have also been choking deaths and tasing deaths at the hands of the police.

    Sadly two cops as well were murdered in cold blood recently here in New York. They were sitting in their squad car & the coward shot them from behind. He’d also much earlier that day broke into his ex girlfriend’s house in Baltimore and shot her, but this isn’t mentioned as people try to use the officers’ deaths to go at the mayor or the protestors or whomever. 😦

    The current thought is that cops should have mini cameras attached to their uniforms. There may be something to this as I have experienced two times in the past week where someone simply pulling out a phone camera changed a cop’s behavior. But I don’t think this is the complete solution either.

    1. Certainly a fascinating topic, strong feelings on either side. And as I said to one of the other commenters I didn’t mean a total complete ban on guns, there are farmers who need for vermin, people who short for sport, and hunting – whether one agrees with the ethics on it is by the by.

      Personally not sure I’d draw a distinction between an assault rifle and a handgun, but I get your point. My point would be they achieve the same thing.

      Also agreed on Police brutality, it wouldn’t solve. More I think is it’s harder for Police to cause death without guns – so whilst someone might get beaten, which isn’t right, they do walk away with their life which is of the highest importance.

      As I said elsewhere – a pen can be used to kill someone, or a length of rope, and so on. Just easier with a gun. So “bad” police have actually a vast array of methods of killing people.

      Sorry to hear about the two cops, I’m not anti-police, but I am anti-police brutality. Police are paid to protect and serve, not brutalise people. And yes media love to leave out bits to spin the story how they want it to be received – chances of that changing, close to 0% I think !

      Mini cameras is a new one on me. Possibly a good idea, but don’t cameras have a habit of breaking down or footage getting lost when there’s question or doubt that might put the police in a bad light. If it were to work, they’d need the footage transmitted to and kept and stored by a separate body that police had no control over. Otherwise I think it’s just as open to abuse as anything else.

      And yes pulling the camera out is a good way of changing people’s behaviour. I reckon Police in UK would probably confiscate the phone if you tried, but with a crowd of people they’d find that difficult. SO safety in numbers.

  10. While I respect your opinion my friend. This isn’t the UK. Unfortunately in the US there is a culture of gun ownership. Especially among people who live in rural areas and use them for hunting. Stricter more european style gun laws here would only result in a huge black market as there is a demand. It is simple economics. Don’t believe me? Look at the drug cartels and their rise to power supplying the US’s demand for marijuana and the like. I’m sorry to say this, but outright bans of anything demanded will always have this result.
    Remember how well the prohibition of alcohol in the US went? It created a huge new criminal class which gave us names like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, etc… Why? Because there was demand. And many Americans LOVE their guns.
    However in regards to policing I agree with you. The United States is out of control in regards to how quickly it’s police resort to violence in any altercation. However let’s not lose sight of the real problem here. It’s institutional racism and classism. These cops aren’t killing people because the gun tells them to, they’re killing them because they’ve chosen to do so.
    Anyways, just some things to think about.
    Hope you consider some of these points.

    1. Considered the points you made, and – With respect also –
      1. I never SAID it was, that’s obvious isn’t it ? – UK is an ancient civilisation and US is actually quite young. AND YES I KNOW THAT US have a gun culture, that’s why I posted an opinion post on it.
      2. I DID mention farmers. I didn’t mention hunting, because that’s kind of in the same category, and didn’t want to get into a debate about the rights and wrongs of hunting. That’s for another post.
      3. I DID also mention shooting for sport, which they do in UK to practice for shooting in hunting. Clay pigeon shooting it’s called, done with shotguns. So I NEVER said that guns shouldn’t be available to hunters or rural areas like farms. Most probably they should.
      4. Stricter guns laws may or may not lead to a black market. However black markets exist everywhere, for just about everything that’s illegal, so I don’t see that as a “solid” argument against gun control. It speculates on a possible outcome, which may or may not result. An opinion, not a fact.
      5. Believe you … no, not so far …
      6. Illegal “black” market drug trades do exist, because drugs are banned for the good of the people – they’re addictive and the effects they can have on people are potentially VERY BAD. So are you proposing we legalise all illegal drugs, the same as keeping the guns legal ? It’s a shaky argument …
      7. Yes, I’ve studied the prohibition. A bit of a farce really as alcohol is accepted in most civilised societies as being “ok”. Presumably it was driven by misguided religious fanaticism ? See 6. above, it’s a shaky argument you put, because it means that you’d have to make everything that’s illegal legal. So I wouldn’t advise using that argument …
      8. Americans love their guns (see 1. above), already addressed that. Americans also love Marijuana, LSD, Cocaine, Heroin, etc … a shaky argument, saying that we should have something just because we love it. Because then you’d have to legalise everything people “love” or even “like” … What’s next we legalise prostitution because people “love” it ? Then perhaps we’ll legalise murder because some people “love” that … MY POINT – just because a person or group of people love something doesn’t make it right or just … or indeed for the greater good of the people for it to continue. So “love” is an expression of sentiment, not a solid argument anti gun control.
      9. We reached an agreement eventually … and yes it’s the lowest valued in society that suffer the most … but … with the cops not having guns, it’d be harder for them to kill these people … so take the guns out of the equation.
      10. “It’s institutional racism and classism” – perhaps, but that’s moving off topic, so I’ll stop that there.
      11. I’m aware that the smart guns of the movies don’t REALLY exist. Yes it’s people making the decisions. Easiest way to stop them making such decisions is to remove the guns from the equation.
      So we’re back to ban the guns.
      PLUS education, which is the social solution as pointed out by my other commenters 😀

  11. Difficult one this,my other half had handguns and competed in competitions until the ban came into effect here in the UK,and I might add he has never committed a crime and has always had the highest gun safety standards,the idea was to stop gun crime and take the guns out of people hands who were too unstable to have them,but that hasn’t really worked as the majority of gun crime in the UK was done with illegally owned guns What should have happened was the controls on gun ownership be tightened up and the unstable people known by the police should have had those guns taken away and their licences revoked,unfortunately on a few occasions that hasn’t happened and innocent bystanders have lost their lives due to the police not doing their jobs properly and law abiding people lost a hobby that they spent time and money to do.As for the US it is very difficult to ban guns as it is part of the constitution that the people have the right to bare arms to protect themselves and their home/Property ,and I don’t believe a ban would solve the problem of gun crime in the US as most of the guns used in crimes are illegally own guns.How ever I do believe that there should be tighter controls on the gun laws in the US as assault rifles have no place in the hands of ordinary people they are weapons of war and should be use as such by the armed forces.I also believe that a person who is licensed to carry guns should only have one there is no need for a person to have an arsenal,I also believe that licensed gun holders should be evaluated psychologically on a regular basis to make sure they are of sound mind to be trusted with a gun and should go through regular gun safety courses to ensure that they are competent to be a gun owner.I also believe that the rules governing the police and the use of their firearms should be tightened up too so that unarmed persons can’t be shot by a police officer.
    If a gun is on a table and no one touches it does it kill people? No the only way for a gun to kill a person is for another person to pick it up and point it at someone and pull the trigger.if a human being wants to kill someone he or she will use anything that comes to hand to do the deed even their bare hands if they have nothing else…people kill people not objects!

    1. I just found out that on New year ever a man was stabbed and axed to death in a small village a few miles from where I live ,he was a nice local man just celebrating the new year in….People kill not objects!

    2. That’s the longest sentence I’ve read I think for a few years … paragraphs ?

      I think the point is you can kill someone with a pen, it’s a hell-of-lot easier with a gun … and I get the constitution aspect, of which the USA was able to amend I believe in the case of slavery … but I don’t fully understand the legal structure, so could be wrong … overall my point is that it could be changed …

  12. I agree revy much with gun control, it would help to keep eligal guns of the street where so many of our youths are getting killed. Why do we need guns in our homes? Where is this so called freedom if we need guns to protect ourselves at home.

  13. Don, I was in England during the riots a few years ago. English attitudes towards the police are a great deal different than in the States. Even during the riots the people, for the most part, respected the police.

    Here it’s a great deal different, especially among the minorities communities, and most especially among blacks. The vast amjority of shootings here are committed by blacks, with black-on-black crime the highest number of shootings.

    My local newspaper ran a statisitical article, wish I still had it, on shootings for 2014, up until mid December. As I remember, over 75% of the shootings were by blacks; 90% of those shootings were black-on-black. 2014 saw the highest police ambushes, up 400% from 2013, all but two were committed by blacks. Of all officers being shot, over 80% were committed by blacks, and it didn’t matter if the officers were black or white.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but gun control isn’t the solution. I firmly believe that if guns were not available some other methods would be used. The problem is societal, and the media here plays a large part in the responsibility. In both NYC and Ferguson the vast majority of the riot instigators arrested were from outside those communities, people who came in to flame the fires, and the media play into their goals.

    As I said, I don’t know what the solution is, but until the police feel safe and respected, as in England, and the people, especially the black communities, feel like they are being treated with respect, this will go on. In riots, both in England and America, guns are rarely used; clubs, chains, tire irons, and fire are the weapons of choice. It is the attitude, not the weapon, that need addressed.

    1. I was in London too during the riots. We took “precautions” in the flat, ie weapons for self defence of our neighbourhood or worst case our own property. We didn’t have access to guns, and I’m glad, I wouldn’t want to have shot someone.

      Stats, as explained twice to other commenters here I’m VERY au fait with having traded financial markets for a couple of years. They are a best a guide, at worst a complete lie or completely skewed to suit the agenda of the person reporting the stats. So interesting, BUT ZERO WEIGHT IN A DISCUSSION WITH ME. I generally reject them, as I don’t know or trust the source, I haven’t seen them myself and I haven’t seen or validated the source numbers used. And no I don’t want the source information, my point is they are virtually meaningless.

      The implication of the stats could come off a little racist, which I don’t think was your intention. If it was, then I’ll warn you that that’s off topic and disrespectful. I may do a post on racism later, or not. In any case there are MANY LOVELY BLACK PEOPLE IN MANY LOVELY BLACK COMMUNITIES, so I personally wouldn’t make a race connection. It’ll be a poor impoverished area, let’s leave race out of it, bottom line.

      Social solutions will be endless rounds of committees, meetings, discussion, opinion polls, parliament hearings and so on. This might work but would take an exceedingly long time if it worked at all.

      So that brings us right back to the start which is get rid of the guns. The UK did it, and I’ve learnt Australia has too through a gun buy back scheme. Australia isn’t quite as big as USA, but it’s a massive country bigger than UK.

      The social solutions should be implemented anyway, because as you say removing the guns doesn’t remove the crime or underlying problems, people will kill each other using other weapons …

      1. I won’t get into the stats, as you requested.

        No, this was not a racial attack. I grew up in a multiracial community, and still count many of my childhood friends as friends. This is simply the statement of a sad truth, though I wish it were not. The black community here has far too much gun violence, very sad that so much of it is against themselves. It has, over the years, gotten worse instead of better.

        My point was/is that guns are not the issue; knives, clubs, etc., would replace guns if guns were not available. Yes, I know guns make violence, especially mass violence, much easier, but not impossible. IED’s could easily replace them. What I am trying to say is that the problem is societal, it is the American society that needs repaired. Until that is addressed, no banning of any weapon will resolve the issue, it will just hide it. It’s like putting a cap on a rotting tooth, it will hide the decay, but the underlying problem is still there.

        England is a different culture, her solutions are not necessarily transferable.

        I do hope I did not offend anyone, it honestly was not my intention. I am a scientist, numbers and stats are just part of my life.

      2. LOL … stats probably for the best … something about “lies, damn lies and statistics” I think the old cliche goes !

        I got that it probably wasn’t, you never struck me that way. I do also have to think of others reading the post too, and how they might perceive, is all.

        I totally agree on the societal solutions, just think it’ll be a long slow process that may or may not succeed. People don’t like to change, as was evident by event the suggestion of taking their guns away. So why would it be any different in an education program. I don’t know the answer, maybe it would be different.

        I’ve since learnt Australia, which must be getting on for as big as USA in size and population has similar gun laws to UK. So the – your British we’re not argument no longer holds any water. And if one wanted to be pedantic about it, many of America’s white ancestors, the majority, came from the UK (I think). ‘Nuff said on that one.

        What’s also become apparent talking to others is that your constitution says “the right to bear arms” it doesn’t say “the right to have a full military armoury at home and cheap guns in 7-11” … my point is that your constitutional rights are ALREADY limited by legislation and hoops that people must just through in order to get guns. So it’s really about finding a sensible solution so that guns are LESS available, were there isn’t ANY real need for people to have them.

        So, clue’s in the title really “GUN CONTROL” not “GUN PROHIBITION” …

        I don’t think you offended anyone, certainly you added to the discussion which I found helpful 😀

        Warm regards

        Don

  14. I think everyone commenting has made valid points. This is indeed a very complicated issue. I believe the difference between the UK and the US is that the US Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. The way in which our country began and developed with the migration west, only served to establish the possession and need for firearms. My son is in the military and also hunts, so we do have guns. NO assault rifles though – I believe those should be restricted to the police and military.

    1. Yes a lot of valid points made, the most enriching part for me of doing an opinion post … Sorry I’m not 100% on US legal structure, so forgive my ignorance I’ve never lived there so had no need to know. But wasn’t slavery abolished by Lincoln and wouldn’t that have meant changing the constitution ?

      Culture does change over the course of time, and the “wild west” well it isn’t wild anymore as far as I know !

      Also a friend I was having beers with this evening told me that Australia went through a process where their government bought the guns back. Seems to have worked in Australia which is a larger country than UK. So indicates to me, entirely possible in US.

  15. I live in the US. We need tougher gun laws. Even a legally concealed carry law can be fatal. Just ask the family of the woman shot and killed accidentally by her two year old in a WalMart a few days ago. I have no reason to carry a gun in my purse. And no one has a need for an assault rifle – it’s only purpose is to kill people…not the odd squirrel or deer.

    1. I don’t follow the news, but another commenter told me about the shooting, which is tragic …

      UK, and I learnt this evening Australia went through the process of banning guns … so I reckon USA could do the same …

  16. No matter how illegal it is to own a gun, criminals will always find a way to get them. Most mass murders with guns in America take place in so-called “gun-free zones,” where the penalty for possessing a firearm is increased. These gun-free zones include schools, post offices, etc.

    Interestingly, the LOWEST incidence of gun violence takes place in states with concealed carry permits and “Make my Day” laws. A criminal intent on mischief can never be sure whether his intended victim is armed, thus discouraging violent crime.

      1. This is the anti gun control argument, and it is not a fact it is an opinion … This didn’t happen in UK or Australia, when ours/their guns were taken, so why would it happen in USA ?

    1. I’m agreeing with you on the getting a gun, guns can be hand made in properly equipped workshop … and more often there’s someone who’ll sell a gun if the price is right, pretty much everywhere …

      As for the “LOWEST incidence of gun violence” – you’re citing a statistic that I’ve not seen first hand, I don’t know if I trust the source NOR have I seen the data for myself on which it was based. So I reject statistics generally based on that argument, as I do with yours. Within that it’s an interesting “opinion”/”statistic” which may or may not be true, and may or may not mean something.

  17. I am an American and have lived in the south for most of my life. I don’t own a gun, though I have fired them and generally I do like them for sport. I am what we cal a Constitutionalist and from my perspective this is a constitutional issue because of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution in our Bil of Rights.

    While everyone else is talking about gun control, I think we should be talking about the state of our nation. The reason we have so many issues is not that we like to shot each other, rather it’s that we have created a culture of death. Violence in music, film and video games have led to a desensitizing of our youth (myself included for a long time). As Jesus taught, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”

    I feel strongly that the answer isn’t changing the law, but changing the culture and that is something that a government that is already seen as divisive and trying to strip us of our rights cannot do. It’s up to individuals , churches, and civic groups.

    1. I’m not intimate with American bills etc, but I get the general idea … and I agree that there’s social issue … the solutions would need to be cross religion, as Christianity isn’t the only religion I believe that you have in USA. Also I believe true Christians would be pro helping people from other faiths.

      Changing laws is the quick and dirty way to do it, and was successful in UK, in removing a huge amount of weapons from the general public. I learned this evening speaking to friend that Australia (which is much larger than the UK) has been through a similar process. Their government “bought” the guns back. SO bottom line, get rid of the guns, forcibly is probably best, because a social initiative would need widespread support, and with all the meetings, discussions, debates etc would take A VERY LONG TIME.

  18. There’s a lot of talk around rights but seldom any talk around responsibilities. Because you may be a passionate advocate for gun rights without any ambiguity but are you prepared to actually shoot and kill someone? Paper targets don’t scream or bleed, you cannot paralyse or cripple a target and if the thought of shooting someone excites you then you should contemplate what that says about you.

    A gun doesn’t insure you against violence, it determines the nature of the response. I have no particular opinion on rights, but I wanted to raise the issue of responsibilities

  19. You can buy firearms in Wal*Mart— why not at the 7 -11?

    There is no earthly reason for anyone who doesn’t hunt and is neither a member of the police force nor the military to have a gun in their possession. Gun Control = background checks, waiting period, mandatory classes for certificaton on gun safety and usage– who can argue with these requirements?

  20. I’m with you. Not all of us living here in the U.S. own guns, nor are we all in favour of them being widely owned. I’d prefer we had laws similar to those in the U.K.

    1. Awesome … for me I realised after I posted the post that actually I was trying to make a helpful suggestion … and yes good to know that it’s not like a wild west movie in the USA … it didn’t seem that way when I visited many moons ago, and a little more recently … generally I find Americans pretty cool …

  21. I have had more than one conversations with Americans about their gun laws. One person told me that the USA would be in anarchy if people did not have the right to have guns. As a Brit, i found that rather hilarious. I can call living in England many things, but anarchy is not one of them!

    Many americans i have spoken to disagree with me that a gun is designed to kill and nothing else. They claimed they like to shoot for fun. I said that i couldn’t understand how practicing how to kill someone could ever be considered fun. I got a lot of angry comments for that one!

    One person told me that people having guns in general isn’t the issue, they just have to stop giving guns to crazy people. I asked them if they could 100% guarantee that they would never ever ever have a break down and open fire on innocent people. They couldn’t. Nobody can. The USA’s gun laws aren’t so bad that they would go “Oh so you are a homicidal maniac? Cool! Here, have a gun!” But NOBODY knows what it takes to make any one person have a breakdown or go crazy. The best way to guarantee that a breakdown doesn’t end in a shootout is to not let people have guns. Simples!

    That self same American also told me that abortion is murder and one of the 10 commandments is “Thou Shalt Not Kill” so abortion should be banned, even in the event of the pregnancy being a phycial or psychological danger to the woman. However, he thinks it is perfectly okay to shoot and kill someone he thinks is a threat to his family. He says he is willing to go to hell to protect his loved ones. He should be allowed that right to choose but pregnant women should not have the right to make a similar choice. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” evidently only applies when it doesn’t risk his right to have a gun.

    1. LOL, pretty much sums it all up, and pretty much agree with you … couple of things :

      1. UK people do shoot for sport/recreation, for instance clay pigeon shooting. so “for fun” … hunting is moving off topic.
      2. Know what you mean about double standards and hypocrites … keeping it on topic, you can’t say on one hand “thou shalt not kill” and then kill … personally I’d say killing may be necessary in small number of extreme cases, like defending one’s loved ones …
      3. People like to be right and win arguments, I do love the ones that are easy to pick holes in like you illustrated !

      As for anarchy in the UK, wasn’t that the sex pistols most popular tune ? …

      I can semi-see the argument about anarchy, although I think that’s exaggerated for the purposes of trying to win an argument. Gun culture is heavily ingrained in American culture, so it would be a massive change for them that might feel like anarchy. But I think it’s probably way out of proportion !

  22. I think the going out after dark is more a cultural aspect rather than fear of crime. Perhaps even a ‘hang over’ from curfews implemented during the world war? Which still hangs large over peoples ways here.(in habits and movements) Having come here from South Africa, I feel EXTREMELY safe living here… I also feel fairly ‘tough’ as people DO fear weird little things over here… it is odd really the ‘fear people have and not sure quite where it comes from (though I have my theories and it is not crime that causes this fear in people)
    I KNOW the biggest problem I have is contending (MAYBE) with a knife wielding pre-teen thug… IF I go walk the streets of some of the rougher areas. In the majority of villages and towns… people walk their dogs or let their children play the streets till after dark. People do not have a problem allowing their children to go out alone (to a movie for instance) – though they may not do so themselves. (not that I necessarily agree with allowing kids out at night on their own for various OTHER reasons). Personally – I still find it hard sometimes to not look over my shoulder or to allow my kid to walk off alone… but maybe that is because of the high possibility I faced of being ‘accidentally’ killed in South Africa? When I lived there I felt I NEEDED to own a gun to defend myself (which I did not own) – however…chances of same gun being used against me were fairly high regarding the TYPE of people who were carrying weapons…they would have overpowered me in an instant. Would the solution there (South Africa) be for the public to carry guns to protect themselves – or for stricter gun control laws to be implemented so that criminals had a harder time getting hold of them? In my mind – if ALL South Africans could carry guns as they wished… their would be FULL OUT civil war… SOMEHOW stricter law enforcement needs adapting – and it starts with de arming the thugs. SO HOW do you determine WHO a thug is?
    Whether this applies to America or not – I cannot say as I have not lived there, I only wanted to put the point out that comparing cultures with a simple statement like ‘fear of walking after dark’ is simplifying a complex issue that is based on generational aspects, personality aspects and experiential aspects. Historical aspects speak larger. As in the data linked here in a comment referred to – culture and frame of mind have a lot to do with it all. One thing I DO know – is if there were NO guns… at all… if we STOPPED making them – people would not die. There could BE NO accidents. I would own a gun – if I HAD to fight a war. GUNS are for war… and even then… if they did not MAKE the damn things… *gosh darn it* (you know arms race =money – sell the population on the need for war and guns and blah blah)
    It is a highly complex and controversial issue. I think Don – you handled it well.

      1. …and of course… that is ALL – in an ideal world – which we do not live in. Reading Asariels comment about the freedom of a nation… one thing I THINK… is that a lot of the fear in UK is through the control factor. People ARE afraid of the kids here… but that is another whole story in itself and again..it is partially cultural – partially political. The dynamics are far to large to fundamentalise. That control aspect is in all nations…they just all do it differently. But I DO stand by…at the end of the day… it is TOO final and and TOO easy to pull the trigger. AND idealistically speaking… if the stupid things had never been invented…but that I guess.. is naive. At least with a knife you have a fighting chance.
        Little people with big weapons does not make big people. AND THAT is part of the problem… false security – leads to wrong actions…Cars don’t kill people… people driving like idiots kill people… AND sometimes there are REAL accidents – how fatal they are depends on the ‘weapon’ of choice. In a society so advanced with high speed everything… short of going backwards to when we rode ponies and had never left the planet and spears… we are in it and have to find a way to adapt our outlooks in society to allow freedom but also protect the innocent from villains and even themselves… So NO small feat then!!
        Oh, I can all too easily ‘argue’ both sides of this debate taking in all the dynamics… so I probably should leave it there now.
        Alrighty then.

    1. You’re welcome hun … and actually looking back I had a postive intent in my suggestions … I don’t live in US, so actually don’t have a massive feeling either way … if they want guns, it’s no problem for me … worry about the needless deaths …

      I think the “thug” kids are a social problem, that exists everywhere … the blame lies with the people responsible for them, their parents …

      As for the kids also, I feel that people are afraid in UK because they have little power to police them themselves … kids/teenagers can make all kinds of accusations, and then were is the adult ? … probably in a jail cell facing a charge … so kids do tend to get away with a lot …

      I know South Africa a little through movies and friends … and I gather it’s very rough in places … where a person is living in a very dangerous place, there’s a possible argument for guns … but where does it all end, “an eye for an eye, and the whole word is blind”

      1. Yip. On ALL accounts… like I said – can discuss both sides – and empathise both ways – as for the kids thing… yeah… it is a worry, created through basically tying peoples hands behind their backs….creating – fear. Could tell you some stories… as I am sure you could too.

  23. The report of a two-year-old child accidentally killing his mother with the properly licensed ‘concealed carry’ firearm in her handbag told me all I need to know about the wisdom of encouraging average citizens to carry deadly weapons for protection. That poor kid is going to be messed up for life.

    1. I traded the financial markets for nigh on 2 years, and that’s continuous stats and numbers … what I learnt was that stats are often, if not almost always, skewed to attempt to prove a point … and that they’re not that accurate for predicting the future !

      For me I’d want to see the raw data, and be sure that I trusted the source, do my own study, even gather my own stats, prior to reaching any conclusions on a statistical analysis 😀 … I’ve seen enough of other people’s numbers (and made financial decisions on them) to know I rarely trust them.

      It’s interesting that US appears in the middle of the first chart (homicides per capita) … and the author seems to be attempting to prove there’s no correlation between homicide rates and gun ownership rates in the rest of the article, although I don’t have time to today to fully digest.

      For me it’s more fundamental than that, other countries manage perfectly fine without firearms in the home and handbag, so why is US a special case ?

      UK wasn’t always so strict – I don’t remember exactly when, maybe 15 years ago, they had an amnesty period for people to volunteer their knives, swords and guns. After that expired you’d be looking at a prosecution for a blade longer than 3 inches in public, and almost definitely jail time for carrying a firearm without the proper paperwork.

      Like I said on my new year’s opinion post, I’m trying to give others more scope to express their opinion, but the skew here is that I do have an opinion too 😀 … so let me know what you’re thinking !

      D

      1. I’m like you, in that, I don’t have enough legit solid stats to prove to me that other countries “manage just fine” without guns in handbags and homes. I’ve visited the UK and the people there seemed more afraid to walk their quiet neighborhood streets after dark than I am in Memphis.

      2. LOL the UK people’s are a paranoid race, there’s a big nanny culture there and they’re easily shocked by trivial shit … so I can easily see that … something that becomes apparent once one travels away from there, or to a foreigner from a more laid back place seeing it for what it is 😀

        I’ve prepared stats myself, and know how all too easy it is to make a mistake or be tempted to skew for the purposes of being right … bias they call it in trading, and it’s a sure fire way to lose money …

      3. They all seemed afraid of the kids there. I mean I was so curious that I actually googled it when I got back. Seems that minus the guns the folks across the pond still manage to find creative ways to kill each other. LOL My life has taught me a lot about violence and what humanity is capable of. I have owned guns, I don’t now but I will again. My sister kept her life because she had a gun to defend it in her backwoods home an hours drive away from the closest neighbor. My cousin lost hers because she didn’t in a large city waiting for the police to arrive. My niece killed herself with a gun in her bedroom over a boy. I held a gun on a man who deserved to die, I didn’t have the guts to kill him, he’s hurt too many others because I let him live. I should have killed him. Life is full of what ifs. My overall view is that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. What it all boils down to is how much freedom a nation is willing to give up in pursuit of the illusion of safety. I’m not willing to give up anymore than they can pry away from me.

      4. What and the American kids are the model of virtue ? … pull the other one … absolutely no way you’re gonna convince me on that … not in a million years ! … starting to come across as a little anti-British, whilst I agree no-one’s perfect, I wasn’t aiming for a game of one-upmanship US vs UK … we’ll do that later on an opinion post if you like …

        It’s possible to kill someone with a pen … just that it’s easier with a gun … which I think is pretty much the point of why guns are in question here, not ball point pens …

        You’ve shared some experiences, I don’t know the history, so wouldn’t be fair for me to comment too much. Sorry to hear about your niece, that’s tragic.

        However no one person has the right to decide on another person’s life – murder is the most heinous of crimes in just about every civilised society. A person however “bad” still deserves the same justice as the rest of us. THANKFULLY I MIGHT add because at least if I was wrongly accused I have a hope of justice being correctly served.

        SELF-APPOINTED JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER … you’ve never persuade me on that, either 😀

        And guns do kill people, it’s people that actually do the killing, the same people that can kill with a pen or an ice pick 😀

        Those that love to dwell on the semantics would probably say it’s technically the bullet … but that’s really just being pedantic.

      5. Not anti-UK, I’ve only had the one visit after all and there are many nations with restrictive laws. I am strongly anti-nanny state though. As I said the gist of it for me is how much I’m willing to trade for the illusion of security and that’s not much. 🙂 As to judge jury and executioner… that man was fond of torturing little children if I had killed him it would have stopped my nightmare and that of many other kids unfortunate enough to fall into his hands so we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

      6. Well the nanny state is usually in place to help the weakest most vulnerable in out societies … what I’m against is too many decisions being made for people, so they stop thinking for themselves … so it’s an element of the nanny-state.

        I had a friend who was badly abused as a child. He got into drugs and petty crime, whilst raising a family. (I didn’t get involved in the drugs or the crime BTW). We always liked each other, possibly because I’m quite empathic, I don’t know I always liked him he always liked me. I hadn’t seen him in years, and his wife contacted me to tell me he’d committed suicide in prison. I never asked him about what happened to him, and his abuse was at the hands of relatives. His life was truly rotten, he could never find much happiness, occasional break from the pain in drugs and eventually took his own life. Within all that I don’t feel a murderous rage to kill his abusers. They should have been punished by justice system, but they never were. Vigilantism isn’t an answer, it’s utterly unstabling to any society …

        I’m completely opposed to cruelty to children, which is verging off topic, and I already warned you I don’t have background on it. And nothing I can do personally to solve the situation.

        The problem with vigilantism is that first we allow people to execute others for hurting children. Then what’s next? Government give away guns in 7-11 to men who’s wives have cheated on them OR wives who’s husbands have cheated on them … Shoot the bus driver because he was rude to you … someone shoots me because I didn’t say hello to them …

        I watched a movie called “The Purge” … that was a very scary picture of how things might be like … a kind of organised vigilantism …

        Civilised societies have justice systems, so that we don’t walk around with guns killing people because they were rude to us or whatever we think they did to us …

        So whilst I hear you that you’re very angry, shooting the guy doesn’t solve the problem. It’d mean you’d spend a long time in jail, probably on a murder 1 and your family and friends would lose an important part, an important person in their lives. That’s not a happy or healthy ending for the others who depend on you and care about you.

        For these reasons – I don’t agree that that’s a justification for firearms being readily available to anyone that wants one.

      7. I’m not angry, got past angry long ago. I simply go by my simple logic in that if I had killed him while he was in the act of abuse I would have been a small child clearly beaten and raped and it would have been considered self defense. Doing so at the time would have stopped him from abusing others. I should have killed him then. I have no desire to kill him now but I won’t cry when he dies. Still, like you said it’s not really the issue.
        I don’t like the idea of handing off freedoms like gun ownership, I don’t think keeping our freedoms needs any justification. We will disagree on gun control it’s ok with me to disagree, it never angers me when folks disagree with me. It simply is what it is.

      8. Bottom line for me is actually I don’t care either way what you guys do in the states, I don’t live there – so totally happy to disagree or agree it’s not personally an issue for me anyway. Looking back at writing the post, I had a positive intent in suggesting that there’s “another way”, which is all that matters to me.

        What I get from discussing on these opinion posts is a lot of knowledge (and wisdom ?) I didn’t have before, EVERY TIME. So that’s the real gain for me. It’s a real unexpected benefit and privilege … well 99% of the time, some people just want to argue for the sake of hostility ! My spam queue swallows them up whole – these days I don’t even bother warning people, they should have read my disclaimer.

        I empathise with the frustration, and seeming lack of justice. However I do need to steer topics on topic, otherwise it’s just a free-for-all, which I’ve seen other bloggers having to delete the whole post. So partly my role is a moderator too.

        We weren’t all that keen on it in the UK either, freedom is VERY VALUABLE, as anyone who’s in jail would attest. BUT it was for the greater good, and I feel Australia and UK are safer happier places as a consequence of guns being banned for ordinary citizens.

        Good to talk … way way past my bed time, so I bid you adieu 😀

    2. PS there’s no “death sentence” in the UK, was abolished long time ago … ironically the last man to be hanged in UK was later found to be innocent from what I understand.

      1. As a Brit, I find the original comment laughable. I walk around alone in the dark on a regular basis and i have lived in the country and in large towns/cities. I am not afraid of kids in the street. I am not afraid to walk home alone from the pub after a night out. I have never had any issues. I talk to random strangers in the street, in lifts, on the bus etc with no fear of attack or retribution. Londoners look at you like you have two heads when you do it but sometimes they can be cajoled into a chat. Maybe i just have a deathwish or something but i sure as hell wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that in America. I think these things are relative. You see what you want, and believe what you want. No matter who you are and where you life.

        Also, Pens and ice picks have alternative uses. Guns are for killing. What other non violent uses do they have? None.

      2. @Naomi Harvey … that pretty much mirrors my general experience in London too … and hope I bump into you one day on the tube, NOW THAT WOULD BE A REFRESHING CHANGE !

    3. First time I have ever seen Puerto Rico called its own separate country. It should be part of the US and treated as such. Also, it appears that almost all of Europe is not included, is there a reason for that? Its a rather skewed picture that is drawn when you start comparing the US with countries such as Honduras, etc where violence is so rampant. It would be much more accurate to show the US in comparison to Europe, etc.

  24. Omg, ban them! There is.no need, NO NEED at all for.ordinary citizens to have assault rifles! I can’t understand this power.struggle we have for gun control. Some people don’t even like the idea of.background checks, thats so sad! We are indeed a country of contradictions, hey sex sells but a womans nipples are.evil on television. Come on!!

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