December 15, 2017

Promoting Common Sense Restrictions On Guns

Second Amendment - the right to bear arms. Photo by Owen Haworth.

By Eric Kinyon ’19
Contributor

Any conversation about gun control must begin with an acknowledgement that there is no realistic scenario where guns will actually be banned in the United States. Indeed almost all interested participants in this discussion openly say that they have no intention of taking guns away from Americans.

Therefore, the debate for any realistic American thinker is merely about how many and what kinds regulations should be placed on guns.

At first glance, this seems to be common sense. Guns are after all, very dangerous and therefore should have as many safety precautions placed on them as possible. Moreover, America today is plagued by record levels of gun related violence.

Suicide rates have skyrocketed in the United States as young men now kill themselves in droves, and guns are involved in 50% of successful suicides. Places like, Chicago, Baltimore, and Atlanta all face resurging levels of gun violence as well.

There will never be a better time to place reasonable restrictions on firearms than now, but what should those restrictions be?

Usually the first restriction heard is that we need to close the gun show loophole. Democrats often talk about how there is a huge loop in our laws where it is possible for anyone to go to a gun show and buy a firearm with no background checks.

This is not true. All non-private vendors at these events must conduct background checks and see valid licenses.

If asked about this, politicians will say that by talking about the gun show loophole, they are really using it as a vehicle to talk about private transactional loopholes, which are under the counter exchanges between two non-licensed individuals. Now we come closer to the heart of the issue as we must deal with the issue of universal background checks.

The idea is simple; any time an individual sells a gun to another individual, it should go through a background check system that checks for history of mental illness and past felonies.  

However over half of guns used that are illegally trafficked are initially bought by ‘straw buyers’’; these are individuals who pass all federal and state restrictions and then pass on the firearm to a third party.

What needs to happen, then, must be a large registry of gun ownership that can track the original buyer of the gun so that their network can be discovered. Except this is also ineffective because state registrations are notoriously hard to coordinate. Plus the Supreme Court has ruled it constitutionally illegal to require a federal registry as a result of the Fifth Amendment.

Legal private sales don’t often matter either because the guns that cross state borders are often gained from the black market or merely borrowed from friends or family.

The list of ideas goes on but in each situation there is an obvious problem. No-fly list bans are hard to enforce and are constitutionally questionable. “Assault” rifle bans are unnecessary as civilians are only allowed to have modified machine guns from before 1986 as long as they undergo a rigorous background check, and magazine restrictions don’t work.

The evidence for gun control simply isn’t there. Now that I’ve spoken about why I am against gun control, let me tell you why I am for gun proliferation.

I am for guns because they stop crimes.

The Justice Department’s research has shown that over 67,000 crimes are stopped by gun owners every year. That’s remarkable.

I am for guns because they protect women. Guns allow women to equalize a conflict against aggressors whether they are a mugger, rapist, or mass shooter.

I am for guns because they can stop mass shootings as in the case of the recent mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Finally, I am especially for guns because I am against the culture divide in America between the upper class cosmopolitan cities who despise guns, not only as a result of their perceived danger, but due to their fear and ignorance in regards to their rural counterparts.

How many people who are for gun control have even held a gun? Many that I have met rarely even know the difference between a clip and a magazine.

If gun control is to be based upon “common sense,” then it should also be built upon firm research and policy that works.

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