Not Disarming: Just Reducing the Carnage from Guns
The US has a deeply embedded gun culture beginning from its very founding as a nation from war, armies, and guns. As such gun ownership has become and will remain an integral part of the culture of large swaths of US society with a negligible probability of elimination. This week’s contribution @VijayViolet — a place for ideas — comes from Dr. Hari M.
Even in the Northeastern US, which is densely urban and mostly liberal, I have many gun owning friends who couldn’t fathom their guns being taken away by legislation. I have conversed with them often about guns and gun culture and, to a person, they are highly responsible with gun safety paramount in their ownership/gun usage.
With that as backdrop, the real question at least to me comes down to what steps can this society take to attempt far less carnage on its streets. Whether it is in “big cities/Chicago” (which I will note serves as code for black America for some), or schools, churches, suburbia, (which represents the chest-beating concern of most everyone else), we see ZERO meaningful action post the highly predictable noise/outrage after an “event”. While the focus of the right is on illegal gun possession, the left aims for gun modification, regulations to inhibit ownership, etc. The concerns on both sides are real!
I believe that this society, given its gun predilections, will never be able to get to zero gun-related deaths. Essentially, we need to find ways to make legal gun ownership less dangerous by (a) reducing the number of them per individual as well as, (b) the killing power of any individual weapon while at the same time, (c) make illegal gun possession much more severely punished. With regulations of the ilk below we surely ought to be able to reduce the deaths per incident:
(1) Eliminate the ability for ordinary citizens to buy assault rifles and for manufacturers to sell them to individuals.
(2) Make it illegal for anyone to modify arms into armamentaria.
(3) Generally, find ways to add “friction” to gun ownership such as increasing the costs for every additional weapon with a sort of a marginal gun tax, or creating a need to annually renew an ownership license per gun, or maybe even limit the number of guns any one individual can buy (I’m not sure that’s constitutional, though!). It’s about adding a discouraging societal nudge, if you will, to gun ownership, the opposite of the “encouraging” nudge like an automatic 401-K withdrawal.
(4) Significantly increase penalties for illegal gun possession.
(5) Buy back guns as other nations have done to the societal benefit.
The first 3 points address the concerns of the left, the fourth (and there surely are additional ways I haven’t thought of), addresses concerns of those on the right, and the final one could be a universal good. It is incredibly disheartening to see zero productive dialog on ANY of these types of efforts and in the meanwhile, carnage continues. We MUST, all of us, begin locally. We cannot wait for action from above.
Finally, re mental illness. I think this is baloney! We don’t have any more mental illness per capita than any other country in the world. The USA is not an outlier on mental illness, we’re an outlier on access to firearms for criminals and sick people both of whom can relatively easily get their arms on firearms. That’s it! Stop being this outlier and we can return to some semblance of normalcy.
Readers, hope you can find some normalcy and enjoyment this Memorial Day weekend, as abnormal as the unfolding events around us are!
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