Gun Control: Looking In All The Wrong Places

Gun Control: Looking In All The Wrong Places

  Proposed gun control legislation, by whichever and whomever, and whether sincere or insincere, will do little to deter a repeat of the Sandy Hook shooting and nothing to stop the bloodshed in the major cities and some smaller communities as well. The proposed laws and the rhetoric is a bit like losing your glasses in an alley but going to Main street to look for them because the light is better.

  In this case, it is the Sandy Hook killings that provide the light for those already seeking to curtail the gun trade and consequent ownership in the U.S. It's an obvious emotional stimulant to the discussion particularly if combined with the Aurora, Colo. shooting. Even if one concedes that the concerns about the 2nd Amendment are valid, the question is whether any new legislation addresses the problems. In my opinion, the answer is "no".

  The two major causes of gun deaths, outside of suicide which accounts for two-thirds of the 31,000 deaths a year, are mental illness and criminal activity. Nothing proposed yet solves these two problems. Universal background checks will uncover only that which is known. Privacy laws and doctor-patient confidentiality are no small barriers to obtaining meaningful information. To force revelation of all psychiatric problems to the government, is the ultimate privacy invasion. Besides, it should be noted that police were notified about the shooter's problems before the shooting and did nothing. The point is that we no longer hospitalize the chronically mental ill.

  Furthermore, the real slaughter is occurring daily in our cities' ghettos where gun ownership is mostly illegal and part of the barrier to dealing with this is political correctness. Take a look at Chicago where there were more than 4,000 homicides by gun between 2004 and 2011. Seventy-five percent of the victims were African-American and 20 percent Hispanic. Sixty-one per cent of the shooters were African-American and 35 percent Hispanic. Talk about a problem that does not have anything to do with 99.9 per cent of the legal gun owners in the United States. 

  As for suicides, the 20,000 deaths by gun are truly tragic. Yet, the rate of suicides in the U.S. and Canada, which has very strict gun laws, is nearly identical. Guns do make it easier, but not having a gun doesn't preclude suicide. Again, a mental health issue.

  Finally, as for accidental deaths, guns with 600 a year, rank well below others. Here are a few: drowning, 2,000; choking, 2,500; fire, 2,700; falls, 26,000; vehicles, 33,000; poisoning 39,000 of which 33,000 were drug overdoses. Some of these figures may vary depending on the source. In this case, the source was the National Safety Council.

  No, I'm not advocating arming everyone and free-for-all gun battles. I'm just saying that laws that curtail the freedoms and interest of 99 per cent of the gun owners to reach a small percentage of criminals or the mentally ill neither of which cares about obeying the law, is absurd.