Isn’t it time America ditched the guns?

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This is what the second amendment of the United States Bill of Rights says. This was adopted, along with the rest of the bill of rights, on the 15th December 1791. Two hundred and twenty one years ago.
Obviously, like everyone else, my heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and all those connected with the recent horrific shootings in Connecticut. This latest tragedy is sadly another in a long line of such tragedies.
I am an Englishman who lives in a country where there is strict gun control; where our police force mostly do not carry guns, simply because they do not need them most of the time. It seems painfully obvious and logical to me that if you have less guns you will have less senseless death. Most in Europe would agree with this and we cannot understand the logic of America resisting gun control.
I will try to be clear because I know that this post will create controversy amongst some American readers. I am not arguing that gun control is the only solution to such tragedy. It is true that we have gun crime in the UK. It is also true that addressing mental health issues is needed to try to curb such murderous intent. It is also true that we should think carefully about how our societies often glamourise violence and gang culture. All of these need addressing but, for me, controlling guns is the obvious first step.
What I am arguing is that it is patently obvious that if you have less guns you will have less murder. The shooter in Connecticut would not have been able to slaughter so many innocent children without access to guns and ammunition. Neither would the perpetrators at Columbine or any of the other recent shootings in the USA. Any figures you care to look at show that less guns mean less murder. For example:

United States firearm related deaths per 100,000 population in a year equals 9. In the UK the rate is 0.22.

As a European I cannot understand the mindset of those who argue that it should be the right of ordinary citizens to own guns. What is the purpose of such a thing?
For me the 2nd Amendment doesn’t even argue this. It argues for a “Well regulated Militia,” – a ‘Militia’ implies a group of people – citizens – trained to defend a state, perhaps from foreign invasion (e.g to defend against us – the British). I am well aware that congress has interpreted the 2nd Amendment to mean that individuals can own guns but was that really the original intention back in 1791? The US has well trained armed forces and police forces to defend itself. Therefore Militias are redundant.
Some will argue that you need an armed citizenry to defend against a possible tyrannical government. But, like European nations, America has the ballot box and the option of peaceful protest when it finds those in power distasteful. Armed civil war would and should not be a desirable option; just look at Syria right now.
I apologise if my opinions offend any of my American readers; that is not my intention. We are lucky to live in countries where free speech, opinion and dissent are allowed. I do not mean to preach but it all seems so logical and obvious to me.
So be brave America; it’s time to ditch the guns.
I will finish with a quote from one of my heroes; Thomas Paine. Paine was an Englishman who was instrumental in the birth of the USA and the American War of Independence. I am an Englishman who grew up in his birthplace and went to the same school that he did. This quote is from his revolutionary pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ and surely now it must be time for common sense to prevail; less guns equals less death. The children of Connecticut deserve no less than common sense. As Paine rightly said:

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.”

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Thomas Paine

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© 2012 Simon Poore

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8 thoughts on “Isn’t it time America ditched the guns?

  1. I agree 100% and did a similar post back in April. Like the UK, Australia has strict gun control. Not only is the homicide death rate significantly less than the USA’s, but for people who argue that murderers will just turn to knives instead – well, yes, perhaps, but I was fascinated to learn you have an 85% better chance of survival if knifed to the heart rather than shot to the heart! So even if people do turn to knives, there are still likely to be fewer deaths.

  2. They outlawed whiskey, and the bad guys had plenty of whiskey. They’ve outlawed drugs, and the bad guys have plenty of drugs. If they outlaw guns, the bad guys will have plenty of guns, and the good guys will have no way to defend themselves. Don’t bury the guns. Bury the criminals.

    1. It is true what you say that there will always be people who want to do bad things. And there will always be people prepared to break the law.
      This is true here in the UK as well as it is in the USA. The difference here is that it is much much more difficult for them to access guns here. Yes, there are some determined criminals who get guns illegally; this is true. But gun crime is far smaller here because guns are actually in short supply.
      In the USA guns are relatively easy buy legally and there are lots of them, which makes them easy to steal. If you make it easy for criminals then what do you expect to happen?
      No offence but I do feel that you missed the point of this post my friend…

  3. Simon, I grew up with firearms in the home. They were hunting rifles that were used to procure food for our family. The rifles were stored properly in a locked cabinet and as a child I only saw and handled them under supervision from one of my parents. Many people in America still hunt as a means to put meat on their tables. There are many areas in the US that are very rural and the cost of beef is much more than the cost of venison. I do support these people’s right to hunt. I do not conceal carry a firearm personally, but I do not have a problem with those that choose to. I have lived through city riots where having a firearm meant the difference between safety and having your home or business looted and burned to the ground. There were no police available during these times and it was many days before the national guard was called in to help bring about the peace. During this time, there were many shop owners that used automatic weapons to defend their stores from the looters. Those that had weapons did not lose their shops, those that did not have weapons lost a great deal. I am filled with sorrow about what happened to those poor children in Connecticut and I do believe that new policies need to be found to help prevent this from happening again, but I do not believe that more gun control is the answer. When this boy went to buy a gun in order to do murder, the present day laws prevented him from obtaining a weapon on two separate occasions. Connecticut has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. The laws worked as intended. In the end, he stole the guns from his parent. Had his mother locked up her weapons as most gun owners do, this tragedy would have been prevented. Mental illness is as much to blame for this horrible incident as anything else. I offer this rebuttal to you respectfully. I understand how you might have a different viewpoint being an Englishman and living in a different culture than we do here in America.

  4. In the last century, American guns liberated the people of Japan, China, Great Britian (twice), France (twice), defeated the governments of Germany (twice), etc . etc. Civilian gun ownership threw off the brutish British rule here, and an armed citizenry would do it again if necessary. Murders still occur in all those countries, but all those countries still depend on the might of America to defend their own freedom. The number who abuse guns is tiny compared to the number who own them, and we do not punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty.

    1. American ‘military’ guns HELPED to liberate the countries you mention not civilian guns. (Oh and by the way, you never ‘liberated’ Britain as we were never invaded. And the jury is out on the US late influence on WW1).
      My argument is simple; less guns means less opportunity for fatality. That is a simple fact, born out by the figures, no one can rationally argue against that…
      There seems to be a feeling somehow that its ‘patriotic’ to have guns in the US, which seems very odd from where I sit.
      Also, if the population doesn’t like those that govern you have two options; 1. The ballot box, vote for those you trust and like, if they don’t exist stand for office yourself.
      2. If democracy isn’t working then take to the streets with peaceful civil disobedience. This can be highly effective (read about ghandi in India).
      You don’t actually need guns to remove a government. You just need popular will.
      My last question is this: Are you really defending ‘freedom’? Or are you defending the freedom of very powerful US multi-national companies to make profits for the few? How free is a country that only has two very similar political parties to choose from?

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