Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A few observations

After a mass shooting in Australia the Australian government implemented stringent gun controls, leading to a huge drop in both homicide and suicide by firearms.

After a mass school shooting similar to that at Sandy Hook, the British government banned the private ownership of handguns altogether. Since then, gun-related deaths have fallen, though it took a few years for the controls to begin to bite.

I have a friend who lives in the USA. She grew up on a farm, constantly around firearms, and had no problem with that. Guns were for shooting rattlesnakes, or coyotes, or badly-injured livestock. What they weren't for was taking to the shopping mall, or the football game, or the office, or the school. She would no more have packed a gun in urban Denver than she would have carried round a seed drill.

Yes, there are legitimate uses for guns. You may even argue that defense of your home is such a use (surely the only possible legitimate use for a handgun?) Carrying your gun into someone else's home or workplace, it seems to me, is just flying a flag that says "inadequate psycho guy". The only legitimate use for sniper rifles and assault weapons is a military one, so why allow them in private hands at all? Private citizens aren't allowed to buy an F-16: why would they need an M-16?

And I have never seen any convincing argument at all for not requiring permits for guns and ammunition, and background checks before getting a permit. Prove you can be trusted with a gun and you can have one. I know, I know, the importance of a well-armed militia, blah, blah: so when you're assembling your Minutemen to fight the invading hordes do you really want the drooling nutter who was just released from jail standing behind you with an M4 carbine?

So I welcome President Obama's initiative and hope it leads to some real improvements.

Incidentally, did you know that Andy Murray (winner of Olympic gold and the US Open) was a pupil at Dunblane when the massacre took place? Fortunately he wasn't in the gym.

UPDATE:

It wouldn't surprise me if this woman turned out to be an NRA activist making the point that "guns don't kill people - people do". Still, good luck with the concealed carry lwas and your 2-foot sword, missus.

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