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newtown connecticut
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Time To Change Gun Laws, Or Is It?
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Time to Change Gun Laws, Or is It?

Before I start I must declare that I am not American and I do not live in the USA. So for those of you reading this that do or are, please do not take these comments as anything more than an outsiders view. This issue is for Americans to debate and decide upon and therefore my comments are exactly that and not someone else telling you what to do. I am a parent and have watched on the news too many times tragedies reported involving gun use, which has not been targeted at others using guns but at children and out of frustration feel it is time that something was done.

As a parent I want to pass on my sympathies to all those affected by the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy and similar tragedies before it, all over the world.

I do not own a firearm, or want to own one. If offered the use of a rifle or shotgun in appropriate circumstances I will enjoy the experience. In principle I have nothing for or against gun use.

Whenever there are mass killings which involve children there is a “rush” by the media and those that “feed” the media to get involved. Quickly those on either side of the debate start promoting or defending their positions, debate becomes polarised and soon returns to the normal position of “this many for” and “this many against” and nothing happens.

Sometimes when there are debates about any subject which result in split groups for or against it requires an outside view to influence those involved.

It is a sad and sorry fact that events such as Newtown take place all over the world. Thankfully they do not happen all the time but it does seem as though it is not an issue for any particular country to deal with or society to find explanations for. It is understandable that after each incident the town, city, region, or country concerned looks inward and tries to find an explanation for what happened and then react to stop it happening again. But whilst that is understandable is it right?

The USA is a huge country with multiple ethnic groups and over 350 million people. It is a shame to reduce what has happened to statistics but there a few numbers which seem relevant. I have seen figures quoted of 90 firearms in the USA for every 100 citizens. Even allowing for exaggeration and inaccuracies it is fair to say that there are a huge number of firearms of all shapes and sizes in the USA. They are on the whole legally owned and laws exist to make sure that controls are in place. From what I have observed whenever and where-ever tragedies occur one of the first facts revealed is that the firearms involved were all legally owned where regulations exist. The sad fact is that this is true of all countries where tragedies like this happen.

The United Kingdom has gun laws which mean that only those that need them for their lifestyle or work, for example farmers or firearms related sportsmen, have permits to use a gun. Even the police have only a limited number of officers which are permitted to carry firearms. The vast majority of nearly 60 million British people have never held a firearm never mind have any idea what to do with it for real. Even so the United Kingdom still has had its gun related tragedies, where someone in legal possession of firearms had gone crazy and attacked the youngest and most defenceless members of society.

Norway is a country where like the USA many own firearms. Their population is both a very small fraction of the USA and a fraction of the United Kingdom and until recently have never experienced anything on the scale of what happened in Newtown. But it did and when it did over 87, mainly children died. Once again someone who thought they had a “good reason” went on a killing spree.

The sad fact is that it has nothing to do with the number of people in society that own guns but more the number of people who are mentally unstable for whatever reason. It only takes one and the results are devastating.

So before anyone goes rushing to ban firearms, that does not solve the problem. It may make a difference but how do you measure it? When someone has lost a son or daughter you can not compare numbers that one man in Norway killed or one man in USA killed, and so on.

The issue is more about stopping those who for whatever reason do not feel part of day to day society with either extremist views or suffer from mental instability. It is those that need to be identified and prevented from having access to firearms. I am sorry to say that even then the problem will only be reduced and not eradicated. Blanket bans never work. Even in countries where firearms use is tightly controlled the problem still exists.

So before there is mad panic to ban or restrict on mass the use of firearms please do not forget that unfortunately a very, very small percentage of society will always do something abhorrent as far as the rest of society is concerned. The USA has 350+ million people and therefore will have more of them than most. I say this not because of “rights” to bear arms but because banning the “masses” is targeting the wrong people. Whatever you decide to do make sure it will prevent the right people from having access to the wrong firearms or firearms at all.


Street Talk

Very good article. this will be debated forever I believe, and there is no easy solution.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thanks for the comment. Interesting watching the news so far. There seems to be common ground that both sides can work towards. Reducing the different types of categories would seem a good idea but what do you do with all the ones already in circulation. This may be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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