Posted by: coastcontact | June 20, 2015

The Right to Bear Arms

It doesn’t make any difference whether mass killings are called “a form or terrorism” or “a “hate crime.” The victims are dead or seriously injured. Americans live in a country that permits the use of guns to kill people. The argument that “it’s people who kill people, it’s the not guns who do the killing” is simply another way of defending gun ownership.

There really is only one reason to own a gun and that is to protect yourself from violence. Relying on the police won’t work since they can’t arrive at any destination in seconds. I know you may argue that shooting at a target is fun and collecting weapons is a hobby and you would be correct if there was little chance that those weapons would ever be used to kill or maim.  The problem is that hundreds of people are killed annually because of hate rather than for protection.  No other industrial country in the world has a gun related death rate near the rate of the United States.

Cross the border into Canada and you are stopped by their border patrol and asked if you have any weapons in your car. They search your car trunk and your suitcases to confirm your words. The record is clear. Canadian deaths from weapons is about 2.22 per 100,000 people. In the United States the rate is 10.64 (2013).

The killing of nine Black people in a church is no different from the killing of audience members of a movie theater in Colorado or Sikh’s in their temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“If only those people had been armed” is the argument offered by the NRA (National Rifleman’s Association). They would have had the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School carrying a sidearm to protect themselves and the children.

In other words we should behave like an old west movie with everyone prepared to draw a weapon.

What is more astonishing is that our congress lacks the will to stop the killing. The right to bear arms grew out of a concern that the government might become tyrannical to the point where the public feared for their freedom.

The argument is not supportable in the 21st century. The weapons the government has in its possession are unavailable to the public. An armed insurrection is not possible today unless part of the army itself decided to start a rebellion.

I keep hearing our politicians tell us that the United States is the greatest country in the world. On what basis do they make that statement?  There is no more freedom here than in other western nations.  Guns have never helped to preserve our freedom except in war.


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