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While those who would like to see more regulation are obviously very passionate and committed to making our society a safer better place, they often speak with such a profound lack of understanding about firearms that it not only infuriates gun owners, worse, it makes it impossible for the gun owner to take the speaker seriously. I am not talking about things like confusing magazines with clips, I am talking about a fundamental lack of understanding about how firearms work, what they can and can not do. Gun Rights supporters tend to come across as insensitive asses who appear to have no grasp on how truly horrific these mass shootings are which completely infuriates those seeking stricter regulation of firearms and leaves them feeling vulnerable and under attack. There is so much hyperbole and hostility on both sides that it creates a situation where it becomes impossible to communicate and seek compromise. And for me, that is the part I find most infuriating...
Somewhere between 27K and 32K people will die by firearms this year. Half of these will be people who take there own lives. This leaves us with about 15K who will be the victims of a firearms related homicides, accidents, or killed by police. Maybe a couple hundred of these fatalities will be caused by persons with a semi-automatic rifles. Thousands will be caused by handguns. This mass shooting thing is terrible, but, it tends to direct our focus and keep our attention on these horrific 1 time events which prevents us from looking at and understanding the totality of the issues we need to address as a society. The issue is not just guns. It is Guns, mental health, poverty, education...
There are simply no objective scientific studies looking at firearms use across the spectrum in our society. The closest thing we have to a real objective study is the data gathered by the FBI and the census bureau for the department of justice which indicates firearms are used defensively about 200k times a year and about 15K people are murdered each year with firearms. We simply do not have an intelligent, nuanced, dispassionate understanding of this issue. Crafting intelligent solutions requires a solid understanding of the issue being addressed. One more time, we really need to stop reacting emotionally and instead seek an intelligent understanding of the issue that is built on a foundation of real data which will facilitate the sort of proactive action that will, hopefully, limit tragedies like Orlando and Sandy Hook. To support my point here, let me offer you "The Patriot Act."
Seven Days limits comments to 300 words, so this comment is going to be a little broken up…
OK, First, if we look at the issue of "Assault Weapons" it is a red herring. The reality, is that based on the FBI's own numbers, you are more likely to be beaten to death than you are to be killed with a semi-automatic rifle, or, any rifle for that matter. The issue is handguns. 98% and change of all homicide deaths are from handguns. Anyone who tries to tell me they are anti-gun and immediately starts banging on about the need to ban assault weapons makes it instantly obvious they do not have a good grasp on the issue. Yes, I get it, an AR-15 makes it easier to kill many people in a crowd, it is scary looking gun. The one and only salient issue with the AR-15, is that it accepts a detachable magazine. If we were to ban the AR-15 and take them all off the street tomorrow, the same mass shooting could still happen the next day, why, because the non-military looking Ruger Ranch rifle, or for that matter any number of semi-automatic weapons capable of accepting a detachable magazine could be used just as easily.
One of the unfortunate realities of a "free" society, is that people have the freedom to make bad choices, as well as, good choices. In much the same way a "good" decision can have an impact on not only the decision maker, nearby people and potentially society at large, the same is true of bad decisions.
The true test of a persons commitment to the constitution and concept of a free society is not found in how vigorously they defend the rights of those with whom they agree, it is found in the defense of the rights of those with whom one disagrees.
One thing, in particular, which I find very interesting in all of this, is the very people who should be most cognizant of the constitution and rule of law are the same people pushing a "solution" that is so blatantly unconstitutional. Sounds like a fail to me.