This blog explores the contemporary political and cultural trends from a distinct perspective
America's love for guns
Published on January 17, 2011 By Bahu Virupaksha In Blogging

Judge Richard Bork, a conservative in his judicial pronouncements, said the the second ammendment  guaranteed the "right of states to form militias, not for individual to bear arms".

I want to share some statistics. Source: Time (international edition) Jan 24, 2011 p29.

In one year 31,224 people die of gun related violence.

12,632 die of homicide by the use of  a gun.

100,000 are shot in the USA every year in murders, assaults, suiicides, and police action.

683 children kill themselves every year  by guns.

3,067 children and teenagers are killed every year.

17,352 people kill themselves every year with a weapon.

351 are shot in police intervention.

With such statistics it is time for some serious thought.

The right of self defence which is usually cited as the reason for having the right to bear arms is hardly relevant as only 1% of gun related deaths happen in self defence. George Bush made a firm commitment to ban assault weapons. However in 2004 he let the issue just fade away. Even Denmocrats, who have traditionally been way of the gun culture, do not want to bait the NRA by coming out openly for gun control. After every outrage there is public anger, but soon it is back to normal. Even in the recent memorial speech at Tucson, President Barack Obama did not even mention gun control. In fact it was the Democrats who let the Brady Bill fall by the wayside.

Unfortunately even rational well intentioned changes in the law to regulate the sale of guns is presented as if tyranny is in the offing and only a guin stands between dictatorship and liberty. Unfortunately even the Representaive from Arizona did not advocate firm measures to control guns.

The background checks are ineffective as gun dealwers do not have the means to conduct a background check. At least. to begin with small weapons which can be carried on the person, concealed weapons, may be regulated to start with. Nobody is calling for draconial laws, but restrictions on the sale of guns is needed.

I heard President Obama and hence I am not placing my argument in any context that may suggest a partisan position.

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 17, 2011

Judge Richard Bork, a conservative in his judicial pronouncements, said the the second ammendment  guaranteed the "right of states to form militias, not for individual to bear arms".

I do wonder. If the second ammendment is what Richard Bork says it is, then what part of the constution would allow government to regulate gun ownership at all?

In the US, all rights that have not explicitly been transferred by a constitution to the state, remain with the individual. (Similarly all rights not explicitly transferred by the federal constitution to the federal government remain with the states.)

The way I read the second amendment is that it allows government to regulate ownership of weapons so that it is guaranteed that free citizens can still form a "well regulated" (means "well equipped" in 1800 English) militia.

But if as you say the second amendment merely talks about states' rights, it wouldn't affect individuals at all and ownership of all types of weapons would be legal because there would be nothing in the constitution granting the government any power to interfere with individual weapon ownership.

For example, nuclear weapons are not necessary to form a militia and hence government can prohibit ownership of those. But hand guns are certainly militia weapons.

 

 


In one year 31,224 people die of gun related violence.

Compare this to Europe where many more die per year in wars. Perhaps European countries shouldn't be allowed to have armies.

OTOH American gun ownership seems to be pretty safe. The number you quote is less of a tenth of the average number of deaths per year caused by European wars over the last 100 years.

on Jan 17, 2011

In the US, all rights that have not explicitly been transferred by a constitution to the state, remain with the individual. (Similarly all rights not explicitly transferred by the federal constitution to the federal government remain with the states.)

Good point.  But to add an addendum - the statement about militias in the second amendment is a pre-amble. In other words, just an example of why the founders felt the need to put in the constitution the right to carry arms, not the sole justification of it.

Compare this to Europe where many more die per year in wars. Perhaps European countries shouldn't be allowed to have armies.

Europe?  Stay right here in the US.  There are almost 200k deaths each year from medical malpractice.  By Bahu's logic, we should outlaw doctors.  That would save 200k a year, right?

on Jan 17, 2011

People like Bahu think just taking guns away from legal citizens will just make theses numbers go away.  Do you think that banning guns from lawful citizens will stop the criminals (ya know people who break the law) from obtaining guns?

 

 

on Jan 17, 2011

With such statistics it is time for some serious thought.
"

[In 2005] There were 6, 420,000 auto accidents.

42,636 people were killed.

About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States -

- one death every 13 minutes."

 ~http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/stats.html

I guess cars should be next...imagine how many lives we could save!!

on Jan 17, 2011

There are almost 200k deaths each year from medical malpractice.  By Bahu's logic, we should outlaw doctors.  That would save 200k a year, right?

How many lives are saved by doctors? How many lives are saved by guns?

Is the number of lives saved by doctors - (deaths from malpractice - deaths from malpractice in cases where the patient would have died without medical care anyway) greater or smaller than the number of lives saved by guns - (the number of lives taken by guns - the number of lives taken by guns in self defence saving a life at the same time)?

I would guess maybe the doctors are more useful than the guns.

 

42,636 people were killed.

About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States

Cars also save lives (doctors could save very few lives without ambulances) and make our lives a lot easier (guns are less of a factor in a good life).

But the point remains. It would be useful to find a way to reduce the number of deaths caused by car accidents than to support gun control, if this is about lives.

However, there are more people driving than people shooting, I hope, and the number of cars used to kill someone is therefor much smaller than the number of guns used to kill someone, considering how many people run around and use the equipment in question. While more people die in car accidents than get shot in Ireland, I still think that while walking home when there are hundreds of people driving cars outside my company's building alone is perfectly safe, I would think twice about walking home when there are hundreds of people shooting guns outside the building. The fact that very few people die due to gun fire would not take away my caution in that situation.

As I said, people use cars for the convenience. Everybody wants to buy a car because they "need it" to get to work and otherwise.

If I lived in a country where guns have the same status as a tool of convenience, I would move.


 

on Jan 17, 2011

There are well over 250 million privately-owned firearms in the U.S., including nearly 100 million handguns and tens of millions of “assault weapons”—the types of firearms that gun control supporters have tried the hardest to get banned—and the number of firearms typically rises about 4 million per year. 

http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=206&issue=007

There are 308, 745, 538 people in the US http://www.census.gov/ 

That's roughly 8 out of 10 Americans..... (though this is likely a little less if accounting for people who own more than one gun)

As far as how many lives guns save.  Millions.  Think of all the wars, from Independence Civil, World Wars, right on through the Iraq war....and the guns police carry and use to protect and serve.  It isn't easily measured granted, but there's never been a war won without them.

 

on Jan 17, 2011

With such statistics it is time for some serious thought.

In which you have not seriously engaged, of course.

Whenever I want to enjoy a little totally-biased, strawman-laden, association-substituted-for-causation, agenda-substituted-for-rational-thought, non-sequitor-substituted-for-logic article, I just scan for a post by Bahu and I'm always rewarded.

I don't mean to pick on you (much), Bahu.  But I'm not the first to point out that there's lies, damned lies and statistics.

I would recommend you read Unintended Consequences by John Ross.  You'd learn a lot (maybe).

on Jan 18, 2011

But I'm not the first to point out that there's lies, damned lies and statistics
I guess cars should be next...imagine how many lives we could save!!
People like Bahu think just taking guns away from legal citizens will just make theses numbers go away. Do you think that banning guns from lawful citizens will stop the criminals (ya know people who break the law) from obtaining guns?
Compare this to Europe where many more die per year in wars. Perhaps European countries shouldn't be allowed to have armies
well regulated

well regulated maeans just what it state: regulations as in rules,  Even if we apply the restricted meaning of well equipped there is the whole question of state jurisdiction over arms. The fact that the arms were to be borne in the structure of a well regulated militia suggets that a body of armed citizens were envisioned to prevent the English from reconquering the 13 colonies as was attempted in 1812. The fact that the states choose not to "regulate" does not mean that the constitution gives people the right to carry weapons. In fact there have been attempts to regulate the sale of hand guns but to no avail.

I am not sure I get you on this.

The debate is only on regulating the sale of guns. No one is talking of taking back the Second Ammendment. In fact quite a few Eastern states have rules that restrict the sale of hand guns.

I think the case of accidental deaths in road accidents and deliberate killing by the use of weapons cannot be compared. And in the case of traffic, to use your example, there are rules and regulations. A licence can be got only after a test. Even that minimal level of testing in not there for a purchaser of hand guns.

Is there any other way by which we move form the particular and the finite to alarger universe of generalisation.

on Jan 18, 2011

I would guess maybe the doctors are more useful than the guns.

Matter of perspective.  If you have a gash in your leg and are suffering from Gangrene, I would agree.  If you are camping in Yellowstone and a grizzly attacks - a doctor is useless.  But a gun sure comes in handy.

As in all things, the tool (doctor or gun) is not the issue - it is the brains behind it.  A gun is more valuable than an incompetent doctor, and an incompetent doctor is more useful than a gun - it all depends upon the circumstances.  Those who wish to ban guns are merely ignorant of what the problem is, and are too stupid to learn.

on Jan 18, 2011

well regulated maeans just what it state: regulations as in rules, Even if we apply the restricted meaning of well equipped there is the whole question of state jurisdiction over arms.

the statement about militias in the second amendment is a pre-amble.

You do not read or comprehend very well.

And to that last point, I will merely point out Federal Supremacy.  At least TRY to learn about that which you pontificate.

 

on Jan 19, 2011

Well regulated militia has to be interpretted in the context of the original intent of the framers of the document. That statute cannot be made to carry the burden of lax, unregulated, promiscuous, ill defined approach to gguns. In fact there are restrictions on guns. In most public places carrying concealed weapons is unlawful. What is required is a set of rules that firmly establish the parameters of gun ownership. Further, there is no 'positive law" that permits guns to be owned and transported. It is only custom that that given such "rights".

on Jan 19, 2011

The Constitution is not a 'custom'. The Second Amendment is not a 'statute'. Your understanding of the Constitution and its Amendments is, based on this post anyway, nil.  A 'positive law' is not needed.

on Jan 19, 2011

 

BAHU writes:

Judge Richard Bork, a conservative in his judicial pronouncements, said the the second ammendment guaranteed the "right of states to form militias, not for individual to bear arms".

 In saying this, it's clear that Bork holds the revisionist view that emerged back in the 60s.

As I read it, the Second Amendment itself refutes what Bork said.

"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."

So there it is. The law of the land, the Second Amendment itself, protects a private citizen's right to keep and bear arms (guns).

Well regulated militia has to be interpretted in the context of the original intent of the framers of the document.

Stephen P. Halbrook has researched and written a book on just this...The Founders' Second Amendment...in it he argues that based on the Founder's statements found in newspapers, debates and letters, the Second Amendment was designed to protect the individual's right to bear arms.

 

 

on Jan 19, 2011

Yup.  It doesn't read 'the right of the militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed'.  Whoever Richard Bork is, whether he is 'conservative in his judicial pronouncements' or not, on this he's plainly wrong and inventing language which isn't in the Amendment.  And I ain't even a judge.

on Jan 20, 2011

19, 2011The Constitution is not a 'custom'.

I nvever said it was, so what is the point.