Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In a tizz about guns

I have enjoyed firing rifles when a youth in the Combined Cadet Force (joining was compulsory at my school in the 60s), but away from a range, firearms scare me. Their power has a deadly fascination, just as the Ring has, even for the good Gandalf. (It's said that the samurai swords made by Muramasa tempted men to shed blood.)

However, here in the UK post-Dunblane, we haven't actually banned handguns; only legal ones. What now?

The National Rifle Association in the USA (htp: John Lott) obviously has its own quite clear agenda, but their arguments don't seem easy to dismiss out of hand. Here are some extracts:

... Researchers, both public and private, have estimated total defensive gun uses at between 800,000 and 2.5 million times per year. To many, that's a difficult reality to accept since we don't hear the hundreds of armed citizen stories that should be reported daily...

... One of the first things we learn through analysis of media-documented self-defense episodes is that no place is "safe"—no matter the place, time of day, neighborhood or crowds, no matter how unlikely an area is for a violent confrontation...

...The most frequently reported crime prevented by armed citizens has been home invasion... Approximately 25 percent of documented defensive gun uses occurred in places of business...

... Many anti-gun advocates would grudgingly allow ownership of rifles and shotguns if they could ban all handguns. Armed citizens, however, beg to differ. Of stories identifying defender firearms, 79 percent involved handguns. Shotguns were used only 15 percent of the time, and rifles 6 percent. The message is clear: Banning handguns would remove the most common means of self-defense for most people...

... In confrontational shootings, studies show police hit their targets between 13 percent and 25 percent of the time. Of the incidents analyzed in this study, civilians hit their targets 84 percent of the time. This comparison does not account for the number of shots fired, only hits or misses. Nevertheless, it gives us a statistical basis to refute claims that only police should have firearms or that civilian shooters are largely ineffective in emergencies.

I'd like to pooh-pooh it all as gun-nuttery, but if opposing the right to bear arms, where would one begin?

What an irony that (allegedly) a man can single-handedly kill 13 and wound 31 on the biggest Army base in America, and be stopped only by a policewoman's pistol (or maybe a sergeant's, we're not sure).

3 comments:

James Higham said...

It's like anything they ban - it goes underground and in the case of firearms, this is quite literal. People will not be entirely undefended when the state starts its roll.

dearieme said...

I regret selling my rifle and letting my licence lapse. If pistols were legal I'd buy one and get some training in its use.

Anonymous said...

1] were they really "self-defense"? - because most of the time in the US guns are being used to frighten the ex-husband who really isn't doing any real harm.

2] Isn't a shotgun/rifle a much more reasonable weapon to use for home protection or business protection whereas a handgun is just easier to store?

Handguns should be banned and something done to take them out of circulation in the US but rifles and shotguns are OK, IMHO.