Every time somebody starts shooting people, after all the smoke has cleared and all the grief mellows down, we enter into the same endless discussion about gun control. One side shouting that guns are a constitutional right and nobody will take that away, and the other side playing on the feelings and the emotion to explain to everybody that stricter gun regulations can help avoid such future tragedies. And this discussion does nothing more than divide people and flair up emotions. Because while everybody is focused on their own arguments, nobody really takes into account what the other side has to say.
In my mind, I think the most important thing in this discussion is to see all the arguments as they are and to analyze them objectively, without letting emotion get in the way. So, let’s think about what guns bring to the table. First of all, we all have to accept that traditions are important and that we can’t simply dismiss them because we feel like it. When someone says that he must own a gun because he has that right from God and from the Constitution and that all of his ancestors had guns, you have to respect that belief and consider it as a valid point in the discussion. You can’t tell people that their beliefs don’t matter, you have to find arguments in order to convince them they should change.
One of the arguments for stricter gun control is that people that snap are far more likely to cause a lot of damage if they have guns available to them. And yes, that is a valid argument and I for one believe that a stricter policy when selling guns would help. But again, when creating this policy you have to be very careful, because it is one thing to make it harder for deranged people to have guns, and another one completely to make it harder for everybody.
In the end, I really think that this discussion should try to reach a middle ground. Yes, a lot of people with guns start killing innocents and yes, maybe if they didn’t have guns they wouldn’t be able to do that. But at the same time, owning guns saves lives. And no, I am not going to say that people with guns stop terrorists, I am going to say that the idea of guns does that sometimes. I imagine there are a lot of deranged individuals out there who wanted to maybe go into a shop and start shooting, but backed out because they feared the owner of that shop had a gun and would kill them. And the same can be applied to burglars, who maybe think twice before breaking into a home where they think there are guns.
Banning guns to everyday people will not solve the problem. In my country we have much stricter gun laws and you have to go through a lot of hoops to get one. But that doesn’t stop the people that want to do bad things. Yes, making it impossible for citizens to buy guns will mean that citizens no longer have guns, but that will not mean the same thing for the criminals. If a bad dude wants to find a gun, he will find one, because he does not follow the normal channels anyway. Yes, in America now it’s easy in many states to buy guns, but if you put an end to that, the criminals will only adapt, while the normal people will feel unprotected. So this is why there is a very fine line between creating a better gun control policy and simply banning gun ownership. It’s the same thing with surveillance laws. It might sound like a good think to give the government power to listen everything in order to protect us, but the criminals will adapt and use other channels, so that is not the answer.
And in the end I have to say that phrase that sounds so cynical but unfortunately it is so true. Guns do not kill people, people kill people. Maybe in order to protect ourselves better we should focus on getting to the people that commit atrocities instead of focusing on the tools they use. Nobody is shouting for a ban on vans because of the number of terrorists driving them into crowds of people, so maybe we should just get over our irrational fear of guns and start fearing the ones that wield them…