Stop Whining About Arizona Shooting – This is What You Want

On January 8, 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. One of thirteen wounded and six dead, Giffords was critically injured. Thankfully, she survived and is in the process of recovery. I wish her the best in this difficult endeavor. That said, I wish that the media would stop whining about this shooting and calling it a tragedy. This shooting was an inevitability. It was what the American people want!

I have been working from home recently and keep the television on in the background. Most often, either CNN, BBC or CBC will be playing. I had the opportunity to watch the ongoing coverage of the shooting. I watched the reporters try to fill up the days of continuing coverage, opining on terrorism, civility in political discussion, mental health, brain surgery and more. While some of it was interesting, it was often obvious that the reporters were doing their best to fill up time with recycled or information free content.

What was not discussed was the obvious. The US has enacted specific laws, rules and regulations about gun ownership and use. Its highest governing authorities (Congress, Judiciary, Executive and State governments) have allowed a culture of gun use, allowing gun ownership at a level that dwarfs that of any other country in the world. This is not a judgement. The US has decided that this is the place that guns have in their country. To the citizens of the US, it is important that they have the right not just to buy a gun but to legally carry it. An example of this can be found here.

So be it. This is the decision of the citizens of the US, as legislated by their representatives. Wrong or right, it is the law and there are certain inevitable consequences. When more guns are available and easily accessible, more guns will be used. The proper use of a gun is to put a bullet into a target. That target is dependent on the person using the gun. It can be a paper target, a tin can, a crime victim or a legislator.

As is often said, guns don't kill people, people kill people. This is true. A gun is an inanimate object with no volition. In the US, it is one of many easily available tools to accomplish tasks including target practice, crime and assassination. It is a tool that the country want to put in the hands of its citizens.

There is no judgement here about gun laws. The more guns available the more they will be used. It is obvious. So I have to say to many of those looking so shocked about the Arizona (and other) shooting. Stop the whining. This is what you want.

 

1 Comment

  1. 1. All guns must have a serial nuembr, and a copy of the # must be embedded inside the metal of the gun too so scratching it off won’t make it impossible to identify the gun.2. Handguns must be test fired once by the manufacturer and the bullet stored to create a database of ballistics profiles.3. Guns must be purchased with a $10,000 insurance policy that will be paid to any unjustified victim of the gun. Should the policy have to be paid out (say your kid takes the gun and injurs the neighbors kids), the owner either has to trash the gun or buy a new policy for $100,000 of coverage.4. Gun sales and transfers will go thru dealers via instant background checks. The insurance policy goes with the gun so if you sell your gun on the black market and five years later it turns up in a crime you’re on the hook for illegal sales and have to buy the $100,000 policy on future gun purchases.5. Guns without serial nuembrs, untracked guns etc. would be a serious crime.On the other side:1. No gun databases. The firearm dealer checks the background and provides proof of transfer of the gun but the information will not be saved so you cannot create a database of who has what guns in their homes. You can only prove that the guns found inside a home are legal or illegal. Sort of like how cigarettes or booze has a tax stamp. That proves it was purchased legally but the gov’t doesn’t know you’re buying a little or a lot of the stuff.2. Background pre-clearing’. Register who you are and get a #, unless you get convicted of a violent crime or something like that you can use that # for quick clearing of your purchases or transfers at a reduced or no cost.3. Anti-gun laws voided cross the country. States can decide about concealed carry but cannot make it illegal to have guns in your house provided you followed 1-5 above.4. Assalt weapons, mega-clips etc. can be legalized provided one carries the $100,000 coverage on them.Would it have prevented the Newtown shooting? Probably not, the mother was quite well off and could have easily afforded the insurance and neither her nor the kid had any history that would have caused them to fail a background check. But it would almost certainly frustrate some rampage killings and limit a lot of more mundance gun crime an accidents. I suspect the insurance policies would not cost very much given that most guns almost never end up in crimes or accidents but those who establish a habit of letting their guns get into wrong places the premiums would become steeper (which they should given they would be by definition less responsible gun owners).I don’t get volokh’s concern about costs to lower income gun owners. Look, a gun is a material thing, material things cost money. The nature of money is that the more of it you have, the easier it is to get more material things. Guns aren’t cheap, even the lowest end oens cost a few hundred dollars. If you can’t afford that then you can’t afford a gun. Get a better job or cut back on other spending.

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