Wednesday, November 11, 2015

'Gun Control' / Why Discuss? / Nobody is Listening

After reading an article in the LA Times by Jonathan Zimmerman – well, it really caused me to pause and consider.

What so impressed me about Dr. Zimmerman’s (who is a professor at New York University) article?  It was interesting, about ‘gun control,’ and a little bit different take.  Dr. Zimmerman made the observation that whether you’re a gun advocate or a gun control proponent, we are generally wasting our time attempting to argue the finer points of the ‘gun control’ issue.  In other words, nobody is listening – certainly no one whose views are the opposite of yours.  He compared the ‘gun control’ issue with ‘Prohibition.’

Zimmerman said:

“… a book by a University of California – San Diego sociologist named Joseph Gusfield convinced me that Prohibition wasn’t really aimed at ridding America of beer, wine and whiskey.  It was instead a ‘Symbolic Crusade’ by native-born Protestants, who seized on prohibition to affirm their historic dominance over immigrants and Roman Catholics.”

“… this controversy isn’t really about guns, any more than Prohibition was about drink.  It’s about different ways of seeing the world and – most of all – about who will gain the symbolic upper hand.”

“The question brings us back to Gusfield, who reminded us that politics are a battle for symbolic as well as material advantage.  Even if alcohol prohibition could never make America ‘dry,’ it made its adherents feel as if the country was still theirs.”

If this is true, and it may very well be true, there is no point for me to belabor the many issues and potential problems associated with gun control.  After all, no one, other than some in the choir, are listening to me anyway.

Nonetheless, I’d still like to make a couple of comments.  And, oh yes, I wanted to tell you why I left the NRA.

  • You can't ban 'assault weapons' if you can't define what they are.  They are basically a semi-automatic rifle.  The simple description of  'military style' just won't cut it.
  • Were you aware that rifles are seldom used in crime - maybe two percent of the time - if that?  Assault weapons, whatever your definition, are hardly ever used.
  • High capacity magazines could be banned, but they are even less commonly used in crime – particularly in a rifle.  Semi-automatic pistols often hold 10 to 14 rounds.  To reduce that capacity would require a redesign, and ‘grandfathering’ millions of pre-existing pistols.  Any legislation along those lines would have minimal effect on crime.  Moreover, ammo magazines can be switched within a matter of seconds.
  • Background checks on all gun sales is theoretically possible; but there is no evidence said action would have a meaningful effect on crime.  Gun owners, to sell guns, would be at the mercy of gun stores; and they could, potentially cheat, or extract maximum profits from average gun owners who are attempting to comply with the law when selling a gun.  It would, as a result, create a gun ‘black market’ even larger than the one that already exists.
  • Universal gun registration would cause a civil upheaval bigger than prohibition.  Honest citizens would become criminals.  And current criminals would benefit all around, be emboldened, and undeterred in their previous activities.
  • Bottom line:  The real answer is strict enforcement of the current law.  Note my blog’s sidebar – Three Laws for Effective Gun Control.

Why I left the NRA:  The NRA was running a quarter page advertisement for a ‘Street Sweeper,’ large capacity ammo-drum shotgun (depicted above) in their monthly magazine.  This gun has only one purpose, anti-personnel.  It cannot be used for hunting or any sporting events that I’m aware of.  It was extremely poor taste on the part of the NRA in that the ‘Street Sweeper’ would only appeal to someone who is, in my opinion, a few bricks short of a load.  Should it be banned?  I guess it could be said that it is no more deadly than a regular shotgun.  I just felt the ad was over-the-top offensive; and I couldn’t believe the NRA needed the advertising money that badly.  I just wasn’t sure that I could even be a fringe member of the organization – until, that is, the NRA starts exercising at least a modicum of discretion.

True Nelson
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