Sunday, June 19, 2016

Not Perfect - Do Nothing?

My friend asked, about background checks and other efforts to keep guns out of the hands of killers, "It seems that your argument (or one that I hear) is that since it impossible to have a perfect system of reducing gun violence that we shouldn't have any."

His question brings back a the memories of when the background check law was federalized.  At the time, anyone with a brain could tell it wouldn't stop criminals from getting guns, nor crazies.  But it would cost government money, increase the inconvenience and cost to gun buyers who bought from gun stores (and others with an FFL).  Like most gun legislation, it amounted to a symbolic gesture.  "We have to do something!"  So elected nincompoops did something, something pointless.  Most research indicates the background checks had little if any effect on who was able to get guns.  

Of course, background checks are not the only part of the system that this country has for reducing gun violence.  We put folks in jail who commit crimes with guns.  We preclude those convicted of domestic violence from lawfully possessing guns, even in their military work.  

Violent crimes overall decreased with the rate of incarceration - if you go from half a million to 2 million in jail, some good things result.  Lots of bad things happen, too.

If background checks were required for gun sales by private gun owners, including those being gifted to friends/family, it might tighten up the process some.  However, this would be essentially another symbolic gesture, unless it also included a registration of all currently owned guns.

Then the crux of the matter is - how much do you trust the jack asses that get elected to make laws in this country?  They trample and manipulate the constitution, nearly at will - it's clearly not the bulwark against government excess that it was hoped to have been (and that I wish it had been).  We're one emotional event away from some jerk trying to take away our guns as was done in Australia. 

I don't want any part of national gun registration.  Given my gut level fear of (continuing and seemingly inevitable) government excess, you won't be surprised to find that I also don't believe this national registration and universal background check process would stop much of what we all hate - humans killing other humans.  Gun control has never worked as intended, with the possible exception of Japan (Japanese idolized the sword, not the gun).  Japan has a suicide culture more than a violence culture.  Guns will make their way into Japan, too, with immigrants who want to act out their personal angst as service to their oh so great god.  

I don't advocate "doing nothing", nor do I advocate "just get the government to do something so I can pretend things are better."  I'm for what might work.  I'm for ending the drug war.  All that killing on the now obviously false pretense that drug prohibition will save our kids from drugs?  40 years of failure in every possible metric.  I'm for ending "gun free zones" that work like a lighthouse for mass murderers in search of a place to do their thing.  I'm for a simple acknowledgement that governments kill far more people than private gun owners, and there's little reason to believe in the safety governments pretend to offer.  When the US government can demonstrate competence in any major endeavor, I'll be impressed.

No comments:

Post a Comment