Guns don’t kill people. People kill people…with guns.

Maybe it’s just me, but I love Employee Performance Reviews.  Why are they only a yearly thing?  I had mine yesterday, and it was really encouraging to get feedback on how I’ve been doing.  I think I must be weird in this instance, because when they announced the pending reviews, most people groaned whereas I thought, “Yay!”  I find it helpful to know what I’m doing well or need to work on.

And I got a raise.  So yay for that.

And on a completely unrelated note…let’s stir up some confrontation!

I’d been reading a lot of articles on the recent NIU shooting and came across a comment on the BBC site that said:  “How many more people are going to die before America does something about guns?”

I couldn’t agree more.  With the exception of law enforcement/military, I believe guns should be outlawed in the U.S.  There is no reason for civilians to own guns.  There are 3 main arguments in favor for the second amendment:
1.) It’s our right as American citizens, given by our forefathers.
–True.  But a.) It was written at a time when there was no stable American government…when we were fighting for our independence from Britain, and b.) We have successfully forfeited any and all rights we may have had through misuse.
 2.) I have the right to protect my family in my own home.
–True.  But there are many other, non-lethal ways of doing so.  Tasers are incredibly effective crime deterrents.  And wouldn’t have near the fatality rates if taken into schools by your kids.
 3.) I have the right to use a gun for recreation–such as hunting.
–True.  How about renting hunting equipment from your local police station?  People could obtain hunting and rental licenses, do their hunting, then return the guns to authorities.
In September of 2007, the NRA had a “Celebration of American Values” event.  Here are two quotes from two speeches that make my sense of irony do a little dance.Mike Huckabee:  “…one of the greatest treasures we have is not the firearm, it’s the memories that go with it.”

Newt Gingrich:  “The right to bear arms is a political right granted at the core of the American system to ensure that the American people have a right of self-protection and that no tyrant can take away their power or can put them in a concentration camp or can kill them without mercy.”

Ah yes, think of all the wonderful memories the people involvedin Columbine, Virginia Tech, and NIU must have!  And thank goodness people can’t kill us without mercy now!  Thank you, Mr. Handgun!  And don’t even get me started on the argument “if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.”  ‘Cause, um, yeah–that’s the point.

25 thoughts on “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people…with guns.

  1. Have you seen Shoot 'em Up? There is some technology in there that's based on technology that's supposed to be coming. There's thumbprint technology that if your gun doesn't recognize your thumbprint, it won't fire.
    I don't know how I stand on guns. On one hand, my family owns guns and have never had any problems. On the other hand, my dad's best friend shot him in the face when they were 13 and the police gunned down one of my guns in the street….and they were so close to a little girl that the casing actually hit her. BUT it's not fair that my brother can't have the gun that has been passed down thru my family b/c of this new law. Most of the guns get passed down in my family. And they rarely get shot. Really only hunting season.
    BUT with Virginia tech, they should have caught that that guy was so sick. I don't know the circumstances about NIU coz I don't read the news/watch the news. And Columbine? I don't even know. But kids knew about those websites those kids had…someone should have spoken up. there was a kid in my high school who had a hit list….i was number 3 and number 1 and 2 were my best friends….and i told.
    Dunno what I'm getting at here…just sharing.

    • I would be all for tightening gun control laws–if I thought they would work. In response to the fingerprint technology I'm going to say what I said below to Dustin: The Virginia Tech shooter purchased his guns legally. This fingerprint technology wouldn't have affected his ability to murder 33 of his fellow students.

      • I think the fingerprinting is an awful idea.
        The Virginia Tech guy, who purchased his fancy fingerprint gun legally and passed his background checks, is firing at people. I'm able to subdue and him and get his gun, and… GASP! I CAN'T EVEN USE IT TO PROTECT MYSELF BECAUSE IT ONLY RESPONDS TO HIM!
        That's all I'm gonna say.

  2. YAY, I'm back on Live Journal!
    Anyway…
    This is a very interesting topic for me because this is probably the issue my father is MOST passionate about. I come from a hunting family and I can see the reasoning behind his strong belief that he should be able to have firearms.
    I certainly see your point and mostly I agree. What's the point in having the ability to legally own a lethal weapon when you have no special training? The "right" we have to own lethal weapons stems from the need to protect ourselves not only from each other, but from the government. This was, as you said, during a time which we were oppressed by the British government (THEY had the weapons, WE did not). However with today's technology, we couldn't have a chance at succeeding in any kind of revolution with shotguns anyway. Can anyone say Carpet-bombing?
    However, let's look at the point you "didn't even want to get started on". Consider drugs. Almost everyone I know (like 80%) spokes pot or has at some point in their life. Now, it's illegal to sell it so the the only people to financially profit off of the sale of pot is a drug dealer. No markets, no taxes. Just underground black market stuff. Say it were legal – then we could regulate who gets it, tax it, make laws around its use, etc. Same sort of thing with guns. If it's illegal to have one, you and I will not have them … but if I wanted to rob a bank or murder someone. I damn well bet you that I could get one. It's done now. Easily. Wouldn't be that much harder than getting heroin if drugs were made illegal. So here are the good, law-biding civilians like you and I at the mercy of the outlaws who have black market contacts so they're packing. They'll get them no matter what the law says. It's only US that will be affected.
    I guess I'm not really structuring my point that well but all in all, I agree. There really isn't any reason why we need to have them. It just makes some people feel better. The people who commit atrocities with firearms wouldn't be affected by the law against them. They'd still find a way. So what's the point, really?
    Just speculating…
    (I missed Teri-thoughts on LJ! tee hee…)

    • I'm really glad you guys are commenting. This is a topic I would like discussing and hearing different viewpoints on.
      Question–you said: "The people who commit atrocities with firearms wouldn't be affected by the law against them. They'd still find a way. So what's the point, really?" Isn't that a lazy way of governing? If something is too hard to police, why bother? Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you're saying, but that's how it's coming across to me.
      I don't think we should make and keep laws because it's a hassle to do otherwise.

  3. I feel that the right to self defense is the most basic of human rights and a firearm is the most efficient tool. Especially if You are not blessed with size and athletic ability.
    I also find it ironic that the BBC would criticize us considering that they have passes us in several finds of violent crime since passing one of the strictest set of gun laws in the world.
    Columbine, Virginia Tech, and NIU all happed in gun free zones. the killers were able to take there time exacting person after person because the victims observed a law that left then defenseless. Stories where a person uses a firearm to defend themselves rarely make the news.
    as far as Tasers go having been Tasered I have to say that it is completely disabling for 5 seconds then the current stops and you are fine. In a street encounter it would probably let you get away but in a home invasion situation the cops are 10 min away best case. Also a Tasers is a single shot weapon if there are 2 aggressors or you don't hit them you are suddenly holding a flashlight.
    Right now I work a domestic violence case load and there is nothing that the women who are victims have at there disposal other than a firearm to defend them and there children if there husbands decide to kill them.
    As touching a movie as Enough is it isn't believable. it takes an amassing level of training to begin balancing out size and gender differences in a real fight.
    I also find it interesting that the places with the strictest gun laws in America have the highest rates of violent crime.
    I think that one of the biggest problems with our culture is that we rob women of the means to defend them selves.

  4. So far, the only arguments against outlawing guns have had to do with hunting.
    And if I remember correctly, Teri, you offered a WONDERFUL solution to the people that still want to go hunting.
    Which to me says: There are no arguments against outlawing guns.
    So in my opinion, Teri's points still stand strong. Good post. I agree with every word. (Except the word "yesterday" in the second line.)

  5. Guns are neither good or bad, they are simply powerful tools to be used by whatever hand weilds them.
    They can be used to kill, but they can also be used to strengthen hand-eye coordination, or just as a piece of decor.
    I do not believe they should be outlawed. I don't know what the case was in the NIU shooting, but I believe in the case of Columbine the guns obtained were either obtained illegally. In illegal gun obtainment, there are up to two parties at fault: The person who wants to obtain the gun (probably by stealing it), or the party dealing the gun. If one or more of these parties is acting illegally, then anti-gun laws don't really matter, and the transaction will still occur, and another headline touting gun-violence will appear in the newspaper.
    I think that entirely outlawing guns would be a waste of legislative time and energy since the laws already on the book are more than enough to keep us "safe" – if they were actually enforced and followed.
    If someone were to propose a way of destroying every single gun in the world, along with the knowledge of how to make any new ones, I would be all for that, since history has shown they do more harm than good.
    Unfortunately, guns do exist in our world and they should not be removed from the hands of law-abiding citizens who want to own them.
    The thing about gun violence is that it's committed by people who don't LEGALLY own the firearms they commit the crime with.
    Outlawing guns WILL NOT PREVENT gun crime.
    There is no evidence to show that outlawing guns entirely will decrease gun crime (although it will probably prevent some household accidents involving children), and our energies should not be used to pursue that goal.
    Instead, it would be pertinent to focus on the social, emotional and socio-economic causes behind gun crime and work tirelesly to solve those problems.
    A majority of the people who commit acts of gun-violence live a lifestyle that operates outside the parameters of the law. More laws will not save us.

  6. 1. Shoot 'em Up was an example because I just watched it and thought the technology was kinda cool. Yes, it was crazy gun violence, I agree with you there, but that's a movie that, when watching it, you know is NEVER possible. I don't care if you are a real life James Bond.
    2. I read somewhere (I can try and find the article again if you like) that certain parts of Arizona have really super low rates of gun violence. These areas are the ones where it is legal for conceal carry. Conceal carry freaks me out, I'll be honest. My dad got his liscense for it and he had to do so many hours of gun safety and take a test. But there's got to be a way that we can learn from these places in Arizona.
    3. I don't think that a background check is all you should have to pass to get a gun. A background check takes what, 3 days? And what do they really put on there? Does it say whether or not you had a psychological evaluation yesterday? Prolly not. I think you should have to get the gun from a place that is regulated by the government. They can pull up any information on you at any time thanks to the Patriot Act. And if you can't trust the people that the government trusts to have a gun, we've got deeper issues involved.
    4. The thing about guns is this: guns are not bad. Guns can't just shoot someone. It's people. We need to be far more strict about the people that we give guns to. Background checks aren't doing enough. And as for the kids who shot up Columbine–they used guns that belonged to their parents. That thumbprint technology would have stopped that. No, you couldn't shoot the guy who was just waving a gun in your face but once that gun is out of his hands, there's nothing stopping a couple people from charging and subdoing the guy.

    • I hate when people use the argument "guns don't kill people. people kill people." It's wrong. And until autopsy reports claim cause of death as "some guy named Bill" instead of "gunshot wound" I'm not buying it.
      Regardless, we can't get rid of people. We can get rid of guns.

  7. Actually, Tim, the only arguments we've been discussing are about personal protection. No one has mentioned the hunting thing because it's least important in these debates. The right to own a gun isn't about hunting. Yes, that's a large argument from certain pro-gun groups. But what WE are discussing here is safety.
    And I seem to have counted several good points about the nature of personal safety with firearms.

  8. This is true, Teri. We can get rid of ONE of the possible weapons humans use to kill each other. Then what? Someone decides he's gonna off some jerk, he's gonna find a different weapon.
    All in all, I don't really have a super passionate connection to this topic. I don't own a gun and don't care to so it doesn't bother me if they take em away. HOWEVER, I wouldn't feel any safer if they did.
    My father is the one who has a passionate stance on this one. He too has the Ohio "Concealed carry" permit. I tried explaining to him how retarded that law is. I'm like "So you can walk into a store and have a gun on your hip?" Yes. "And anyone with the permit can do this?" Yes. "You don't see how stupid this is?!"
    THis is what he posed to me…
    So you're about to go into a store and rob it or shoot the place up. You have a moment to consider one question: Everyone else in that store could have a gun too. Hmm. Now… are you more or less likely to go try this little stunt if the targets can all shoot back?
    Uhm… check please!
    Again, I don't care on this one either way. I still maintain that outlawing firearms WON'T take them out of the hands of those who really want to use them for harm. It just won't. Outlawing marijuana doesn't make it that hard for me to come across a fat sack here and there so what would be the difference with guns?
    YAY! THis is fun! What a hot topic for everyone! WHo wants to tackle ABORTION next? Huh? HUH?! Anyone…?
    =P

  9. Yes, sorry, I wasn't saying we should just "let it be". I was merely pointing out that taking the guns away from the badguys only puts the good guys in more danger because now suddenly only one team has the power.
    Take the monkey's gun, he'll pick up a stick. This is the other side of the coin. If I want you dead, and I can't get a gun, I'll find something else. Axe. Knife. Chainsaw. Arsenic is fun. I personally prefer a nice 4×4 Diesel to run someone over with. But that's just me. We all have our personal preference.
    *wink*

  10. Interesting debate! I have a slightly odd perspective so I figured I'd add my two knuts.
    As far as "taking away guns doesn't reduce shootings" — well that's just not true. Japan is a country essentially without guns. The official report on the number of gun crimes in 2006 was 36. Not percent, total. 2007 was I believe down to 27. Now, there's some debate on those exact numbers (some say that "unofficial" (read: yakuza – yes they can and do get guns) crimes aren't reported) but the gist is still pretty clear. Less guns = less gun crimes.
    However, the *total* crime rate, and the total murder rate, isn't generally affected much. Japan's overall crime rate, though largely blamed on foreigners, is comparable with most industrialized countries. There are a lot more knife problems in Japan. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that the presence of legally owned guns can be a strong deterrent to overall crime. I used to live in a town called Kennesaw, Georgia. (yes, get your redneck jokes over with please) If you own property in Kennesaw, you are legally *required* to own a gun, and keep it in your house. Period. Sounds crazy I know, but the fact is that the year they put that law in place breaking and entering crimes dropped drastically, and have continued to be low ever since. The law isn't enforceable, and we don't have gun raids or checkups to make sure people are doing this — but common sense is, if you're pretty darn sure the house you're looking at has a gun in it, you're probably going to go a town over and find a safer target.
    My last observation is from Kyrgyzstan. It's hard to get a gun there legally. Of course, we're talking about a highly militarized third-world country, so every criminal has their pick. And, since it's a huge drug trafficking area, lots of rich drug lords have lots of guns. Their crimes…generally don't get reported. I know that may not have a lot of bearing on a place like the US, but it's something that's in the back of my mind. Also, you may or may not have heard that they had a military coup a few years back. There was no one to stop them, so it was pretty much over before it started. On the one hand that meant it was pretty bloodless. On the other hand, so much for elections.
    My personal belief is that we'd all probably be a bit safer without guns. And I even hate hunting, I can't stand the killing of animals for no reason other than sport (And I know this is another subject altogether, but don't start telling me you "eat whatever you kill". The point is you don't have to hunt in the US, you choose to do it because you enjoy it and I really don't think it matters to the animal that you ate it after it died.) but again that's a personal thing. And I agree that it might not be a big difference in the case of a coup if it comes down to guns vs say, tanks. (but those in the resistance would have a better chance of stealing the tank with guns than with knives, eh?)
    But I'm willing to put up with hunting to not give up the right to own guns. I'm not comfortable with only the government and criminals having access. And I would rather be a little less safe, and a little more free.

  11. John, you have a good argument. Not a lot I can say against it. But it does make me think that we need to improve on our taser technology, so that they could become a better option for defense.

  12. Okay it's early in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet, so please bear with me here. Reading all of your comments, here are my thoughts:
    ~First and foremost, we need better taser technology. Or more technology in general for alternative means of self-defense so that we wouldn't have to rely on guns.
    ~If guns were outlawed, perhaps family guns could be registered as heirlooms and still passed down to family members…it would just be illegal to obtain bullets for those guns.
    ~Concealed permits to carry just freak me the hell out. I don't want to walk around knowing that the people around me are packing. I don't trust other people enough to give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what they are doing.
    ~If guns remain legal, we need to seriously overhaul the system in which they are obtained. And I'm not just talking about strict background checks–they don't work. Too many people are able to legally obtain weapons who should not have them. I don't know what this would take. Perhaps make gun ownership like being able to drive a car? Extensive courses and practical instruction before being tested (maybe a thorough psych eval)? And then you're giving a gun license…which you have to renew every four years.

    • I like your thoughts here Teri.
      Quick question tho. Did/does your family own guns? I've noticed that people who spend a lot of time around guns are of the "guns don't kill people" philosopy. People who haven't been around guns think that argument is stupid. And the argument sounds stupid. Yes, people die because of gun shot wounds. But it's the theory behind it. It's kinda like the one about computers. A computer is as stupid as the person operating it. These are inanimate objects that don't control themselves. It takes a human to decide to kill someone. A gun can't decide it wants to kill something or be shot and do it. We don't live in a magical world that works like that.

      • A guy attack me with a brick ounce. In england they are thinking about ways to keep knives out of the wrong hands. As far a magical unmanned murder goes you just have to use the words "murderous firearmis!" but I guess that there is still a human will behind the act.

    • God Created Man, Sam Colt Made Him Equal 🙂
      Mind you this is coming form a nut I'll probably vote libertarian yet again. I am almost a single issue voter much like some are about abortion.
      I like that guns are one of the only mean of self defense that are not dependent on physical ability. I am all for alternative self defense tools but it is going to take a while to get them to the effectiveness level of modern guns witch we have been perfecting the design of for the last 150 years. kind of like electric cars.
      one of my goals is to become a concealed weapons instructor for Arizona and offer free classes to women especially those in domestic violence shelters.
      I carry a weapon almost every time I leave my house. Because with as much training as I have I would be hard pressed to defend my self against 2 attackers let alone ensure Cara's safety unarmed. I have pised off very defective and dangerous people. In fact one of them called my old partner a few months ago threatening to kill me. I am not to trembly worried due to to the fact that he is to schizophrenic to track me down or use the buss.
      I my head I extrapolate that to some of the victims of domestic violence that I encounter at work and I couldn't imagine living in that kind of constant fear. Getting call in the middle of the night saying stuff like "I can't live like this and I am not going alone." "Do you think the kids will miss you when you are dead" A lot of these women are not the picture of mental health and I worry that they would not have the ability to pass a more strict system. I am already bothered that it takes 3 months in Arizona to get a concealed permit and costs over $100.
      You have noting to worry about as far as gun crime. Chicago already made it illegal to own or carry a hand gun in the city.

    • I took a hunter safety course before getting my first hunting license. There are now mentoring programs for youth, where they have an experienced (trained) hunter mentor them before they get their first license…
      I also think there is a HUGE difference between handguns, automatic weapons, and shotguns. Automatic weapons are made to kill people. And while a few people I know use handguns for hunting, those are the minority. Handguns are primarily used to shoot people, too.
      In response to pyrusj's comment about "eating what you kill"… One of the reasons we hunt is because we choose to take responsibility for our food. We grow much of our own, and we eat what we hunt, or know exactly where it came from (buying a 1/2 a cow each year from a local farm). We interact with our environment in the most respectful way we can, which includes respect for the living creatures we eat. I do not criticize anyone who does not hunt, and we buy chicken, fish, and some pork products at the grocery store. We also eat wild game because it is, in most situations, healthier than the meat you get from those factory/assembly line farms (and I might add, much more humane in most cases!). The venison and wild turkey we eat was not fed hormones and processed grains and corn raised with much damage to the environment.
      Obviously, it's a sore spot for me about hunting. I have not hunted in quite few years, but Dan does several seasons of the year. And I have young children for whom hunting is a part of their heritage. And we teach them a respect for living creatures in that.
      Another use of shotguns is sporting clays. This is a sport that Dan and I have participated in many, many years. It is a precision sport where one tries to hit a clay target thrown from a spring-loaded mechanism. It may sound odd, but shooting clays is a very Zen activity for me. There is a calmness, a focus that I experience while on a course. I own my own sporting clays gun, and I take very good care of it. As for renting a weapon to use on the course…Ick. Guns are unique — each one shoots differently, and it takes time to get to know the idiosyncrasies of a new gun. Forcing rental on potential hunters/sporting clays enthusiasts just takes it out of the reach of average citizens and puts it into the realm of the wealthy. Renting a gun at Hidden Haven is EXPENSIVE (and did I mention they all shoot differently? Rent a gun to do poorly on the course?).
      I think that the issue is in enforcement. We have the rules and the laws in place. But we lack in enforcement. I would not be averse to a ban or further restrictions on "people-killing guns" (automatics, handguns), but the ban of shotguns for honest citizens? I definitely disagree with that.

What do you think?